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EDM’s Secret Artists: Annoying Distraction Or Brilliant PR Move?

Marshmello Turk Photos DJ

Every music fan has a group of artists, or specific genre-stylings, that speaks to them in a different way than the rest. We feel a connection, either with the artist or their songs, that transcends the relationships we have with the rest of the music community. Many of these fan-favorites in dance music are easily named and well-known, such as Armin van Buuren, Tiësto, Skrillex, and more. But, a trend that’s been around music for some time, is making our favorites harder to really know.

There are many ways to grow your brand and spread your name as an artist, especially in dance music. Young acts are signed to major (and smaller) labels, collab with well-known names, feature on mixes, and much more in hopes of building their fan-base. While these are all obvious steps up the EDM industry ladder, some artists are taking another route entirely.

Acts like Bear Grillz, ℧Z, Marshmello, and more are keeping their personal information a secret, choosing not to reveal who exactly the creator of the music is. Although, even knowing that much doesn’t always reveal each of the artists responsible for a song. These artists are touring the globe, performing at major festivals, and gaining popularity and notoriety at an impressive rate. All while keeping their personal information private. There’s something about an artist who, although the music would seemingly be the same, chooses to hide their identity that spurs interest unlike anything else in the industry.

A deeper look into these aliases shows a variety of positive reasons for taking on such a project. Artists who feel boxed-in by genre definitions, or want to try new things without potentially incurring the wrath of the EDM Genre Snobs, suddenly have a platform where those fears aren’t necessary. Wiping away all of the preconceived stigmas of being a ‘true trance DJ’ or an artist who ‘only does dubstep’ is a great way to force listeners to focus on the music, at least initially.

Projects like these could also be useful for ghost producers. Those artists who’d rather not DJ, or want to stay out of the limelight, can, while also attempting to capitalize on all of the ways an artist can currently earn income in EDM. Whether they want to work with another artist, potentially someone who prefers DJing to producing, or take on the task themselves, becoming ‘nobody’ is a great way for all of those ghosts in dance music to become a bit more real.

Several artists could also conceivably work together under one name, taking turns producing songs, collaborating, and touring. Of course, this would take a ton of effort and team-work, as the schedules of many artists and DJs are absolutely insane. With the internet, anything is possible, and if the project will sell-out shows as fast as Marshmello’s current tour is now, then we’re sure someone is already on it.

There has to be more to it than building fan-bases and selling-out shows though, right? We’d like to think that the music always speaks for itself, and that were any of these secret artists releasing the same music under their legal name, they’d have a similar amount of notoriety.

Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. Despite the multitude of ways for artists to get their music out to the public, many still find themselves obstructed by biases, both in the industry and broader EDM community.  If it takes dressing up like a bear, or marshmallow-person, for someone to finally get the attention they may or may not deserve, then we say go for it.

In the end, we want whatever gets the music out. The worst songs out there are the ones we haven’t heard yet, and if it takes secret identities and cartoonish aliases to get the music of the countless incredible artists around the world, then so be it.

Let us know what you think of the popularity of these secret acts, and if you think they’re a fun way to experience the music we love, or an annoying and unnecessary PR move. Comment below, on Facebook, or reply on Twitter!

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Born and raised in the Northwest, professionalized in Pullman. Enjoying the ride that dance music provides in our lovely corner of the country.

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