The Marketing Value of the Rave Community 853 words · 5 minute read

The music community with the greatest marketing value isn’t wearing flowery sundresses at Lollapalooza — the music fans with the potential to drive the greatest engagement with your brand are actually the bass heads rushing the gate at EDM fests like Electric Daisy Carnival and Spring Awakening.

Electronic Dance Music fans are doing more than ingesting Molly in a sweaty mob awaiting the bass drop: they’re buying things, interacting with brands, and influencing consumer trends more than any other music community, according to Nielsen.

Brands can tap into that passion to inspire a wellspring behind a new audience of diehard consumers.

Step One: Don’t confuse hardstep with deep house.

More Than Rave Kings & Queens

If you do a Google image search for “EDM Fan,” you’ll discover a fairly homogenous crop of results: college-aged Millennials sporting bro tanks, plastic Ray-Bans, and bandanas tied around their neck (the kids call them Rave Masks). The colors of these articles may change depending on the artist — e.g., black for the Skrillex fans, tie-dyed for David Guetta’s — but most new arrivals to the rave scene assume that all EDM fans are the same: young, on drugs, and in need of a shower.

In reality, EDM fans are much more dynamic (and much less degenerate) than Google’s image search gives them credit. Here’s what industry experts shared about this highly misunderstood demographic at 2016’s EDM Biz Conference in Las Vegas.

These insights might just convince you to wrap up your own Vicks VapoRub rave mask. (Yes, ravers are often caught rubbing Vicks into their bandanas … don’t ask us why.)

  • While 64% of EDM fans are 18-34-year-old Millennials, 27% are 35 or older.
  • They spend 265% more money attending festivals than other music fans.
  • Nearly 40% earn $50,000 - $100,000 a year, and only 15% earn less than $25,000
  • They spend on average 25% more than any other music community
  • They’re more likely than other music fans to buy razors, contraceptives, and hair conditioner, and spend significantly more on men’s toiletries.

Not exactly the same mollied out brat you saw on Google, is it?

As Matt Yazge, Director of Brand Partnerships at Nielsen Music, explained during his panel at EDM Biz Conference, the EDM community is at the forefront of new burgeoning trends.

“The music industry is lagging behind dance music,” Yazge said. “With dance music focusing on a younger audience, dance music is really taking a lead.”

If a brand wants access to this demographic of cultural change agents, they’ll have to prove they can truly drop the bass.

Sharing Kandi

There’s more to understanding EDM fans than just reviewing Complex Magazine’s “Idiot’s Guide to EDM Artists” (c’mon, admit it, “hardstep” threw you off a little, didn’t it?).

Beyond ramping up your presence at festivals like Beyond Wonderland and TomorrowWorld, there’s plenty of ways to share your proverbial kandi bracelet with this influential music community. From incorporating the EDM culture into the script of your content to syncing authentic producers’ tracks, it all begins with understanding the needs of your story and the passions of your audience.

For example, when video production team Original Six Media created its reel, they sought a high-energy sound that would complement the passion of the various scenes. Including everything from sunny lakeside shots to dark EDM edits, Original Six was using several different angles to tell one cohesive story in its demo reel.

The heavy drum and bass of “The Quick and the Dead” by EDM artist Rudebrat guides the viewer through the reel and ties the scenes together with its leading synth melody.

There’s more to EDM than just blown eardrums. Its specific sounds and cultural cachet can drive surprising results for your storytelling needs.

Rules of the Rave? Buddy System

OK, even though we poked fun at you for looking up that “Idiot’s Guide to EDM Artists,” it’s actually smart to brush up on the specifics of this broad genre.

There’s all sorts of different types of EDM. From dark step to hard house, acid trance to electro swing, the sonic palette of electronic dance music is as diverse as it is underestimated. If you’re not familiarized with that culture, then that diversity can lead to a very cluttered music library.

That clutter intensifies sevenfold by the advent of the “dorm room producer”: unexperienced musicians who acquired recording equipment cheap and upload low-quality beats to the web quickly and easily.

All in all, we’re telling you that your EDM experience will probably suck on your own — especially if you’re looking for quality music that you can actually afford to license.

First of all, don’t do another Google Search, (because trust us, all that royalty free music you’ll find is exactly the kind of dorm room muck we were talking about). Your audience wants authentic EDM music, not more bad songs that just sound like another talentless trust fund kid’s bullshit beats.

Remember, EDM fans are spending 265% more money attendees festivals than any other music community — inauthentic, low-quality music is not the way to woo their wub.

A few EDM tunes for your listening enjoyment: