Tim Bergling, the Swedish DJ and music producer known as Avicii, was found dead of an apparent suicide last month in Oman. He was 28.
Bergling was discovered by music promoters ten years ago after releasing tracks he’d produced in his bedroom onto the internet. The music was very much within the genre of European-style nightclub music and adjacent to underground rave culture. After Avicii’s hit “Levels” was released in 2011, large American speculators were hard at work commercializing the genre as “Electronic Dance Music.” In 2012, one company spent $1 billion to buy up American nightclubs, festivals, and rights to promote EDM stateside. Avicii was reported to make close to a half million dollars per concert before retiring for health concerns in 2016.
The underground rave culture of Europe has come out into the open air in places like at the Ultra Music Festival in Miami, Coachella in California, and Spring Awakening in Chicago. As far as the music thematically deals with carefree joy, the culture of EDM is also wrapped up with alcohol and drug abuse. To discuss, we’re joined by Alexandra Blair, editor in chief of Dancing Astronaut, a dance-music news publication.