If 2011 was the year that people discovered that guys like Skrillex and Deadmau5 had thriving fanbases, 2012 was the year that the music industry started creating opportunities to cash in on EDM. You've got Evolution 101.7 bringing EDM to terrestrial radio in Boston, Live Nation buying HARD, and Ludacris calling on David Guetta to produce a track for his album. The sounds of dubstep have featured in commercials before, but there aren't too many precedents of guys like Skrillex making cameos in animated Disney movies, or DJs like Tiesto collaborating on clothing with GUESS. America is the land of opportunity, and you have to strike while the iron is hot, even with a supposedly “underground” genre. The question is: How much is too much?
Our short answer? Get used to it. This isn't the Electronica era of the mid-'90s. Back then, acts like Daft Punk, The Prodigy, the Chemical Brothers, and others began making waves in American mainstream culture, but the circumstances were quite different. Back then people actually bought albums, singles, and DVDs...and any and all merchandise they could find. Nowadays, while we don't want to say that album sales are unimportant (you can look at Zedd and Calvin Harris as current examples of people still buying music), heavy retail numbers aren’t as crucial to big time success. Skrillex won three Grammys in 2012, including a Best Dance/Electronic Album Grammy - and his Bangarang EP is currently nominated in that category again this year - and he's yet to put out his official debut album. Steve Aoki, among others, has gone on record as saying "the great thing about the dance/EDM world is it's not like you need an album every year. You just have to release a few songs that translate to a global audience. And that’s why some of the best, most popular DJs don’t even have an album out."
Fans these days want to buy into a movement. This is why a guy like Deadmau5, who actively engages his fanbase with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Ustream, is in a better position that some of the other producers out there. Even before the "EDM boom" of the past year, you could walk into Target and grab merchandise with his "mau5head" logo as easily as you could find Coca-Cola tees. Diplo's Mad Decent Block Party started out as a smaller event in Philadelphia that over four years time grew into a massive, five-city festival, with Heineken, Red Bull, and Puma signed on as sponsors. You should expect to see more popular DJs getting thrown into the mainstream mix, either by partnering with established brands or creating brands that speak directly to the youth in the culture.