The Ultimate Guide to EDM Subgenres: A Comprehensive Look at Electronic Dance Music


Electronic dance music, or EDM, is an umbrella term that encompasses a vast array of musical styles and subgenres. As technology has advanced and musical tastes have evolved, EDM has diversified and expanded, giving rise to numerous distinct styles, each with its unique characteristics and fan base. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the most prominent EDM subgenres, providing a detailed overview of the vast and vibrant world of electronic dance music.


House music originated in the early 1980s in Chicago and is characterized by its repetitive 4/4 beats, synthesized basslines, and soulful, melodic vocals. House music has given birth to numerous subgenres, such as deep house, progressive house, and tech house, each with its distinct sound and characteristics.

Notable House Artists: Frankie Knuckles, Larry Heard, Daft Punk


Trance emerged in the early 1990s, predominantly in Germany and the Netherlands. It is characterized by its fast tempo, typically ranging between 130-150 BPM, repetitive melodic phrases, and uplifting, anthemic breakdowns. Trance has several subgenres, including progressive trance, uplifting trance, and psytrance.

Notable Trance Artists: Armin van Buuren, Paul van Dyk, Tiësto


Techno originated in the mid-1980s in Detroit and is characterized by its repetitive, mechanical beats and minimalistic, industrial soundscapes. Techno has a range of subgenres, including minimal techno, acid techno, and hard techno, each offering a unique take on the genre’s foundational elements.

Notable Techno Artists: Juan Atkins, Derrick May, Carl Cox

Drum and Bass

Drum and bass, also known as DnB, emerged in the UK in the early 1990s. This subgenre is characterized by its fast tempo, typically around 160-180 BPM, and its intricate breakbeats and heavy basslines. Popular drum and bass subgenres include liquid drum and bass, neurofunk, and jungle.

Notable Drum and Bass Artists: Goldie, Andy C, Noisia


Dubstep originated in the late 1990s and early 2000s in South London and is characterized by its heavy emphasis on bass, syncopated rhythms, and sparse use of vocals. Dubstep has since evolved into numerous subgenres, such as brostep, which features aggressive, distorted basslines, and melodic dubstep, which incorporates more harmonic elements.

Notable Dubstep Artists: Skream, Benga, Skrillex


Trap is a subgenre of EDM that emerged in the early 2010s, heavily influenced by the sounds and beats of Southern hip-hop. Trap music is characterized by its use of 808 drum samples, fast hi-hats, and dark, ominous melodies. Trap has further branched out into subgenres such as hybrid trap, which fuses trap with elements of dubstep and other bass-heavy genres.

Notable Trap Artists: RL Grime, Baauer, Flosstradamus

Future Bass

Future bass is a relatively recent subgenre of EDM, originating in the mid-2010s. It is characterized by its use of melodic synths, chopped vocals, and lush soundscapes, creating an atmospheric and emotionally resonant sound. Future bass often incorporates elements from other genres such as trap, chillwave, and indie electronic.

Notable Future Bass Artists: Flume, San Holo, Marshmello


Ambient is a subgenre of electronic music that originated in the 1970s, pioneered by artists like Brian Eno and Tangerine Dream. It is characterized by its emphasis on atmosphere and mood, with a focus on creating immersive soundscapes rather than danceable beats. Ambient music often incorporates elements of drone, minimalism, and experimental composition.

Notable Ambient Artists: Brian Eno, Aphex Twin, The Orb


Electro emerged in the early 1980s, influenced by hip-hop and funk music. It is characterized by its use of drum machines, syncopated beats, and electronic, robotic-sounding vocals. Electro has evolved over time and influenced numerous other subgenres, including electro house, electroclash, and breakbeat.

Notable Electro Artists: Kraftwerk, Afrika Bambaataa, Cybotron


Hardstyle is a subgenre of EDM that originated in the Netherlands in the early 2000s. It is characterized by its high tempo, typically around 150 BPM, distorted kick drums, and aggressive, screeching synth leads. Hardstyle has a dedicated following, with large-scale events and festivals dedicated to the genre.

Notable Hardstyle Artists: Headhunterz, Wildstylez, Noisecontrollers


Moombahton is a fusion of house music and reggaeton, created by DJ Dave Nada in the late 2000s. It is characterized by its slower tempo, around 108 BPM, and its incorporation of reggaeton-inspired beats and percussion. Moombahton often features energetic build-ups and drops, with a focus on danceability and groove.

Notable Moombahton Artists: Dillon Francis, Munchi, Nadastrom

These additional EDM subgenres further illustrate the incredible diversity and creativity within the world of electronic dance music. The sheer variety of styles and sounds ensures that there is always something new and exciting to discover, whether you’re a casual listener or a dedicated EDM enthusiast. As the genre continues to evolve, we can look forward to even more groundbreaking music that pushes the boundaries of electronic dance music to new heights.


The world of EDM is vast and ever-evolving, with each subgenre offering a unique listening experience and aesthetic. As artists continue to experiment with new sounds and production techniques, the boundaries between these subgenres become increasingly fluid, leading to the creation of even more exciting and innovative styles.

This ultimate guide to EDM subgenres offers just a glimpse into the rich and diverse landscape of electronic dance music. From the soulful grooves of house to the bass-heavy drops of dubstep, there’s something for everyone in the EDM universe. As you explore the various subgenres, you’ll not only expand your musical horizons but also gain a deeper appreciation for the creativity and innovation that defines electronic dance music. So, put on your dancing shoes, turn up the volume, and lose yourself in the captivating world of EDM.

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