Dear Rocks Off:
Have you heard about this EDM reality show that some TV producers are trying to put together? I heard about it online but when I told my friends I wanted to enter they told me it was a really bad idea. I bet they're just being haters, but before I fill out this application can you tell me why everyone is so upset about this? Write Back Soon!, Anonymous DJ (Not my actual DJ name.)
Well ADJ, this is a simple question with a complicated answer, so maybe we should hit the facts first.
This is what we know: Popular Productions has put up a website, simply titled EDM Casting, seeking producer/DJs for an upcoming reality/competition show. If Popular Productions doesn't mean anything to you, all you need to know is their production credits include Viral Video Showdown, My Strange Addiction, and Jersey Shore.
That last credit is where, for many, the bulk of the concern comes from. To get a better understanding of where they're coming from, allow me to tell you a cautionary tale about a man named Pauly D.
Once upon a time, in a magical land known as Rhode Island, a man named Pauly D was born. Although he was a DJ from Rhode Island, he magically ended up on a television show called Jersey Shore, which was loved by a lot of people and hated by just as many.
The show made him famous, so famous that he made $11 million last year, enough to put him on Forbes highest-paid DJs list. Safe to say he's primed to live happily ever after.
But like all fairy tales, there's a dark side to this story, one that can be summed up in one simple word: credibility.
The main difference between Pauly D and the other nine producers on the top 10 list is not the fact that he's a reality-show star. What truly separates him from all the others is the fact that he is the only one without a hit song. In fact, far as we can tell he's got a grand total of three songs to his name.
So if the crowds are coming out because they want to see that dude that's usually inside their TV box instead of hearing his righteous jams, what does that say about how his audience views his music? It's simple: They don't care.
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And that's fine. Living off your short-term fame is a fine hustle, one that's as old as time itself. But don't think this is going to be your launch pad to the world of being best buddies with your favorite DJs. In fact, a lot of people are upset about this, but here's my favorite tweet on the subject, courtesy of Porter Robinson:
whoever wins this "edm reality competition" (barf) will be so soundly rejected by the dance community that they won't get booked anyway.
— porter robinson (@porterrobinson) January 2, 2013
Do a search for "EDM Casting" on Twitter and you'll see dozens of similar tweets from DJs and fans of the genre. Some are even going full Chicken Little on the subject, wondering aloud if this will be the death of EDM.
Now, I can already hear the question forming in your mouth hole: "Doesn't Kelly Clarkson disprove your theory? She was on a reality show and people love her!"
Let me take you back to 2002. American Idol debuted on June 11 of that year. The iPod and iTunes were less than two years old and the iPhone was still years away. YouTube, Soundcloud, and Beatport didn't exist yet. When Kelly Clarkson won Idol the way we consumed media was completely different.
In truth, it's easier than ever to have your music discovered. You live in a world where a Soundcloud set can turn in to club dates and a viral video can turn in to a record deal. In 2002 talent could go unnoticed; in 2013 you almost have to be actively avoiding attention to not be discovered by someone.
Plus, in 11 seasons of American Idol how many contestants can you name who have had successful careers? Compare that to the number of other people from the show who literally had their face on free TV and had careers that amounted to nothing. If you don't win whatever this EDM competition ends up being called do you really want to be known as the fifth runner-up from that show that the people hated?
Only you can answer the question of whether or not you should apply for the show, but then that's not the question you should be asking. The question really is: Is EDM my passion or just something I want to do to be cool?
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If the answer is the latter then please fill out the application. There are a lot of people out there hoping you get picked so they know to never pay attention to you.