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Top 10 EDM Sub-Genres

VO: Matt Campbell
Script written by Brandon Stuhr. A constantly changing genre, EDM music has quickly become a worldwide sensation. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for Top 10 EDM Sub-Genres. For this list, we’re taking a look at the sub-genre’s popularity, sales, and the artists representing each genre’s critical acclaim. For a genre that is so diverse, it’s no wonder it is becoming a worldwide phenomenon. Special thanks to our users Godslayer79, Tanzim K, thatguyharry, Taylor Randall Glover and DCTRVP for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script written by Brandon Stuhr.

Top 10 EDM Sub-Genres


A constantly changing genre, EDM music has quickly become a worldwide sensation. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we are counting down our picks for Top 10 EDM Sub-Genres.

For this list, we’re taking a look at the sub-genre’s popularity, sales, and the artists representing each genre’s critical acclaim.

#10: Electro

Let's start off with one of the oldest electronic styles that is anything but simple. As the success of disco died down in the late 70s, electro burst upon the scene using drum machines and samples of funk music. For early examples of electro, look no further than the work of Kraftwerk and Afrika Bambaataa. While electro's prominence was in the early 1980s, the genre still pops into mainstream every now and then, often being associated with hip hop.

#9: Industrial

Taking its main elements from synth music, industrial can be classified as any kind of music that is experimental, that invokes a provocative theme. Known for its harsh and noisy sounds, it is included on our list for blending ambient and rock influences. Having a major prominence in the 90s, industrial music is said to have been influenced by classic rock artists such as Frank Zappa and Jimi Hendrix. Notable industrial artists include Throbbing Gristle, Attrition and Nine Inch Nails, the latter of which has been the face of industrial rock for the past 25 years.

#8: Ambient

This one is for people who like a little atmosphere in their music. Taking many of its characteristics from other electronic genres, ambient music was created in the early 1970s thanks to the United Kingdom. The genre didn't necessarily take off until the early 1990s as artists like The Orb and Aphex Twin experimented with the genre and received commercial success. What makes ambient music stand out from other EDM genres is the length, as some tracks almost reach the half hour mark.

#7: Dubstep

With the sheer amount of popularity this genre has in recent years, there was no way we would leave this off of the list. Another genre courtesy of our friends over in the United Kingdom, traditional dubstep dates back to the 1990s, with the first releases in 1998. Traditional dubstep takes notes from jungle, drum and bass, as well as reggae music to create an entire new genre based around percussion and drum beats. Dubstep has once again received popularity in recent years due to American proudcer Skrillex, creating the genre brostep.

#6: Hardstyle

Let’s crank it up to 150 beats per minute. One of the newer genres on our list, hardstyle gained in popularity during the late 1990s and early 2000s due to the likes of The Prophet, Headhunterz, and Showtek. Hardstyle is exactly what you would imagine if house went hardcore. The genre is known for its rapid BPMs… add some distorted drum kicks and killer bass lines and voila! We also have to thank Hardstyle for giving us some killer dance moves.

#5: Acid House

Time for the genre that would influence the newer genres that we know and love. Acid house's main era of popularity was during the 1980s, slowly infecting its way into the mainstream of the United States and the United Kingdom. The easiest way to tell if a track is acid house is to look for the signature bass squeal that goes hand in hand with the genre. Heavily associated with rave culture, acid house soon became the basis for such genres as big beat, trance, and techno.

#4: Drum and Bass

Look, another major influential music genre from the United Kingdom! Much like Hardstyle, Drum and Bass is known for it's fast-paced tracks, with BPM counts between 160-180. Like dubstep however, the genre was originally influenced by classic Jamaican dub and reggae sounds, from which the name Jungle was born. In the past twenty years, the genre's popularity has skyrocketed and has spun off into smaller genres such as liquid funk, drumstep, and more recently, footwork.

#3: Techno

For many millennials, this was our introduction to electronic music. Most commonly considered a "futuristic" musical genre, techno actually originated in the 1980s. Created in Detroit, Michigan, techno was considered electronic, rebellious music of the people. Often featuring continuous, instrumental beats and fluttering synth lines, techno is a repetitive style of music that usually plays at 140 BPM.. Artists that define the current state of techno include Aphex Twin and Laurent Garnier, who both were prominent in the 1990's, when pioneers of the minimal techno style Robert Hood and Richie Hawtin were expanding the scope and sound of the genre.

#2: Trance

One of the more popular genres to come out of Europe in recent years, trance originated in Germany in the 1990s. Stylistically, trance features beats that build up and break down, beautiful melodies, and often have tempos ranging from 125 to 140 BPM. Trance has become very popular in recent years, spawning a number of festivals dedicated to the genre such as Beyond Wonderland and Tomorrowland. Many great artists have found commercial success with the genre such as powerhouses Tiesto, Armin Van Buuren, and Paul Van Dyk.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

Moombahton

Nu-Disco

Bass Music

Trap

Downtempo

UK Garage

#1: House

This genre proves that the United States can make electronic music too. Created during the 1990s in Chicago, house music quickly became the most popular form of electronic dance music on the market. Finding its stylistic roots in electro and disco, house features heavy use of synthesizers, drum machines, and deep bass lines to give you that big room feel. Modern house music has become embed into mainstream music, allowing for artists such as Daft Punk, Calvin Harris, and Deadmau5 to receive airplay.

Do you agree with our list? What is your favorite EDM sub-genre? For more beat-dropping top tens published every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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