This past Tuesday night, I attended Alesso’s show at Webster Hall, and as expected, it was an amazing concert with ground rattling beats, vivid visuals, and a passionate crowd that harmonized with the DJ’s epic dance anthems. Even after a day, I was still filled with adrenaline, making it hard to focus at work. After having the chance to reflect on the show, in true UNCVR form, I developed an” outside-the-box” thought.

There’s no doubt that electronic dance music is an obese cash cow, with the top DJs and industry stakeholders raking in absurd amounts of money. Commercial success and influence are at an apex; however until recently, I’m starting to witness how this influence be used for a greater good other than pure party purposes. Dance music has proliferated to a level where it can impact culture, much like hip-hop back in the 80’s and 90’s, and can produce some positive results.

Alesso’s two night stint at Webster Hall actually had a charitable mission, as 100% of the proceeds were donated to Chime for Change, a global initiative launched by Gucci to empower women and girls. Alesso announced on Twitter that each show generated about $50k for the charity, which is commendable feat. At the show, Alesso’s manager, Amy Thomson, gave a brief overview of Chime for Change and spoke about the power of dance music, however, I wonder how much of the crowd actually comprehended it. Alesso, himself, mentioned the charity, but it was against the backdrop “Heroes” blasting over the speakers, so his message was probably overshadowed as people danced and jumped around. I’ll admit that I wasn’t motivated to go see Alesso because it was for charity, and I’m sure 95% of the crowd can say the same, but I’m now aware of Chime for Change. This demonstrates how EDM could be effectively leveraged as a influential platform.

For a music category with so many negative connotations, it’s good to see the big names step up. Tiesto performed at the recent Global Citizen Fest. Kaskade organized a half marathon to raise money for charity. These are some of the most influential figures to the young generation and they’re starting to use their high profiles to do something else that hawk product.


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Rex Pham

Originally from the Bay Area, who then moved to Los Angeles, then out to New York City. NYU Stern MBA c/o 2014. Inspired by the grind of NYC to create something that has value. Lover of all things digital, culture, and brand strategy.

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