Moreso than any year in the past decade, 2014 has truly been the year wherein mainstream music and popular culture have come to accept the progressive dominance of electronic dance music. However, with the announcement that Chicago’s rock and rap establishment stalwart Lollapalooza Festival is instituting the “Lolla Cashless” program to use radio frequency identification (RFID)-enabled wristbands for goods and services payments on festival grounds, it’s a clear signal that EDM’s more digital-based concepts and ideas are now gaining permanence in mainstream music.
Any reader of Do Androids Dance or attendee of May’s Mysteryland Festival would find Lollapalooza announcing itself as the the first effort from a major U.S. music festival to use RFID technology is only true if you weren’t one of the 20,000 attendees at Mysteryland’s American debut. Initially starting with festivals like Electric Zoo as an effective deterrent to ticket fraud, RFID technology expanding to linking to banking actually serves two masters quite well. For festival attendees, the need for carrying around a wallet of cash and credit cards, and possibly losing it in a packed crowd, while inebriated, or just generally moving about in crowds of tens to hundreds of thousands of revelers is a plus. Insofar as for festival organizers, and as well if the festival is using corporate food and drink sponsors, having easy access to data insofar as food and drink purchase preferences is key for being able to market to that ever-so-important 18-35 year old technologically savvy demographic.
If not entirely sold on the longevity of trap, dubstep, hard electro, techno, tech house or twerk, if looking for a place where EDM’s impact can be best felt, it’s likely in the technology sector. From disrupting SoundCloud to the point where it became a point of major interest for major labels looking to invest in a digital future, to yes, even getting the classic music standard of the “giant rock festival” to get on board with radio frequency identification, one piece in the story of the iconoclastic legacy of EDM is being written at this very moment.