Can you hear that? The bells are tolling for electronic dance music in Las Vegas. And this time, there’s no DJ to change the beat.
The End is Nigh
The stranglehold that EDM had on the nightclub scene is beginning to loosen. While it may seem that you can’t go to any nightclub without a high profile DJ on the marquee, the winds are beginning to change. The most recent example of this is the Wynn’s new nightclub Intrigue. They are the first to tack their sails away from brand name residents and bottle babes, and instead head towards creating an atmosphere of leisure and luxury.
The EDM scene seems to run counter to that philosophy. In any venue that plays host to the person behind the booth, there are thronged masses engaged in rapture at the appearance of a high profile DJ. Unfortunately, when it becomes all about a name and the crowd waiting for the beat to drop, the venue ends up losing out.
The Rise and Fall of EDM
It wasn’t always this way.
In the early 2010’s, Las Vegas shifted its focus to dance music focused entertainment. Billboards festooned with DJ’s faces were everywhere and the nightclubs created residencies for the artists. The city took a gamble on electronic dance music – and cashed in big. A horde of electronic music zealots descended onto the city. And when the Electric Daisy Carnival came to Vegas, it cemented the city’s reputation as the EDM mecca.
However, the nightclubs and hotels had created a monster. The EDM scene quickly became a corporate money grab and lost some of its cool. Today, the peak for EDM seems to have been reached. For example, Avicii – one of the highest paid DJ’s in the world- just announced his retirement. He’s complained about the lack of longevity for the genre in the past, and he’s not alone. Deadmau5, another high profile artist, has mentioned that the music all sounds the same.
But perhaps the biggest warning sign is that the once lucrative contracts for DJ’s are rumored to be slashed by at least 50%. And when Saturday Night Live uses EDM tropes to lambast the genre, it’s time to start paying attention.
The New Vegas Nightlife
It seems like the mega club craze is coming to an end. The shift is towards creating a sense of luxury in a smaller setting. The new focus is to return to what made a nightclub a nightclub: an essence of splendor and style. At Intrigue, and at other venues, it’s no longer about the DJ. Instead, it’s about an ambience of chic and the sophistication, a place where people can congregate. For example, the Intrigue at Wynn will have a unique VIP room where social media is banned.
Moving forward, nightclubs will definitely attempt to curb the presence of the DJ and the dance crowd. However, the EDM scene still has a lot of sway in the city. As evidenced by the contract extension between the Hakkasan Group and DJ Calvin Harris, where for the next three years the headliner will receive $400,000 per show performed.
So while EDM may not be dead yet, the glory days are certainly numbered and the bells are tolling.
What do you think?