Where is the Black DJ Making Millions in EDM Music?


Radio Facts – Originally posted on August 19, 2015. In my entire history of working in the music industry, I have never met Jimmy Iovine. While I’m sure I’ve been in the same room with him on occasion the music industry has always been very segregated, contrary to popular belief. Black industry people, white industry people, Spanish industry people, country industry people etc. Looks like we can now add EDM to that list. We all seem to migrate, as per society, into the circles we feel most comfortable in even though black music (R&B and Hip-Hop) is the only genre of music that has transcended across all industry circles, formats and performers from all races and cultures.

In a recent interview with WIRED, Iovine  made some very interesting points about today’s music saying today’s tech companies that make music are “Culturally Inept” and the process is hurting the music industry, perhaps even putting the industry in dire straits… and I agree. One genre of music I absolutely don’t understand or appreciate is edm. I just did a podcast with an edm artist who is an anomaly because he is and edm artist AND he is black. His name is Jay Salter. In the Radio Facts Podcast that will be up this Friday, I asked him what kind of reception he received when he entered the mostly white and computer based tech music industry and he told me to a certain extent he did have to prove himself to show that he understood the music but that he has had success in at the same time with his single “Angel of Mine.”

I personally think edm is the most annoying music I’ve ever heard and it gives me a headache, it’s like someone took TRUE House music from Chicago and New York and stripped the soul and the rhythm from it and left you with the bare Treble bones then amplified that into a nerve wrecking concoction of just pure NOISE (lol).  It’s technology that sounds hyper produced and “music” that it seems you would HAVE to be on drugs to enjoy BUT my opinion does not make it law,  I’m not a 19-year-old white college sophomore looking to relieve the stress of attending a prestigious university that my rich parents are paying for so who am I to judge.  I’m older and I like rhythm.

I also asked Salter about the plethora of white DJs who work in edm making millions of dollars by using computers to produce music, I will let you hear his responses to that in the podcast. Nevertheless, I have heard numerous complaints from black DJs who truly understand the craft of DJing by using actual turntables sans technology who want no part of the edm world stating that being an edm DJ is something that anyone can do because the computers do the work for you. On the podcast I also talked to Jackie McGee who has been in the industry for more than 20 years and is most recognizable from her smash hit “Make It Last Forever” (featuring Keith Sweat, I mean Jackie owned that song). She talks about singers over riffing and overusing technology in today’s music as well. I’m open to find a better understanding of edm if someone can explain it.


  1. There are plenty of black and ethnic dance music DJs that make a load of money. American ones like Kerri Chandler, Louie Vega, Dennis Ferrer, Derrick May, Kevin Saunderson to more “EDM” DJs like Carl Cox, Felix da Housecat, Roger Sanchez. Black Coffee from South Africa is a star worldwide and makes a great living as well.

  2. I think the problem is the music itself.It’s too loud,it’s not melodic,the tempos are TOO FAST,it has no emotion,no dynamics (all one tempo and one volume) and it has no soul. I don’t want to listen to it.I don’t think EDM appeals to too many people of African or Carribbean descent.

  3. I work in the music industry in the UK and I can tell you most of the people here do not regard EDM as something worth shouting about.We call it McDonald music.You eat it then feel hungry 5 minutes later.
    EDM from a UK point of view was monster that evolved out of terrible commercial dance music around 2007 (David Guetta etc) created by European DJ’s trying to break the American market and the bastardization of reggae dubstep which evolved into noise brostep(Again thanks to major labels in the US thinking this is what white American kids want). Also at first hip hop artist ran out of money started rapping over these terrible records to pay the bills.Snoop dog to name but a few.Then major labels who had to pay the billed ditched the guitar artists for dance music(EDM) artists and that is where we have been ever since.But years before that many British promoters and club owners tried to create bigger house music events in America with a mixture of British DJ’s like Carl Cox and Norman cook alongside Detroit legends(Trust me in Europe and the rest of the world African American DJ’s are legends especially Jeff Mills in Italy) and underground American DJ’s like Frankie Kncukles, MAW,Kevin Saunderson,Derrick May etc.
    All this talent was coming to Europe and none of us knew why American kids did not like it.Today I understand USA segregation I get why EDM works.The rock and roll journalists didn’t want to sell this music with,gay,black and latino roots back to Americans of European ancestry since they wanted something molded in their image.The issues around hedonism.LSD and setting your self free ran against conservative American kids who would only go to these EDM gigs if they were safe and mostly American Europeans instead of Latino or African Americans.So I feel your asking the wrong question.
    EDM is already a bad word in Europe and the UK and you’ll be lucky to get a booking at a wedding if you play this stuff over here.We want to be cool just like Jazz,soul,funk,reggae and blues was cool.
    Europe borrows heavily from Americans of African decent and latino communities(See the Beatles or the rolling stones) because we do not have the same segregation and socio economic issues America has.The sad thing is all Europeans find it sad white Americans will have nothing to do with legends on their door step in African American or latino communities but since trump won its clear America was never a land for everyone.
    But there is a large movement in the UK of all people with different skin tones that will never allow rock journalists to whitewash true house music for EDM.

  4. Excellent comments, but edm is love music,music to have fun too,,fist pumping fun,,, close to other humans,,edm is only in its infant stages!!

  5. Add me (Nicoli Telemaque) to your list of Black EDM Song writers and producers breaking into the EDM from the our production group called SNFNY and our label BackToTheBassKick. Actually, our first single is released tomorrow on 11/11/19. We have a unique R&B Dance, Funk, Future House and distinctive EDM sound that definitely doesn’t give you a headache lol. Check it our when you get a chance:beatport.com/release/cant-stop/2749333


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here