Music News

Live Nation Looks to Cash In on EDM Rage with Identity Festival

About 345,000 electronic dance music fans packed June's Electric Daisy Carnival festival in Las Vegas, 100,000 more than attended last year.

It's an impressive figure, to be sure, dwarfed only by an even bigger number: the millions of disappointed souls who didn't go, forced to be content with merely listening to audio streams, reading blog coverage, or jealously sifting through hundreds of thousands of gleeful tweets from those in attendance.

It's these same disappointed electronica fans who the folks at Live Nation are hoping will snatch up tickets to Identity Festival, a touring EDM extravaganza that will hit 15 cities nationwide, including Phoenix on Sunday, August 19, at Ashley Furniture HomeStore Pavilion.

If it hasn't been made abundantly clear by the genre's strong and steady representation at big-name festivals like Lollapalooza and Coachella, let's state it outright: EDM is big, big business. And it's only looking to get bigger in 2012 and beyond, and industry giant Live Nation wants a chunk.

The tour is the latest move by the concert-promoting giant to grab its slice of the multimillion-dollar electronic music pie. Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino recently was quoted by Billboard as saying that EDM is "the most exciting thing to happen to live music in 20 years" and that the corporation is making many inroads into the scene. Rapino says Live Nation "looks at electronic music as an absolute here-to-stay genre of music."

In the past year, it's formed an EDM-specific division (Live Nation Electronic), bought up British electronica event Creamfields and Dutch festival Sensation, and is backing Kaskade's "Freaks of Nature" tour this summer.

But whatever qualms you might have about Live Nation's attempts to rule the EDM world, you have to admit that its lineup for Identity Festival features an impressive array of performers. Though it isn't as star-studded as Electric Daisy Carnival, Identity has booked a good cross-section of DJs, producers, and electronica artists representing a diverse range of genres.

It includes many cats who pulled sets at this year's editions of both EDC and Coachella, including London drum 'n' bass duo Nero, Netherlands-born duo Bingo Players, and electro-house wizard Porter Robinson.

House music gurus Wolfgang Gartner and Paul van Dyk (recently listed as one of the richest DJs in the world) also are on board, as are hard-style twosome Showtek, remix king Eric Prydz, hipster favorite Le CastleVania, and French electropop producer Madeon.

Naturally, there will also be plenty of dubstep-blasted eardrums at each tour stop, courtesy of bass-loving artists like Datsik, Doctor P., and Excision.

But get used to the earplugs and glow sticks — if Identity Fest demonstrates anything beyond the unusual fashion choices of candy kids, it's that big business is getting in on the action.