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What does the Association for Electronic Music DO?

00:00 Nov/30/1999

If you read about the 'What' and the 'Who' of  AFEM, you will know that the lobbying organization for electronic music is the brainchild of Ben Turner and Kurosh Nasseri. The future activities of this non-profit company, however, are yet to be disclosed. So, what is the advocacy of EDM going to do?

Kurosh Nasseri says: “It is time for the many companies and individuals involved in our business to speak with a unified voice to represent the genre and to address the issues. And that is the mission of the Association for Electronic Music.“

One might argue, that electronic music is booming as it is. What is the point of forming an organization to ensure the recognition of a genre that has already established itself as a thriving cultural movement?

According to Ben Turner, that is exactly why we need this union:

"These are extraordinary times for electronic music. We have seen it break through into the mainstream in the US and become the backbone of modern pop music. Yet despite such success, it feels like there is an even bigger need for an Association for Electronic Music to exist and speak with one voice. Now that our time is here, it is essential we take the opportunity and develop the long-term infrastructure that it needs to flourish. The initial team we have assembled was easy to identify: people who really care about where this genre goes, and how it gets there. It is a future alliance for future music."

So, AFEM is about forming an alliance to have an unified voice representing the genre. And what are the areas where this unified voice should be raised?

Turner explains: „The BRIT awards used to carry a dance category but they dropped it because media fell out of love with dance music. There was no-one to stop them doing that, or at least have a conversation with [the BRITs]. It’s important now that we come together to create a voice.“

He adds: "It was a major achievement to get Deadmau5 on the GRAMMYs show, but then the performance was out in a parking lot on the street, it wasn’t embraced on the stage. That’s an example of something we could be talking about."

This would be the place where AFEM would step in, and protect its status as a legitimate genre. Another project they’ve announced is the assessment of how valuable electronic dance music really is. The reports, that EDM brought in 4 billion bucks last year, are misconceived in their opinion. So, they will do extensive research to try to put together a more accurate number.

In addition, AFEM would stand for safety measures at festivals, clubs and stadiums. They would take it as their matter to prevent horrific events like those in Madrid and Brazil in the recent past.

Turner has also stated that the activities must be global, not local, thus striking a balance between underground and mainstream. He claims that the reception among DJs has been great so far:“I’ve had emails from major DJs saying 'thank you for doing this'. The reaction we’ve had is nothing but 'this is welcome.“

Well, the objectives of AFEM are certainly noble and ambitious. However, one must ponder whether the effects of this unification will be positive or negative? Isn’t it so, that every time an alliance is born, new rules will be implemented? Of course, regulations and supervision of safety measures will be welcomed by everyone. But the thing about electronic music, which exceeds the mainstream EDM movement, is that – it has always been free. Everybody’s got a chance to make it, because the internet and modern technology make it relatively easy and cheap to create electronic music. If, however, in order to get recognized as a legitimate act, you must buy a membership at a non-profit organization – the whole point of this open-minded and equal opportunities cultivating way of life will go missing. With the emergence of social media, the independent producer just got free from the yoke of major record companies, let’s just hope this is an organization that will further this freedom, not hinder it!

An opinion story about AFEM coming soon..


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