To sum up this rather unpredictable and challenging year, I wanted to go with the usual tradition of writing a yearly post… but you know what? I don’t care.
Our schedule has slowed down, focused on reviewing EDM (our modus operandi), while we parted with other colleagues who had other issues and projects, yet staying more or less the same and adhering to our transparency with our musical preferences. I am not worried about EDM Reviewer, despite managing a full-time job and other priorities. This year, although, what made me anxious is the future that lies ahead for EDM in the advent of certain algorithms.
Ignoring NFTs for a second, streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music, plus TikTok‘s AI, have been hotly debated and discussed this year. While we all know these changes have revitalized a stiff market, these algorithms have achieved a godly capacity to prefer specific artists.
Welcome to the algorithm doom loop—Spotify is now recommending track after track that sound almost the same. https://t.co/2ww52Uhpiz
— Ted Gioia (@tedgioia) August 23, 2022
If you don’t follow the algorithm rules, you are dead.
Your music won’t get featured on main playlists, won’t get placed in the Weekly Mixes, and won’t appear in shuffle mode and therefore not reach new audiences. Hell, Spotify just rolled out a feature where the algorithm can add “recommended” songs to my library!
These tools are powerful and I don’t blame their creators, who evidently have built them to efficiently suggest music that caters to users, based on their listening habits. The emerging problem here is that producers are naturally adapting to this evolution by using the following techniques:
And some other tricks for increasing the chances of getting selected and streamed, earning that paycheck.
Algorithms have vastly transformed things, and while I am aware of their positive consequences, I don’t want to get bound to these, like most others who are involved in the EDM business, which is hugely shaped by the trend of standing out with the artist’s story/personality. It is not as easy as it happens with other genres and survival becomes difficult. The people who are gaming the system, however, are making the industry bland as always, with no notable changes except for Phonk or Slap House (thanks to another algorithm from TikTok).
EDM Reviewer will always stand against those fabricated releases that are intended for machines, not listeners. We never liked to be SEO-friendly and grab easy clicks in exchange for quality, and we definitely aren’t changing now.
Our vision for 2023 remains to keep promoting authentic releases.
The follow-up to this article, which will come out next year, is a quick guide for the readers to search for “real EDM” as well.