The difference between Underground and Mainstream EDM Dance Music

While both underground music and EDM (Electronic Dance Music) fall under the broader umbrella of electronic music, they have some key differences in terms of popularity, production, focus, and overall scene:


  • Underground: Less mainstream, smaller dedicated following, often found in niche communities.
  • EDM: More mainstream, larger audience, plays at major festivals and clubs with broader appeal.


  • Underground: More experimental, often focused on pushing boundaries and exploring new sounds, often produced by independent artists or small labels.
  • EDM: Generally more polished and accessible, often incorporates elements of popular music and caters to a wider audience, often produced by bigger labels or major artists.



These are generalizations, and there are always exceptions:

  • Some underground artists may achieve mainstream success, blurring the lines between the two scenes.
  • Some EDM artists may still focus on pushing boundaries and creating innovative music. Skrillex, Fred again, etc.

Ultimately, the lines are blurring and the best way to understand the difference is to explore all scenes and see which music resonates with you more. Both offer unique experiences and contribute to the richness and diversity of electronic music.

Dive Down the Rabbit Hole

The world of electronic music pulsates with vibrant energy, but within its electrifying beats lie two distinct scenes: underground dance music and EDM (Electronic Dance Music). While both share the DNA of thumping rhythms and infectious melodies, they diverge in their approach to sound, scene, and spirit. So, let’s grab our metaphorical glowsticks and delve into the differences!

Popularity Parade: Imagine a dimly lit, intimate club packed with dedicated dancers versus a stadium erupting with thousands swaying under the lights. That’s the essence of their popularity spectrum. Underground scenes boast a smaller, fiercely devoted following, thriving in niche communities. EDM, on the other hand, commands a larger audience, captivating crowds at major festivals and clubs with its broader appeal.

Production Prowess: Think experimental sonic laboratories versus polished pop playgrounds. Underground music prioritizes pushing boundaries, exploring uncharted sonic territories, and often carries the fingerprints of independent artists and small labels. EDM tends towards a more refined, accessible sound, incorporating elements of popular music and catering to a wider audience, often produced by bigger players in the industry.

Focus Flashlight: What’s the guiding light? For underground scenes, it’s the music itself, the raw energy of the dance floor, and a strong sense of community. Artistic expression and experimentation reign supreme. EDM, however, shines a spotlight on spectacle, performance, and entertainment. Think dazzling visuals, elaborate production value, and larger-than-life experiences.

Scene Switcheroo: Cozy basements and warehouse parties pulsating with a shared passion versus sprawling arenas and festivals brimming with diverse energies. Underground scenes foster a tight-knit community, often characterized by a shared sense of values and belonging. EDM, while still fostering a sense of collective joy, attracts a wider range of interests and can sometimes have a more commercialized atmosphere.

Remember: These are just guiding lights, not strict boundaries. Some underground artists crossover into mainstream success, while some EDM artists retain a spirit of pushing boundaries. The key is to explore both, let the music move you, and discover what resonates with your soul. Both scenes offer unique experiences and contribute to the vibrant tapestry of electronic music. So, put on your dancing shoes, embrace the beat, and see where the music takes you!

Read: Ultra Music Festival 2023: What Does ‘Underground’ Even Mean Anymore?

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