Opinion Piece: SoundCloud Scene Goes Live.
The history of bedroom-producers-turned-electronic-music-stars is longstanding. But never before have we seen the proliferation of SoundCloud-based producers going from the basement or bedroom to the main stage like we did in 2016. In fact, this year could well be an inflection point in the trend of URL to IRL – especially because, if the last 12 months have served as any indication, this is just the beginning.
Los Angeles-based party throwers and event producers Brownies & Lemonade (“B&L”) embody all that which defines this new musical era: At their events, it’s all about the music – artists who previously couldn’t get booked are now becoming the stars of the show, and counter-mainstream-culture youth are leading a movement to bring the online to the live.
B&L, led by co-founder “Kush,” started from humble beginnings a few years back, but the organization has now emerged as one of the premiere show curators in the region, and undoubtedly the number one live outlet for the continually growing SoundCloud scene.
To SoundCloud junkies who will recognize most if not all of the following names, the number of acts B&L has debuted in LA is nothing short of staggering: Ryan Hemsworth, Y2K, Jai Wolf, Manila Killa, Oshi, Ekali, Sam Gellaitry, Ramzoid, Alexander Lewis, KRANE, Whethan, Electric Mantis, Louis The Child, Dirty Chocolate, Graves, Pham, Geotheory, Vincent, Sober Rob, Cosmos Midnight – the list goes on.
The NEST HQ minidoc on B&L (below) perfectly captures its essence: Fun, sweaty, high-energy, artist- and community-driven shows (read: parties) curated to perfection.
And while B&L remains rooted in LA, a known mecca for all things SoundCloud related, this intimate live electronic music movement is, more broadly, continuing to expand to the rest of North America – as evidenced by B&L’s upcoming SXSW showcase, for example – and even more unexpected places all over the world (see Skrillex’s boiler room set in Shanghai, for example).
Electronic music is a genre fundamentally rooted in the online, the computerized – just as its name would suggest. So it may come as no surprise that some of its best growth indicators are online-driven:
As of May, 2016, electronic music was the only genre – period – “to have shown significant growth in Google searches since 2009,” and producers/DJs had seen their SoundCloud followings grow by over 35% in just the last 12 months. Financially, the electronic music industry had seen a combined growth rate of a whopping 54% from 2012-2015, and although this has been tempered by slowed current growth, the scene and genre continues to be, in many ways, one that’s in its infancy.
As this movement continues to develop, and electronic music, broadly, continues to appeal to a more mainstream audience (The Chainsmokers, anyone?), more and more of these underground artists will have the opportunity to play shows and venues previously unattainable to them.
And while watered down pop-EDM hybrid acts (also The Chainsmokers, anyone?) may well continue to dominate the mainstream channels, unbridled artistry will continue to shine in other places, and those in this scene with talent will continue to cultivate and grow increasingly live-centric audiences for the foreseeable future.
I think that’s something we can all look forward to.
Show Brownies & Lemonade some love: