Griz Announced to Headline Vail’s Powabunga Festival

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It is no doubt that the 2nd annual Powabunga Festival is off to a great start – but after a recent development it is not doubt that attendees are in for an amazing experience. None other than Griz himself was just announced as the headliner. With a record spanning a decade of amazing and influential

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Sam Feldt Teams up with Sigma and Gia Koka on Joyous ‘2 Hearts’

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With ‘Post Malone’ proving a huge hit with over 240 million streams to date and being certified gold in the US and UK, Sam Feldt is on a real roll. He keeps the momentum going with what promises to be yet another global smash on new feel-good anthem ‘2 Hearts’. The track sees him team

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Powabunga 2020 Announces New Dates & Lake Tahoe Location

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In 2019, the Powabunga Music and Mountain Festival burst on the scene and completely dominated the town of Vail for an unforgettable weekend featuring the likes of ZHU, Justin Jay, and Boombox. But this year – Powabunga is back for not one, but TWO weekends – both returning to Vail and adding a Lake Tahoe

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Dancing Astronaut’s BIG 100—Top 25 Electronic Labels of the Decade

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Dancing Astronaut’s BIG 100—Top 25 Electronic Labels of the DecadeUntitled Design 1 1

2010 may as well have been a lifetime ago. At the breakneck pace by which dance music throttles through the stratosphere, the decade is ending in an entirely unrecognizable place from where it began. For context—ten years ago, Electric Daisy Carnival was held in Los Angeles, not Las Vegas, where the Los Angeles Rams now play. Only 250,000 people were paying for a Swedish music streaming service called Spotify, and Billie Eilish was finishing up second grade. It’s been a wild ride through the 10’s, largely soundtracked by EDM’s global boom into a multi-billion dollar industry. Ten years ago our culture was creeping out of South London basements and New York warehouses, and now we’re performing at the Olympics.

So now, as the single most important, historic, and certainly memorable decade dance music has ever seen draws to a close, we had to figure out a new way to break down how far the culture has come. One master list couldn’t possibly reflect the decade in review. In effort to properly recognize the remarkable collection of events that has brought us here, we’re tweaking our typical end-of-the-year model. Instead, we’re dividing the decade’s most deserving into a handful of unique categories.

In review of 2010 – 2019, the most important factors that shaped the decade were Artists of the Decade, Labels of the Decade, Albums of the Decade, and Most Impactful Moments of the Decade. Together, they comprise Dancing Astronaut’s decade-end collection. Introducing, The Big 100.


25. Foreign Family Collective –

While ODESZA‘s Foreign Family Collective isn’t exactly a traditional record label, and likely the youngest inclusion on this list, the artist collective has proven to be one of the premier creative outlets for some of electronic music’s current brightest. The imprint has hosted releases from Jai Wolf, Louis Futon, RÜFÜS DU SOL, Robotaki, Kasbo, and more, coming together as an eclectic collection of sonic and visual media. ODESZA’s third full length LP, A Moment Apart officially landed on the duo’s own Foreign Family Collective in 2017, and would net them two Grammy nominations in 2018. The Collective also managed to move into event curation by the end of the decade with the highly in-demand ODESZA-curated SUNDARA festival that sprang up in the summer of 2019.

Dancing Astronaut’s BIG 100—Top 25 Electronic Labels of the DecadeOdesza Leon Bridges

24. Brainfeeder –

Another twisted creative brainchild of LA’s Flying Lotus, Brainfeeder has commanded its own corner of the experimental sector for more than a decade now. Over the course of the last ten years, the imprint has hosted releases from the likes of Mr. Oizo, TOKiMONSTA, Thundercat, and Kamasi Washington, Lotus’ rap alter-ego Captain Murphy, and more. The label has dexterously cemented itself as the authority on the outer fringes of hip-hop and electronic music. Brainfeeder regulars would go on to host one of Southern California’s most beloved running parties, Low End Theory, which saw LA’s beat scene rise to prominence over the course of Wednesday nights from 2006 to its final club night in 2018.

23. Ninja Tune –

Ninja Tune has been a pillar in dance music for much longer than just this past decade. In fact, in 2020, the label will celebrate 30 years in business, spanning a myriad of releases and artists from all corners of the musical macrocosm. From 2010 – 2019, Ninja Tune put on the likes of Peggy Gou, Tycho, Bonobo, Bicep, Machinedrum, Helena Hauff, ODESZA, and more. Even Kelis and Diplo have featured on the legendary label’s network of brands. Ninja Tune also managed to ink a deal with the aforementioned Brainfeeder, bringing releases from Flying Lotus, Thundercat, and others under the Ninja Tune banner during the ’10s.

22. Sweat It Out! 

The “Australian Invasion” has been a remarkable high point of the past decade, and the late DJ Ajax’s Sweat It Out! remains at the helm of this movement. There’s nary a superstar from the country that hasn’t gotten their start on the label; Yolanda Be Cool, RÜFÜS DU SOL with their career-making Bloom, Emoh Instead (What So Not), Crooked Colours, and Dancing Astronaut’s Breakout Artist of the Year Dom Dolla serve as just a few. Be it house, electro pop, or future bass, one thing that remains a constant in Sweat It Out! is its penchant for finding artists that will enamor audiences worldwide with their raw musicianship—and that’s why the label can always be trusted as a hub for next generation elite. DJ Ajax’s untimely passing will forever be a dark moment on electronic music’s timeline, but thankfully his legacy shines permanently in Sweat It Out!.

21. Future Sound Of Egypt

Once a part of the Armada family, Future Sound Of Egypt (FSOE) separated into its own force to be reckoned with in trance. Since regaining its independence in 2016, it’s swiftly grown to rival other known institutions like Black Hole and Anjunabeats. The label is so highly regarded, in fact, that Aly & Fila were granted permission to perform at the Great Pyramids twice in celebration of episodes 400 and 500 of their label’s eponymous radio show, joining a small group of other acts that includes Sting, Kylie Minogue, and Jean-Michel Jarre. In a time of intense evolution for trance in multiple sonic directions, FSOE has stayed true to its roots, consistently offering followers top-grade records in uplifting, tech, and progressive.

20. Night Bass

Looking back on decades of dance music, few labels have been as integral in the invention of their own genre as Night Bass. Even more impressive about AC Slater’s second imprint is that it accomplished this feat in a very short amount of time. Founded halfway through the decade in 2014, around the time Trouble & Bass closed shop, Night Bass set off on a mission. It has since curated a nationwide community around bass house; a burgeoning soundscape that harkens to the early days of UK garage and two-step but presented in a four-on-the-floor fashion. Slater’s done a commendable job of not only curating a solid catalog of releases, but fostering a tightly knit community of like-minded house heads. – Harry Levin

Dancing Astronaut’s BIG 100—Top 25 Electronic Labels of the DecadeNight Bass Monarch Theatre

19. Crosstown Rebels

If there is one word to describe Damian Lazarus’ profile as an artist, it’s humble. While you may never see him topping bills of international festivals or lending his name to the hottest singles of the year, his ability to curate releases through his legendary imprint, Crosstown Rebels, is unmatched. Even as dance music entered the mainstream this decade, Lazarus was able to sift through the hype and find some of the best tunes in the underground from the likes of Skream, Gorgon City, Denney, Joeski, and a nearly interminable list of both established talents and rising stars in house and techno. – Harry Levin

18. Diynamic

Solomun has cultivated Diynamic into one of the most hyped in the house and techno world—and for good reason. One can’t deny its role in propelling melodic shades of the aforementioned to greatness, especially when the label was one of the first to push the sound when minimal reigned supreme. What began as some friends going against the grain for their dreams blossomed into a full-blown movement, and today, thousands of loyal fans filling out Diynamic’s showcases, stage takeovers, and residencies all over the globe prove the impact it’s had in the dance community at large. Its streak is primed to continue well into the 2020s, as the past year alone has seen Diynamic breed new superstars in ARTBAT whilst continuing to top charts with singles like Maceo Plex’s “Mutant Magic,” an EP from Boys Noize’s ELAX alias, and more.

17. Deadbeats –

Zeds Dead emerged just as the decade kicked off, and by the end of the early ’10s DC and Hooks had firmly established themselves as face-melting bass gods. They spent the first half of the decade developing their signature sound to contort around a variety of electric genres, successfully wading from dub into house, hip-hop, R&B, future bass, and more. By early 2016, Zeds Dead were ready to do more than just produce and release their own music, forming the aptly named Deadbeats—a label which reflects the very ethos of Zeds Dead’s refusal to be pinned down by one single genre. In just four years, Deadbeats has stacked a booming catalog of nearly 300 releases including work from newcomers and industry vets alike. Now, Deadbeats roster boasts the likes of Rusko, GRiZ, EPROM, DEVAULT, Delta Heavy, Wuki, Habstrakt, Ducky, and more.

Look to Deadbeats to continue to be an accurate barometer for what’s hot as a new decade unfolds. A decade in, and Zeds Dead has traversed the electronic world twice, expect them to keep up the pace in 2020.

16. CONFESSION

Though it’s just shy of five years old, CONFESSION has already proven to be one of the most impactful imprints of the 2010s. Tchami does an impeccable job imbuing his spiritually minded ethos into the brand on the visual and audio fronts, matching the label’s church-themed parties to otherworldly future house records that garner high praise across the world. Many high pedigree artists have signed records onto CONFESSION, with the highly anticipated REZZ and Malaa collaboration, “Criminals,” having just been released in autumn. Of course, this swift success hardly comes as a surprise to those familiar with Tchami’s keen ear and resonant vision.

15. Boysnoize Records (BNR)

Boys Noize is one of dance music’s foremost forward-thinkers, and his namesake label is a manifestation of the cutting edge, rule-bending aesthetic he’s become known for. Over the past decade alone, Boysnoize Records (BNR) and its BNR TRAX subsidiary have not only been hubs for groundbreaking releases by the label boss himself—such as the critically acclaimed Out Of The Black and 2016’s Mayday—but they’ve also been instrumental in launching the careers of Jensen Interceptor, Peaches, Raito, and beyond. The label’s really grown into its own through the years, and looks to a continued tenure providing dance music’s future innovations to the masses.

Dancing Astronaut’s BIG 100—Top 25 Electronic Labels of the DecadeBoys Noize Credit Dance Music Northwest

14. Spinnin’ Records

Spinnin’s legacy stretches back to the turn of the millennium, but the past decade has really seen it becoming a major force in shaping modern dance music. It’s widely responsible for introducing the world to, and popularizing, big room house, with perhaps its biggest claim to fame being the discovery of Martin Garrix and kicking off his journey to superstardom with “Animals.” Millions of followers, billions of streams amassed, a multi-million dollar merger with Warner, and over 20 noteworthy, artist-led sub-labels later (think Heldeep and Dharma Worldwide), Spinnin’ has permanently cemented itself as a pillar of EDM and one of the genre’s greatest patrons.

13. Ultra Music

Before Spinnin’ asserted its dominance in the EDM world, Ultra was its kingpin. It entered the 2010s on top, with iconic singles like “Stereo Love” and Skrillex’ remix to Benny Benassi’s “Cinema” raking in countless plays across all platforms. This streak has continued all through the decade, with the label playing host to multiple platinum records which have included Deorro’s 2016 collaborations with Elvis Crespo, “Bailar,” and “Five More Hours” with Chris Brown, in addition to SNBRN’s “Gangsta Walk,” “Just Hold On” with Steve Aoki and Louis Tomlinson, and Klingade’s “Somewhere New.” Label darling Kygo even booked an Olympic performance.

12. UKF

One of the earliest entities to realize the power of YouTube as a music platform is UKF, which became one of the first viral channels to flourish as an indie record label. It’s hard to believe the brand was created a mere 10 years ago, given its establishment as a prime hub for all things bass from the get-go. In fact, it’s safe to say that many of electronic music’s younger generation discovered the likes of Zeds Dead, Nero, and even Knife Party during UKF’s earliest days. Outside its reputation as a leading curatorial hub, Luke Hood’s brainchild is also behind upwards of three billion streams on YouTube alone, a sold-out show at the Alexandria Palace in London, and multiple groundbreaking compilations that have served as barometers of bass culture over the years. It’s truly a label of the future.

11. Monstercat

Flume might have been future bass’ first pioneer, but it’s Canadian titan Monstercat that took experimental bass, in all forms, to formerly unfathomable heights. Its founders Mike Darlington and Ari Paunonen can easily be considered some of the music industry’s most industrious entrepreneurs, slowly building Monstercat’s stock over the years through adopting Twitch streaming early and making their label’s name known on a grander scale via festival stage takeovers. By 2014 it’d already sold over a million records, but 2016 is when Monstercat struck gold with Marshmello’s breakout single “Alone.” This goes to show that grassroots passion mixed with a bit of business savvy pays off in the long run, and as a result, there’s no foreseeable end to the label’s reign over the bass world.

10. Big Beat

While most of our picks for Label of the Decade are smaller distributors, we’d be remiss if we left out the behemoth Big Beat from our rankings. A longtime stalwart in house, hip-hop, and now more modern strains of electronica, the Atlantic-housed imprint relaunched in 2010 with Skrillex’s Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites—effectively locking it back into the upper echelon of dance music during its second commercial boom. Skrillex’s breakout EP, and even his widely frenzied Jack Ü project with Diplo are merely drops in Big Beat’s bucket, with the label also giving rise to the likes of Galantis, Ekali, Icona Pop, and many more in the years following its relaunch. While trends come and go with increasing speeds, Big Beat always manages to stay ahead of the game, and this attribute is precisely what will keep it thriving for many decades to come.

Dancing Astronaut’s BIG 100—Top 25 Electronic Labels of the Decade12 31 18 DavidGuetta@BNY ByPoselskiPhotos 14

09. Fool’s Gold Records

With A-Trak and Nick Catchdubs at the helm, there is no way Fool’s Gold would ever or could ever fold into being just another dance music label, and, of course, it didn’t. Few imprints across this decade carved a distinct niche that combined electronic and rap while supporting an art form which has become criminally under-valued in today’s music scene: real DJing. Now, Fool’s Gold’s roster boasts releases from Kid Cudi, Anna Lunoe, Run The Jewels, Brenmar, Oliver, YehMe2, Sleepy Tom, and so many more. Beyond bringing new technically skilled DJs into the fold like KITTENS, Fool’s Gold is a primary sponsor of A-Trak’s Goldie Awards, an annual DJ competition and beat-battle judged by some of the best in the business including Diplo, Craze, and A-Trak himself. Furthermore, FGR has even dipped into fashion, events production, and more during the 2010s. – Harry Levin

08. Armada Music

Armada’s journey runs parallel to its founder Armin van Buuren’s rise to the top of the crossover world. It’d already become a top trance label by the aughts, but has silently exploded into one of the biggest imprints in electronic whose power rivals that of Ultra and Spinnin’. From 2011-2015, it took home the IDMA for “Best Global Dance Music Label,” additionally expanding its robust sub-label army to during this time while propping up van Buuren’s entrance into the pop world through his LPs Intense and Embrace. Today, its repertoire spans records from Detroit legend Kevin Saunderson to Dutch house master Afrojack, showcasing a label built to last and prosper through EDM’s cyclical history.

07. Future Classic

The “Australian Invasion” of the last decade was one of the most enjoyable subplots in all of dance music. The talent that emanated from down under over the last ten years went on to be some of the most dominate forces in electronic music, positioning Future Classic as an incubator for Aussie hitmakers. Future Classic wasn’t new to the decade, though the label/management company’s story really took off in 2012 with the debut release from Harley Streten, better known as Flume. The rest, as they say, is history. Releases from Anna Lunoe, Touch Sensitive, Chrome Sparks, Nick Murphy (fka Chet Faker), Classixx, Flight Facilities, Wave Racer, and others would follow, placing Future Classic among some of the greatest labels of the decade.

06. Ed Banger Records

Pedro Winter’s Ed Banger family built its reputation in the previous decade under the stewardship of Cassius and Justice, and those are the only two names that actually need to be mentioned even though there are plenty of others that could be. However, between 2010 and 2019, Busy P proved that he knew how to keep his record label relevant in the face of changing market with tasty treats from Breakbot, Mr, Oizo, Riton, and Boston Bun. Still, Ed Banger managed to bring home hardware over the course of the decade with Justice’s Grammy-winning Woman Worldwide. Ed Banger Records, which celebrated its 15th anniversary in 2018, was never a pure house or even a pure electro imprint, and by leaning into that spirit of exploration, they were able to continue to sign forward-thinking artists that forward-thinking dance fans were eager to discover. – Harry Levin

05. Mad Decent

It was in this decade that Diplo established himself as both the premier pop producer of our day as well as a paragon of superstar DJ culture—and his label, Mad Decent, was there every step of the way. Diplo entered the EDM explosion with a resumé and Rolodex matched by few and immediately established Mad Decent as an open-format trendsetter. Even before he entered his current house kick with his new imprint Higher Ground, Diplo landed modern four-on-the-floor classics like “Bugatti” and “Feel The Volume,” essentially launching JAUZ’s career. He put on early Dillon Francis and Baauer, with Valentino Khan, Party Favor, and so many more in between. Let us not forget one of the biggest hits in history, the light-hearted jam, “Lean On” which, on top of breaking numerous records, imbued practically every pop song to follow for the next two years with its bouncing dancehall beat. – Harry Levin

Dancing Astronaut’s BIG 100—Top 25 Electronic Labels of the DecadeDiplo

04. OWSLA

Skrillex is such a staple when discussing electronic music that it’s almost hard to believe that Sonny Moore started working under that name just this decade. Even harder to believe he only started OWSLA this decade, too. Though, at the end of the decade, looking back its clear OWSLA had a finger on the pulse of electronic music culture right from the jump.

This label turned lifestyle brand was launched with the breakout EP from an exciting 19-year-old named Porter Robinson entitled Spitfire. From there on the tone of the label was set to continue breaking boundaries and building new artists. Makes sense, considering the second release from a little known artist who goes by the name of ZEDD. From there, OWSLA went on to push records from every corner of electronic music, from Yogi, Alvin Risk, KOAN Sound, What So Not, Alex Metric, Getter, Vindata, Mija, Ekali, Kill The Noise, and more. – Harry Levin

Dancing Astronaut’s BIG 100—Top 25 Electronic Labels of the DecadeSkrille Zedd Porter 2011 Tour Rukes Photo.jph

03.  Anjunabeats / Anjunadeep

Anjunabeats is a musical movement in itself. The trance label and its deeper, progressive-leaning counterpart Anjunadeep have carved a distinct sonic niche in their respective genre realms, with the latter being a prime motivator in the rise of melodic house as a dominating sect in electronica. Meanwhile, Anjunabeats remains a titan with impeccable curation in its founders Above & Beyond; Seven Lions was discovered and nurtured to the star he is today thanks to the imprint, as have other key players today like Lane 8, Ilan Bluestone, and Andrew Bayer. Not to mention, its fan base remains one of the most dedicated we’ve seen today.

Dancing Astronaut’s BIG 100—Top 25 Electronic Labels of the DecadeAbove And Beyond

02. mau5trap

deadmau5 has always commanded a large portion the electronic zeitgeist’s collective attention, and regardless of whatever anyone may think of him, he’s always diverted a large portion of that attention to his record label mau5trap. Looking back on this decade, it’s almost uncanny how many impressive artists came into their own mau5trap. Matt Lange, Eekkoo, ATTLAS, i_o, Rinzen, just to name a few. Many listeners might also be surprised to learn that mau5trap also hosted seminal releases from artists like Skrillex, Excision, Noisia, and Moguai. – Harry Levin

Dancing Astronaut’s BIG 100—Top 25 Electronic Labels of the DecadeDeadmau5 2019 1
Photo credit: Matt Barnes

01. DIRTYBIRD 

In the span of 2010 to 2019, no other label has done a better job of introducing house music to a wider audience than DIRTYBIRD. With a foundational crew of artists maintaining the brand’s core values through both its sound and jovial conduct, Claude VonStroke’s humble, homemade record imprint has amassed a consistent, reliable force of dancers around the globe. Not only have they curated some of the decade’s biggest hits like “Stop It” by Fisher and “OKAY” by Shiba San, but they continuously groom up-and-coming artists and set new weird and wacky trends as well. The label has successfully moved into events curation over the last decade, inspired by its humble beginnings, hosting beat-laden barbecues in the park. Now, with fledging Campout and BBQ events all over the country, a roster of top-notch artists that proctor some of the best house in the game, DIRTYBIRD Records is a shoe-in for our Top Label of the Decade. – Harry Levin

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Dancing Astronaut’s BIG 100—Top 25 EDM Moments of the Decade

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Dancing Astronaut’s BIG 100—Top 25 EDM Moments of the DecadeUntitled Design 1

2010 may as well have been a lifetime ago. At the breakneck pace by which dance music throttles through the stratosphere, the decade is ending in an entirely unrecognizable place from where it began. For context—ten years ago, Electric Daisy Carnival was held in Los Angeles, not Las Vegas, where the Los Angeles Rams now play. Only 250,000 people were paying for a Swedish music streaming service called Spotify, and Billie Eilish was finishing up second grade. It’s been a wild ride through the 10’s, largely soundtracked by EDM’s global boom into a multi-billion dollar industry. Ten years ago our culture was creeping out of South London basements and New York warehouses, and now we’re performing at the Olympics.

So now, as the single most important, historic, and certainly memorable decade dance music has ever seen draws to a close, we had to figure out a new way to break down how far the culture has come. One master list couldn’t possibly reflect the decade in review. In effort to properly recognize the remarkable collection of events that has brought us here, we’re tweaking our typical end-of-the-year model. Instead, we’re dividing the decade’s most deserving into a handful of unique categories.

In review of 2010 – 2019, the most important factors that shaped the decade were Artists of the Decade, Labels of the Decade, Albums of the Decade, and Most Impactful Moments of the Decade. Together, they comprise Dancing Astronaut’s decade-end collection. Introducing, The Big 100.


25. FYRE Festival Fiasco

We’ll always remember FYRE Festival, though, for more than the debacle it caused for the 1%’ers of festival attendance. The fiasco that left attendees stranded on a concrete beach in the middle of the Bahamas without food or shelter will go down as one of the biggest blunders in festival history—our generation’s Woodstock 99, or microcosmic version of it. But FYRE Festival will be remembered as a turning point for both festival events and influencer culture. The tumultuous last-minute dissolution of the event showed the gaping cracks in influencer marketing and sent a message to global festival organizers that sub-par events wouldn’t be tolerated anymore; nobody wants to be the next FYRE. As a result, the diluted middle of the festival circuit began to fold at the tail end of the decade. FYRE will likely have set the precedent for the next decade of festivals in that most of us are either looking for events with high production value and infrastructural organization, or tightly curated boutique events in aesthetically pleasing locations. But for now, we’re still dining out on the epic failure that was Billy McFarland and Ja Rule’s “greatest party that never was.”

24. Aphex Twin’s Return

Aphex Twin had already claimed his place in the upper echelons of electronic music before the turn of the millennium. Though he largely went radio silent after his 2001 double LP. Fast forward to this decade and it wasn’t necessarily surprising that Richard James, a deity of experimentalism, wasn’t a part of electronic music’s global commercialization. Though, when James did resurface in 2014 with the mind-bending Syro, his influence was immediately evident in the modern electronic landscape. A Grammy, a pair of EPs, a return to visual media, and a return to performing stateside, which culminated in his first Coachella showing in 11 years, made the second half of the decade a fun, twisted spiral down Aphex Twin’s rabbit hole.

Dancing Astronaut’s BIG 100—Top 25 EDM Moments of the DecadeAphe Twin Collapse Ep

23. What So Not break up and Flume launches into the stratosphere

In 2015, What So Not was at the top of their game as Australia’s brightest exports began to leverage swelling popularity with American audiences. The pairing of Flume and Emoh seemed like two buddies carving out their shared creative vision—tracks like “The Quack” and “Jaguar” were breaking ground in new sonic territories and everyone was along for the ride. Though, Flume was already a breakout star in his own right, with a hugely successful debut album already under his belt. When the pair announced their split and Emoh would be taking creative control of the shared project, it allowed Flume the creative space he needed to propel himself into a once-in-a-generational talent with his sophomore follow up, Skin, and later his deeply ambitious mixtape. It was a big moment for dance music as the beloved duo went their separate ways, but ultimately, allowed Flume the creative launchpad he so desperately needed.

22. Madonna and Avicii at Ultra

During Avicii’s unforgettable 2012 Ultra set, he brought out pop’s undisputed queen, Madonna as a surprise guest during the performance. Her words would have been remembered as endearing when she said, “electronic music has been a part of my life since the beginning of my career, and I can honestly say a DJ saved my life,” had she not followed up a moment later asking the swelling crowd of ravers if anyone had “seen Molly?” *record scratch*

It wasn’t the greatest look for Madonna, or electronic culture at large, but in that moment it was remarkable to see our generation’s fastest rising star share the stage with the most dominate pop force of the last 50 years. —Farrell Sweeney

21. Gesaffelstein’s farewell at Coachella 2015

When Gesaffelstein announced his early retirement from live performances in 2015, it shocked the dance music community. It felt like the first time Michael Jordan called it quits. Following the success of his debut studio album from just two years before, Gesaffelstein was at the top of his game. Crowds would come in droves to see the French techno god chain smoke his way through sets, commanding the decks like a pastor at the pulpit. Then, just like that, it was announced that his festival-closing performance at Coachella’s Mohave tent in 2015 would signify the end. The farewell provided the kind of rousing and suspenseful ending that festival-goers yearn for in the final hours of such a momentous event.

The void where Gesaffelstein had stood was felt instantly, and never really subsided until his 2019 re-emergence. The four year hiatus proved to be fruitful as the Dark Prince of Techno returned with a highly conceptual live performance and sophomore album. With a Columbia Records deal now inked, fans can expect Gesaffelstein to remain active in the early part of the coming decade, though they’ll never take his presence for granted again.

Dancing Astronaut’s BIG 100—Top 25 EDM Moments of the DecadeGesaffelstein Jorge Meza Photos

20. “Lean On” makes Spotify history

There was a lot of “fad” talk over the course of the decade, underscored by endless theorizing about the “EDM bubble.” Those conversations halted for a day in November 2015 when Major Lazer, DJ Snake, and MØ’s “Lean On” was named Spotify’s most streamed song of all time. It signaled that EDM was now to be understood as pop music, that there was no longer a line between the genres and that was the new precedent. It topped the charts in more than 20 countries, and spent 10 consecutive weeks in the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100. “Lean On” is now Spotify’s fourth most-streamed song of all time. Though, it boasts nearly three billion YouTube views and undoubtedly holds a place as one of the songs that defined the decade.

19. Kaskade’s crowd at Coachella

In April of 2015, Kaskade was the only electronic music artist to play on Coachella’s main stage. That year he represented electronic music in grand fashion when he broke festival records for the largest crowd in Coachella history. “This is certainly electronic music’s time,” Kaskade would tell Mashable in 2015, and considering his crowds trumped that of Drake, AC/DC, The Weeknd, and Tame Impala’s, suffice it to say he hit the nail on the head with the bold notion. —Farrell Sweeney

18. Jack Ü debut at Ultra

When Skrillex and Diplo took to the Ultra main stage together in 2014, most of the overarching impact of what was happening was lost on the crowd and global streaming audience as two of the world’s top DJs rained fire down on Miami. What would permeate from that performance was not just a larger-than-life pairing of two dance titans that would yield an album, a sold-out Madison Square Garden NYE run, and a slew of massive festival headlines. The Jack Ü project undoubtedly resurrected Justin Bieber‘s career and ultimately positions Diplo and Skrillex as the top pop producers of the decade with their hypnotic brand of fizzy, aggressively danceable electronic music.

Of course all good things must come to an end and after label red tape, an unsustainable touring itinerary, and perhaps even creative differences, Diplo and Skrillex went their separate ways in 2016. Though, the split doesn’t seem as acrimonious as JAY-Z and Kanye’s public falling out, so something tells us we likely haven’t seen the last of Jack Ü. —Bella Bagshaw

Dancing Astronaut’s BIG 100—Top 25 EDM Moments of the Decade10173521 10152289907934337 1817304520 N 1

17. Porter Robinson and Madeon finally join forces for ‘Shelter’

The Shelter tour encapsulated a truly unique live experience that will go down in the history books for electronic music. Madeon and Porter Robinson’s trajectories were so similar from the onset—two internet wunderkinds who each shared an affinity for video game culture and its intersection with music. Both would go on to become stars. So when the two finally joined forces for “Shelter,” we knew we were looking at something special. The collaboration was later accompanied with a short anime feature. The temporary pairing would climax with two scintillating shows at Madison Square Garden and Coachella. —Josh Hymowitz

16. SFX goes belly up

The newly relaunched SFX Entertainment had largely dominated the EDM gold rush by it’s IPO in 2013, swallowing major brand properties left and right behind the leadership of controversial entertainment mogul Robert Sillerman. The entertainment conglomerate would grab up TomorrowlandMysterylandBeatport, and more before tumultuous restructuring efforts would ultimately lead to filing for bankruptcy just two years later. The company would return once again in 2016 thanks to AEG Live CEO Randy Phillips, this time as LiveStyle, the group behind Destructo‘s AMF properties, Electric Zoo, and many more. Earlier this year, Sillerman died of throat cancer.

15. Gary Richards’ final HARD performance

In the ’90s Gary Richards was instrumental in the rise of the rave scene in Los Angeles. While fellow promoter Pasqualle Rotella was also carving out his own lane in LA at the time, the two were largely understood to be competitors rather than collaborators. This decade would bring Richards’ return to the electronic events circuit with the formation of his HARD events brand, which proved to be a monumentally successful alternative to Rotella’s fledging Insomniac branded events. Though, when Live Nation purchased HARD Events in 2012, it brought Rotella and Richards under the same banner, and ultimately, began the process of Richards’ departure from his own events property. After successfully branding summer and Halloween events, a mini-festival touring circuit, and a wildly successful cruise party, Richards would start from the ground up once again with the formation of his AMFAMFAMF events brand and a partnership with LiveStyle, formerly SFX, in 2018. Richards played one final sermon, as fans grew accustomed to calling his sets, at HARD Summer in 2017, marking the end of a momentous chapter for stateside dance events. —Bella Bagshaw

14. OWSLA goes on tour + Mothership Tour

Skrillex founded his OWSLA imprint in 2011, mainly so he could sign and help distribute music from fellow up-and-comers he had connected with online: a teen from North Carolina named Porter Robinson and a young Russian-German musician with an ear for crafting hits named ZEDD. The three would of course go on to define electronic music for the decade individually, but not before sharing a tour bus for a month, setting up a folding table at clubs across the country. Talk about a real “started from the bottom” moment.

This would lead to the unforgettable Mothership Tour of 2014 which saw Skrillex, now an electronic icon, deliver some of his most ambitious performances to date from the cockpit of a hydraulic, graffiti tagged, laser equipped spaceship. The tour was supported by What So Not, DJ Snake, and Milo & Otis, making for one of the most memorable affairs of the decade.

Dancing Astronaut’s BIG 100—Top 25 EDM Moments of the Decade7 49

13. Anna and Alison at EDC main stage

EDC Las Vegas’ 20th anniversary in 2016 was certainly one for the books. The event’s top highlight would go down as a historic showing from two of dance music’s most dominant leading ladies. Amid three days of electrifying sets, and celebrity guest appearances, Anna Lunoe became the first solo female act to ever play the festival’s main stage on Saturday, followed by Alison Wonderland taking the main stage the following day with her own raucous performance. It drew long-overdue attention to the gender gap in dance music and served as both a moment of triumph for the culture as well as a hard look in the mirror.

12. Carl Cox says farewell to Space Ibiza

For the better part of the decade, Space was consistently celebrated as the top club in the world. By all accounts, the storied venue was the crown jewel of Ibiza. All the while, Carl Cox reigned supreme as the club’s esteemed resident, rocking the club’s main room discoteca with fervor and passion for 15 years. The 2016 season marked the end of the club’s storied run and in turn Cox’s legendary stint as its ringleader. The live streamed closing party featured a head-spinning list of performers all stopping in for one final goodbye.

Since then, Cox has been instrumental in the institution’s restoration. Though, that season-ending party in 2016, with Cox spinning vinyl for the first time in more than a decade, reminded us that electronic dance music has its own hallowed grounds, and losing one such site was certainly a moment to remember.

11. Ultra Music Festival voted out of Bayfront Park

This decade was largely defined by Miami Music Week and the culminating Ultra Music Festival that capped the week off. Each year, dance music’s most jaw-dropping moments would take place at Bayfront Park, replete with fireworks and Miami’s skyline in the background. Bayfront became an inextricable component to Ultra’s appeal over the event’s 18-year stint at the venue. So when the commissioners of Miami voted unanimously against allowing the festival to be hosted at Bayfront Park in September of 2018, it felt not only as though the relationship between the festival and its host city had fractured, but it felt again as though dance music was losing another holy site. The 2019 edition of the festival was largely received as a disaster, though, the 2020 iteration will see Ultra’s return to Bayfront Park after some key legal maneuvering. It will set a new chapter in a fresh decade for the crown jewel of dance events. We couldn’t be more excited. —Farrell Sweeney

Dancing Astronaut’s BIG 100—Top 25 EDM Moments of the DecadeUltra 2018 Mainstage ALIVE Coverage
Photo credit: aLIVE Coverage.

10. Major Lazer performs Cuba

When Major Lazer performed a free show in Cuba in March of 2016, we knew we were witnessing history. It was the first time an American group would play for a Cuban audience after more than a 50-year embargo between the two nations. The result was remarkable. Nearly half a million Cubans came to watch Diplo, Walshy Fire, and Jillionaire make it clear that Peace is the Mission. For a group that prides themselves on bringing worldly influences to a global network of fans, Major Lazer certainly drove their point home on the shores of Havana that day.

09. Skrillex brings home the hardware

When Skrillex won three Grammys in 2012, it felt like we had arrived. Our generation’s newly defined rockstar archetype had emerged just two years prior, and when Sonny Moore brought home golden gramophones for best dance recording, best dance/electronic album, and best remixed recording (not to mention a nomination for best new artist), it was a hugely legitimizing moment for the genre. Moore would sweep the same three categories the following year, and grab two more Grammys before the decade’s end, establishing himself as one of the premier producers of our day, and our Artist of the Decade.

08. Resurgence of album format

Recent survey data may reflect otherwise, but from 2010 – 2019, as dance music found its footing in the pop landscape, so too did the album format, giving listeners a wide variety of electronic projects that were defined by a concept. It brought listeners from A to Z with specific chronological intent. Electronic albums weren’t new to the 2010s, though electronic music’s relationship to the album format seemed to strengthen over the decade more than it had before. It also allowed dance producers to wade into pop production with largely successful results. From deadmau5’s While(1<2) to The Chemical BrothersNo Geography, with Recess, Worlds, and so many highlights in between, electronic artists stepped beyond the comforts of lower-risk EPs and dove into album production with spirit during the ’10s.

07. Avicii’s ‘Levels’ takes over the world

In 2011, Avicii debuted “Levels” at Ultra Music Festival, and this moment would forever change the trajectory of the dance music industry and the career of Avicii himself. “Levels” took over the world. It played on repeat on major radio stations; it rang out at major sporting events and on TV shows; and it ignited an interest in dance music from the masses. The debut of “Levels” is the beginning of the mainstream’s growing interest in dance music, and the song’s unbelievable ubiquity marks one of the most pivotal moments in Avicii’s iconic career. —Farrell Sweeney

06. The loss of Keith Flint

After the loss of Avicii in April of 2018, dance music was forced to examine and console the loss of an icon. It galvanized the mental health conversation in the industry and shed light on the not-so-glamorous side of the globetrotting DJ life. Not a year later, on March 4, 2019 the community that was still processing those feelings took another massive blow when news broke that The Prodigy‘s legendary frontman Keith Flint had died. Both the group and Flint individually garnered so much respect from so many corners of the music world, that coping with Flint’s passing felt like reopening barely closed wounds. Despite being one of the darker moments of the decade, there’s not a shadow of a doubt that The Firestarter’s legacy will live on.

05. Swedish House Mafia breakup… and reunite

It is hard to believe that Swedish House Mafia was broken up for more years than they were together over the past decade when considering the impact they had on progressive house and the massive global following the group amassed during their time together. When the group called it quits in 2013, their farewell tour signaled an unforgettable milestone in dance music’s golden decade. The split had the Mafia divided on a personal level, riffs that took five years to close. It wasn’t exactly a shock when the trio reunited in the same place they said goodbye at Ultra Music Festival in 2018, though the moment was undoubtedly a triumph. It felt as though the entire global dance music community reunited for a singular moment to watch the Axwell, Sebastian Ingrosso, and Steve Angello come back together to close down Ultra Music Festival’s 20th anniversary weekend. —Farrell Sweeney

Dancing Astronaut’s BIG 100—Top 25 EDM Moments of the DecadeSwedish House Mafia Ultra 2018 DA

04. Electronic dance music reaches a billy

The global dance music industry hit an all time high of $7.4 billion in 2016, solidifying that, for better or worse, this decade has been the biggest, most profitable, and commercialized decade dance music has ever seen. The electronic music industry became the fifth highest grossing genre of music, a place the vast majority of us couldn’t say they saw coming at the onset of the decade. —Farrell Sweeney

03. The rise of digital streaming platforms

At the risk of stating an oversimplification, streaming changed the game in so many ways. Naturally it is where creative media was headed this decade, but the wide adoption of Spotify, and Apple’s purchase of Dr. Dre’s Beats empire, sparking the launch of Apple Music thereafter, signaled a major shift for artists, labels, and yes, even little dance blogs. Spotify essentially did what they set out to do during their first decade—effectively end online music piracy by providing a better alternative.

Now, firmly into the streaming era, we see both Apple and Spotify collecting millions of paid users per year, while taking the monopolized distribution power of labels out of their hands. Labels would catch-up to the digital streaming platforms eventually, but not before Spotify and Apple Music developed a new kind of exclusive and started building rosters of endorsed artists. DSPs changed the way awards were given, gave independent artists the ability to market themselves without a label-slanted deal, and gave music to the masses over the last decade.

02. The loss of Avicii

The wind was taken out of everyone’s sails on April 20, 2018 when we lost Avicii at just 28 years old. Receiving the news was a moment most dance music fans can’t forget. Perhaps because before that we didn’t have a Kurt Cobain or an Amy Winehouse. No Jimi Hendrix or Jim Morrison. No Prince. Avicii’s death was about dealing with the loss of an icon whose music is emblematic of dance music’s ascent from the historic underground and to the mainstream. Avicii had been public about the struggles he faced with touring and the lifestyle that came with being a DJ. His documentary exposed many issues that artists face, such as being pushed past mental and physical limits with press, travel, and touring alongside addiction issues. When Avicii died, the industry was forced to prioritize artists’ mental and physical health like it had neglected to do before. We didn’t just lose a superstar DJ that day, we lost an industry trailblazer, and the head of a movement. —Farrell Sweeney

Dancing Astronaut’s BIG 100—Top 25 EDM Moments of the DecadeAvicii
Photo by Sean Eriksson

01. Daft Punk return with Random Access Memories

Daft Punk‘s return in 2013 was special, not only because the legendary French Androids had delivered their first LP in eight years with Random Access Memories, but because the album was legitimizing for electronic dance music in many ways. It came at the front half of EDM’s global boom, proving to the world that electronic dance music wasn’t just millennial festival fodder with Nile Rodgers, Pharrell Williams, and Giorgio Morodor in tow. The record masterfully presented intelligent, disco-inspired sounds in with an incredibly fresh, modern perspective to audiences who were still trying to figure out if mainstream electronic music was…well, legit.

Random Access Memories would remind everyone who the genre’s omniscient godfathers were, net the duo four Grammy Awards along the way, help guide vinyl’s resurgence selling the most units of the decade, and cement Daft Punk’s legacy all over again. Most of us have more than one fond memory with RAM, it largely informed the decade, and even if it proved to be Daft Punk’s last work, it might go down as the duo’s opus.

Dancing Astronaut’s BIG 100—Top 25 EDM Moments of the DecadeDaft Punk Photo Credit Olivier Zahm

Marc Benjamin Revives Classic 90’s Anthem Into End Of The Year Delight

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Dutch DJ/producer Marc Benjamin is back with his brand new single ‘All The Time’, giving a classic Eiffel 65 song an impressive tweak. It’s resulted in an incredibly polished slice of dance-pop, fusing melodic tones to create this winter’s next dancefloor anthem, officially out now on Spinnin’ Records. Marc Benjamin has consistently delivered the heat

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Velvet Code Delivers Powerful Interview About Music And Beyond

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VELVET CODE (real name Marlon Wurmitzer) is a Canadian electropop artist, DJ, and producer based in Toronto. As a songwriter and music producer, Velvet Code’s influences include Madonna, Freddie Mercury, Robyn, and Muse. His music can be described as a modern take on 1980’s pop with heavy influences of electropop and EDM. Dreamer is Velvet

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New EDM Release Radar | December 20th | WTF Is Coming Out Friday?

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With Christmas & New Years next week, this is usually when the releases start to slow down in the music world. The list isn’t huge, but check out our New EDM Release Radar for December 20th, and have a Happy Holidays! Singles AFSHEEN – Dancing With You Alle Farben – As Far As Feelings Go

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JAUZ Creates Live VR Concert Experience For His Dangerous Waters Debut Performance January 8th

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Esteemed DJ and producer JAUZ teams up with entertainment technology company, Wave, to bring fans around the world into a kick-off show for the artist’s major headlining tour, ‘Dangerous Waters.’ Taking place on January 8th from Wave Studio in LA, fans will get a wild, otherworldly preview of JAUZ’s tour and experience his new EP for

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StayLoose & Last Heroes Push Forward on “Won’t Look Back” Featuring Soundr

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Inspiring listeners everywhere to push forward in their lives, StayLoose and Last Heroes team up on uplifting single “Won’t Look Back,” featuring Soundr. Boasting over 100 million career streams to date and releases on Dim Mak, Casablanca/Republic Records, Atlantic Records and Trap Nation, Denver producer Ross Ryan, better known by his stage name StayLoose, is an artist dedicated to pushing boundaries and

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