Electronic Music Hall of Fame Inductees

Harleysville’s small warehouse off Route 63 boasts one of the world’s finest collections of vintage electronic music gear, such as amps, guitar pedals and mixing boards.

This year’s class of inductees began their careers in genres already represented in the Hall – Japan started out in glam rock; Eurythmics in punk; Kraftwerk in kosmische Musik (which incorporates elements of prog rock); while Suzanne Ciani started off in classical.

What is EDM?

EDM stands for Electronic Dance Music, and is a vast genre-spanning term encompassing various subgenres of dance music produced electronically (whether computerized or using hardware synths/drum machines) for the dancefloor – including everything from house to dubstep!

At first, EDM (Electronic Dance Music) was intended to distinguish dance and club music from mainstream pop/rock/R&B being played in clubs and on radio stations. Over time however, genre lines became increasingly blurry as mainstream artists started borrowing elements of underground techno, acid house, rave music from underground techno scene before mixing these influences into their top 40 hits; often giving birth to songs that sounded similar to big room house or hybrid trap genres but were sold under EDM label.

Now more than ever, EDM music has such a vast spectrum of subgenres that it can be difficult to keep up. Of all the various subgenres out there, future bass, big room house and hybrid trap are likely the most well-known genres; you can expect these tracks at major festivals and clubs around the world; they were pioneered by Hardwell, Skrillex and Diplo.

People often form communities around certain genres, using it as an excuse to meet like-minded individuals and attend local events. There are even online communities dedicated to specific genres like EDM. While not everyone may like EDM, its growing popularity shows there are plenty of people out there who will always love this form of music – worth giving it a listen if it hasn’t already!


EDM can be traced back to its inception in the 1970s, when drum machines and synthesizers became more widely used. One of the earliest examples was Donna Summer’s 1977 disco hit “I Feel Love”, featuring Roland TR 707 rhythm machine playing an electronic keyboard melody – this marked an important milestone in music as it allowed synthesizers to replace drummers in dance songs; this then opened up opportunities for artists like Kevin Saunderson of Funk and Dance artist Kevin Saunderson as well as Detroit techno pioneers Juan Atkins and Derrick May to produce dance tracks using synthesizers alone.

Synthesizers also began making their mark in rock music at this time, with The Beatles adopting synthesizers for songs such as ‘Being For the Benefit of Mr Kite’ and ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’. Later on, The Alan Parsons Project would create the first rock track featuring digital vocoder technology: ‘The Raven’.

In the 1980s, electro music emerged as a new genre of dance music that utilized beatboxes and sampling technology to produce rhythmic beats that could be programmed on computers. Hip hop producer Afrika Bambaata released his album Planet Rock which heavily utilized Roland TR-808 drum machines.

Electro’s popularity propelled a wide array of producers into prominence, such as French musician Jean-Michel Jarre, known for iconic albums such as Oxygene and Equinoxe. New Order, formed from Joy Division, rose to fame and achieved immense success with their 1983 single Blue Monday, one of the best-selling 12″ singles ever sold.


EDM covers many subgenres of music. Ambient music emphasizes atmosphere over traditional rhythms, using delicate synthesizer timbres and textures to create a soothing ambiance, perfect for sleeping or relaxation. Ambient Industrial expands this concept further with low-frequency rumbles and machine noises as well as gongs, bullroarers and distorted voices for an industrial edge.

Drum and bass music is another wildly popular genre, often with harder elements than house music and drawing influence from hard techno. Moombahton is an emerging style combining reggae with house music – artists such as Skrillex and Diplo have popularized this style through their performances.

Trance music is another widely enjoyed genre that ranges from soft trance to hard trance, and all forms in between. Mellow trance refers to more relaxing forms while more upbeat songs may include vocals or have lyrics as part of their repertoire.

Some EDM artists create tracks with more atmospheric and experimental qualities than others, including ambient music – popularized by musician Brian Eno – which features synthesizer timbres and melodies to provide a relaxing environment for either passive listening or active dancing. Ambient dub builds upon this tradition by adding echo effects, equalizations effects and dropout effects for added psychedelic sounds.

There are genres that break the rules of EDM by including lyrics with more frequency than usual, such as Grime and Trap, while House, Trance and Liquid Drum may use vocals but only briefly or with minor lyrics.


Although many tracks that could be classified as EDM are excluded from induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, others could make the cut. When choosing new inductees, many factors are taken into consideration such as an artist’s career length and breadth of work; traditionally however, the hall has honored musicians from specific stylistic subgenres; it has also welcomed musicians from genres outside these subgenres provided they were considered influential on them.

Musicians of varying musical backgrounds and genres have been honored with induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, from funk icons like The Dolls to R&B legend Chaka Khan. However, those involved with electronic music often find it harder to gain entry due to its distinct qualities that differ from what has traditionally been celebrated by this institution.

However, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has nonetheless inducted several artists with electronic backgrounds into its ranks. Pioneering German electronic band Kraftwerk was finally honored this year after years of being passed over by voters. Their influence can be felt across music genres; from hip-hop pioneer Afrika Bambaata’s beat to inspiring Depeche Mode and Gary Numan to name but two examples.

John Coltrane and King Crimson are two more noteworthy acts, both well-known jazz artist John Coltrane and noise rock icons King Crimson are well-known for their experimental sounds which has had an influence on bands such as My Bloody Valentine and Foo Fighters.


EDM Inductions are determined on merit and recognition for artists that have had a major impact on dance music industry. Recipients will be honored for their contribution, such as producers, artists, DJ’s or promoters and will receive an award at an international ceremony.

Up until recently, music halls of fame rarely included electronic dance music as one of their categories of honor. But now that this genre has become so widely beloved among young people across the world, more music halls of fame are honoring its artists by including this subgenre within their categories of honor.

An EDM Hall of Fame may still be under construction, yet a number of tracks have already become fan favorites and received high marks by music critics despite not yet receiving official recognition.

One notable example is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which has honored an array of musical artists who are not exclusively tied to rock genre. This has included Run-D.M.C and Beastie Boys from hip hop music as well as Compton group N.W.A from Compton. However, the RHRH still does not officially recognize electronic music genre.

Songwriters Hall of Fame takes an equally commendable stance, honoring and preserving the legacy of great songwriters who have contributed to global culture while nurturing new talent through Master Sessions, workshops, showcases and scholarships. Established as a not-for-profit entity in 1997 and issuing its inaugural induction certificate for early rockabilly singer Gene Vincent as its inaugural recipient.