Is EDM dead or is EDM life?
This is the question I asked myself when I first thought of this post.
But I didn't want to just dig through sales charts and concert attendance.
I wanted to know what people around the world were actually searching for.
So to find the answer, I turned to Google. Here's what I found out.
Getting Answers from Google Autosuggest
When you type a query into Google's search box, Google shows you suggestions to help you finish the query, like this:
These suggestions are basically a summation of what other people are searching for on Google. The topmost suggestion is the topmost search query for the related keyword (in the above case: "Michael Jackson Dance").
Thanks to Google's massive reach, the search engine's suggestions become a surprisingly effective indicator of its users' interests.
If Michael Jackson Dance shows up before Michael Jackson Songs, it's because more people are searching for the former than the latter at that moment.
Since the suggestions are pegged to current search volume, they also act as a great indicator of trends. If a musician has a new song out, you'll likely see it higher up in the list of suggestions. If a celebrity has a new scandal, it will dominate the suggestions.
For example, at the time of this writing, the new Thor movie, Thor Ragnarok is about to release in a few days. So of course, if you type in Thor into the search box, most of the top suggestions are for 'Thor Ragnarok'.
Further, these suggestions are based on your location. Google also has a presence in nearly every country around the world. Suggestions are tailored based on the search trends within that country.
This makes Google Suggestions an effective indicator of the country's thoughts and moods and interests about a topic.
Hence, I turned to Google Suggestions to figure out what people around the world think of EDM.
Here's the process I followed:
- I made a list of Google search engines for every country around the world.
- In each of these search engines, I entered the following query: "EDM is"
- I added the first word/phrase from the suggestions to a spreadsheet
At the end of this exercise, I had a spreadsheet like this:
Be warned that this is neither accurate nor totally reflective of a country's sentiment about a topic. I did this for the heck of it mostly. It is for illustrative purposes only.
Once I had my spreadsheet, I plotted them on a map.
Here's the result:
Clearly, there are a lot more people who think that EDM is "dead" than "EDM is life".
Some - especially in Europe - also think that EDM is "not music".
In Latin American countries, the belief that EDM is "trash" is also pretty prevalent.
In terms of sheer numbers, here's how they stack up:
Clearly, there are far more countries where people think EDM is 'dead' than those that think 'EDM is life'.
Let's look at each of the continents in more detail:
Big though it may be, North America is dominated by three countries - USA, Canada and Mexico.
Surprisingly, both Canada and USA think that EDM is 'dead'.
Mexico and its neighbors don't have a particularly favorable view either; they think that EDM is trash.
The further you move to South America and the Caribbean, however, the more people start searching for "EDM is life".
Which brings us to...
There is a north-south shift in sentiment about EDM among South American countries.
Ecuador, Colombia, etc. think that EDM is "life". Brazilians thinks the opposite. Argentina and Chile have downright unfavorable views of EDM with more searches for "EDM is trash":
Europe shows a definite trend: people in central and western European countries mostly search for "EDM is life". Those in the eastern half, however, think that "EDM is dead".
If I had to explain it, I'd have to say that western Europeans are generally more receptive to electronic genres. In fact, most of the top EDM producers right now are from western Europe (Tiesto, Hardwell, Afrojack, etc.)
EDM doesn't have nearly as many takers in Russia and the Baltic countries.
Looking at the map, it's almost as if loving EDM is a EU phenomenon.
Which brings us to Asia
The verdict in Asia is clear: EDM is dead.
Outside of the island countries in South-East Asia, people in most countries think that EDM is "dead".
This shouldn't be surprising; electronic genres aren't particularly popular in two of the largest countries in the continent - India and China.
And with a combined population of nearly 3 billion, India and China pretty much dominate the Asian map.
In Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia, however, EDM is still "life".
Take note of that, EDM artists.
Africa shows the same trend as Asia - most countries search for "EDM is dead" and only two countries think otherwise.
South Africa and Namibia are the only two countries that search for "EDM is life". The rest do the opposite.
Incidentally, South Africa is also one of the most advanced economies in the continent. Could there be a correlation between income and EDM? Are richer countries more likely to listen to electronic music?
The data for Africa isn't particularly accurate though. There are too few internet users in most of the countries, which makes the data unreliable. Take this for illustrative purposes only.
Which brings us to the final stop on my list.
Australia, New Zealand
Neither Australia nor NZ are fans of EDM:
What I Learned From This Data
I never really set out to learn anything from this data; I did it mostly as a fun exercise in digging around with Google suggestions.
However, once I started digging in, a few clear trends emerged.
For example, western European countries mostly search for "EDM is life". Countries in Eastern Europe think the other way around. Being in the EU, it seems, makes you want to love EDM.
Unsurprising, then, that most top EDM artists come from Europe as well.
Other than this, the data reflects the ground realities in most music markets. It's not that India thinks "EDM is dead". It's that other genres - namely Bollywood - dominate the Indian market.
Similarly, Americans might be receptive to EDM, but there are far too many other competing genres in the country, from rock and rap to, well, country.
Thus, while EDM might fill stadiums and concerts, it has stiff competition.
Finally, understand that this data only shows what the people are searching for. It does not mean that EDM is actually "dead". It's only an illustration of the most popular searches in a country.
So to answer the original question: yes, EDM is dead. At least that's the dominant search in most countries in the world.
But otherwise outside the domain of internet searches, EDM continues to thrive.
What do you think about this research? Share this post and comment below!
If you want the raw data, send me an email through the contact form.