Electronic Dance Music, otherwise known as EDM, is a musical genre that emerged in the mid-1980s. From 200-beats-per-minute hardcore, to trance, dubstep and drum and bass, EDM encompasses a wide range of styles tied together by variations of electronic production and all-night dancing.
Its resurgence in popularity during the second half of the 2000s was a strong comeback for EDM — with no real signs of stopping, only evolving. Artists over the last twenty years have encompassed a range of DJs and bands, from the bass-heavy dubstep sounds of Skrillex to supergroup Swedish House Mafia and Canadian sensation Deadmau5.
EDM festivals like the Electric Daisy Carnival now take place around the globe, with some of the biggest names under the EDM musical umbrella travelling to big cities to play for an international fanbase.
Now, the world’s most popular gambling cities — Las Vegas and Macau — are looking to EDM both revive and reinvent their offering.
Party culture over casinos
Las Vegas and Macau have always been tourist hotspots. In 2018, Macau, the gambling capital of Asia, welcomed 35.8 million tourists — an increase of 9.8% over 2017. Home to some of the world’s largest casinos, Macau has broadened its offering after new legislation meant opening the city’s industry to foreign investors. This led to large-scale casino brands taking up space in the city, including the Venetian Macau Casino, the Sands Macau and the Wynn Macau.
Macau’s American counterpart, Las Vegas, has a similar influx of tourists. In 2018, 42.12 million people visited Nevada’s sin city. It is home to the largest casino company in the world by revenue, Las Vegas Sands, and between the downtown core, the Strip and the suburbs is home to an estimated 104 casinos.
But both cities are beginning to face new challenges. The number of quality online casino games, and an increase in mobile device usage, has resulted in many players heading online rather than to land-based gambling destinations. The global online gambling and betting market was valued at 45.8 billion USD in 2017 — a number that is predicted to almost double by 2024, and it’s certainly had an effect on Las Vegas. Casino operators Caesar Entertainment and MGM Resorts International both reported soft numbers in the second quarter of 2017.
There’s been a cultural shift too. Visitors to Las Vegas and Macau have become more interested in the party culture as opposed to gambling. As a result, the numbers of visitors to casinos are dropping.
“The Chinese gamblers who come to Macau don’t really enjoy their time there,” says Paco Chan, director of Pomo & Stone — a Hong Kong-based entertainment and talent booking agency.
“They’re very serious about the gaming side and don’t seem to take advantage of the vast amount of dining, entertainment and leisure options available. From what I see, they just have a bowl of noodles and then go back to the casino.”
He added: “We want Macau to be known for being the party capital of Asia. You can come to Macau for clubbing and partying. Other countries in Asia might have casinos, but we want to really develop the nightlife here so that Macau is one of a kind in this region.”
EDM to the rescue
Macau and Las Vegas are shifting their tactics to encourage new visitors to the city and open up new streams for profit. By encouraging some of the world’s best EDM artists to play at shows and festivals, the cities are opening new opportunities and experiences for tourists — and attracting audiences and fans.
In June 2016, DJ and heiress Paris Hilton headlined Macau’s Studio City’s first summer pool party, after playing for audiences in Ibiza and Las Vegas.
“I know lots of people are going to Macau and talking about it,” said Hilton when interviewed. “I think it’s going to be a new hot spot for sure”.
What’s on in Las Vegas
This summer sees EDM superstar and DJ Skrillex continue his residency at Kaos Nightclub and Kaos Dayclub at Palms Casino Resort. He’ll be playing dates throughout June to September 2019.
Visitors to Las Vegas can also see Grammy-winning American DJ and record producer Diplo play at Wynn Nightlife’s two nightclubs over the summer. His residency has been extended there through 2019.
“The Wynn has been my second home,” said Diplo. “I grew up there as a DJ and I feel like they have created the culture in Vegas around electronic music and parties over the last few years. I’m so excited to be there for two more years and be a part of even crazier and more fun parties as the clubs grow.”
Other EDM-related acts in Las Vegas over the upcoming months include performances from Zedd, Kygo, Martin Garrix and DJ Pauly D.
The Electronic Daisy Carnival is set to be held over a weekend in May 2020, with acts to be announced next year.
Bringing EDM to Macau
Like Las Vegas, the EDM and party scene in Macau continues to grow. A branch of EDM festival Ultra was hosted at the 30,000 sq. ft Club Cubic in Macau in June.
Adam Russakoff, the executive producer of Ultra, hinted at future electronic music events in the region, he feels that electronic music fans in Asia are ready for large-scale events with top-tier talent.