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Music Predictions: EDM’s Inaugural Awards Show

Trevor Dueck

by Trevor Dueck in Entertainment

Updated Jan 17, 2018 · 9:39 AM PST

EDM, electronic dance music, just continues to rise in popularity. The genre is now firmly in the mainstream and has become a big part of pop culture today. But don’t tell that to the ravers who still think they’re part of an underground scene.

I get it. EDM’s popularity is tied to more than just big beats and hypnotic vocals; EDM is about love, acceptance, and togetherness while remaining anti-establishment.

Once confined to dark and dingy warehouses, instead of dancing in dark and dingy warehouses, Millennials now pump out electronic jams on their smartphones and spend massive amounts of money travelling to large-scale EDM festivals the world over.

Need more proof that EDM is in the mainstream. The genre now has its its very own award show.

Paul Oakenfold is considered the godfather of electronic music, and “Goldie” is putting together an awards show to honor some of the great DJs and producers of 2016.

As much as the scene is about love and acceptance, not everyone is loving or accepting the idea of an awards show. There has been minimal enthusiasm from the fanbase about EDM music being put on a podium and given little golden statues. To the detractors, the music isn’t supposed to be about glitz and glamor; EDM is a global movement, not some corporate schmooze fest.

The biggest critique of the inaugural event is that it doesn’t actually cover the subgenres of electronica (e.g. dubstep, techno, ambient) and is far too focused on pop-friendly EDM.

But the first-ever Electronic Music Awards & Foundation Show (“EMAF”) will be coming your way, nonetheless, at some point. It was originally scheduled to air as an hour-long special on April 23, 2016, but has now been pushed back to a date that’s still TBD. While the ceremony date is uncertain, the nominees are set, and it’s clear that the event will put a spotlight on the biggest stars in electronic music while, at the same time, raising money for various causes. Like other awards shows, there will be full red-carpet coverage, interviews, and of course live performances.

I don’t know whether the show fits within the ethos of EDM. But I do know that some great artists, tracks, and festivals are nominated for awards at the inaugural show. But since Oprah isn’t hosting, not everyone can win, so let’s sort out who’s going to take home EDM’s first ever honors.

 2016 EMAF Award Predictions

Single of the Year

So many great tracks are nominated here, but the obvious winner in my books is “Lean On,” which was the most streamed song in the history of streaming. Yet sometimes the most obvious choice isn’t the one that wins the day. There is a good chance that The Chainsmokers’ “Roses” could steal it. On the snubs side, where is “Took A Pill in Ibiza” by Mike Posner? That’s a miss.

  • Major Lazer & DJ Snake – “Lean On (feat. MØ)”
  • Calvin Harris & Disciples – “How Deep is Your Love”
  • The Chainsmokers – “Roses (feat. ROZES)”
  • Galantis – “Runaway (U & I)”
  • Kygo – “Stole the Show (feat. Parson James)”

Predicted Winner:  Major Lazer & DJ Snake – Lean On (feat. MØ)

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Album of the Year

This is a tough one to call. Everyone loves Calvin Harris. And no one should sleep on Galantis’ Pharmacy. But I’ll go with an album that critics are hailing as one of the best of the year, Jamie xx’s In Colour, fully acknowledging that my personal biases are coming into play.

  • AlinaBaraz & Galimatias – Urban Flora
  • Calvin Harris – Motion
  • Disclosure – Caracal

  • Galantis – Pharmacy

  • Jamie xx – In Colour 

Predicted Winner: Jamie xx – In Colour

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Radio Show of the Year

This is so arbitrary and comes down to personal choice. I wouldn’t be surprised to see BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix take this award as it has been the big beacon of EDM for many years now. But BPM with Geronimo on Sirius XM has also become an electro-radio staple.

There’s another notable snub in this category. Where is Armin Van Burren’s A State of Trance? Armin’s show is why so many DJs now have radio shows or podcasts of their own today.

  • BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix
  • BPM with Geronimo – Sirius XM
  • Danny Howard – BBC Radio 1’s Dance Anthems
  • Diplo and Friends – BBC Radio 1Xtra
  • Jason Bentley – Morning Becomes Eclectic – KCRW

Predicted Winner: BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix

Festival of the Year

More snubs! Where’s Tomorrowland? The biggest EDM festival doesn’t make the list? If we are going to ignore the Super Bowl of EDM, then, in my opinion, it’s a two-horse race between Electric Daisy Carnival and Ultra Music Festival. However, remember that this is Paul Oakenfold’s circus and Creamfields is also his baby, so there could be some favoritism, conscious or otherwise. Or maybe it will swing the other way in order to keep the first-ever show somewhat credible.

  • Creamfields – Daresbury, England
  • Electric Daisy Carnival – Las Vegas, USA
  • Sonar – Barcelona, Spain
  • The BPM Festival – Playa del Carmen, Mexico
  • Ultra Music Festival – Miami, USA

Predicted Winner: Electric Daisy Carnival

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DJ of the Year

As you’ll see from the list below, the nominees here are basically the biggest names in the genre. As much as guys like Skrillex and Diplo had huge years, Carl Cox just finished his final set at the legendary Space in Ibiza and has stated that he is going to spin his way into quasi-retirement. This isn’t ostensibly a Lifetime Achievement award, but Cox has had a pretty good couple of years, especially in 2016, and some may want to honor the dance pioneer.

  • Carl Cox
  • Diplo
  • Dixon
  • DJ Harvey
  • Skrillex

Predicted Winner: Carl Cox


Best New Artist

This seems like an easy pick; DJ Snake has had a huge couple of years! He has had some serious radio success with tracks like “Lean On,” “Middle,” “You Know You Like It,” “Let Me Love You”. No disrespect to the other great DJs in this category, they all have bright futures, but this has to go to Snake. Plus anyone with the name Snake wins every time for me.

  • Bob Moses
  • DJ Snake
  • Jauz
  • Kygo

Predicted Winner: DJ Snake

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Best Club of the Year

This is the award I have the worst grasp on. I was tempted to go with the prettiest name, like I do at the horse track. Instead, I did some actual digging. (Work is so overrated.) Many think Amnesia in Ibiza is one of the top clubs in the world. Their Paris Hilton foam and diamond parties have attracted the young EDM loving Millennials, but it’s actually the music that makes this massive club standout. That said, clubs like Omnia and even Zouk KL have legions of devoted followers, as well, and could steal this. Why? I don’t remember. I have Amnesia.

  • Amnesia
  • Fabric
  • Omnia
  • Sound LA
  • Zouk

Predicted Winner: Amnesia

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Feature Photo Credit: By LilRockit (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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