I took a total of 7 trips to new cities in 2015 and the main reason I went on all those trips was because there were EDM events I wanted to go to in those cities – London, Amsterdam, Prague, Berlin, Dusseldorf, Ibiza, and Eindhoven. Some of those cities I probably would have never cared to visit if it weren’t for the festivals hosted there.
I sometimes wondered if I was acting like a crazy person, taking trips primarily driven by the desire to check out dance music events in the world.
I’ve met a couple people like me, here and there, on meetup apps, at the parties, and at the hostels. Some hubs attracted more EDM tourists than others, especially in dance destinations like Ibiza and Berlin.
The more I traveled (and spent – $4,800 in 2015 on all EDM-related trips!), the more I wondered… how many other EDM fans are like me and what is the impact they have on tourism?
As a result, I ran a study in collaboration with EDM.com in August 2015 in order to study the touristic behavior of American EDM fans. I was interested in knowing to what extent EDM fans would go to see their favorite artists and festivals. I wanted to know what effect EDM fans’ behavior of chasing DJs and parties has on the tourism sector. And I wanted to know what’s the best way festival organizers and cities can collaborate to craft the best experience for EDM fans, both inside and outside the festival.
I set out to answer some big questions and I quickly saw that we can’t dismiss or underestimate the draw of EDM to influence youth travel decisions. More than 1,300 people responded to the survey; 947 fit the survey criteria (being from the US) and were used in the final dataset. This is the full report, and here are the main findings:
1. Are EDM fans are willing to travel for EDM?
An EDM trip is defined in the study as having traveled at least 2 hours, one way, primarily motivated by attending an EDM event.
The answer was, yes, a lot! Two-thirds (66%) of American EDM fans have taken at least a trip for EDM in the past year.
Furthermore, half the people who responded “yes” took at least 3 EDM trips in the past year!
Let’s put this in context: According to a Skift study, only 38% of Americans traveled for leisure in 2014 (41% for the age 18-24 group). EDM fans have a much higher penchant for traveling – just for EDM – almost twice as likely!
2. What makes people decide to take an EDM trip?
When it comes to making a decision on whether or not to travel for EDM, the single most influential determinant is the draw of the artists/lineup. I guess the 5-6 digit nightly paychecks of big name DJs is not unjustified! Other strong influencers include presence of friends attending event, interest in the destination, reputation of club/venue, and cost of trip.
3. Who do fans take EDM trips with?
The most common format to take an EDM trip is with 1-4 friends, with almost all respondents traveling this way often or always. Only sometimes do fans travel with 5+ friends.
People seldom travel alone for EDM. 62% of respondents never take an EDM trip solo, with comparable statistics for traveling with family members or work colleagues.
4. How long do EDM trips last?
The most common length of trips is 1-3 days, with 50% of trips taken in this format; in other words, fans take a weekend trip (safe assumption as almost all EDM events happen on weekends).
About a quarter of trips lasts less than 24 hours – meaning fans pretty much go directly to the party and back, possibly even without a hotel stay.
Another quarter of the trips are of a longer length – more than 4 days long – implying that beyond the party or festival, the fans also did other activities in the destination. Rarely do trips last longer than a week.
5. What tourism activities are EDM travelers interested in?
Outside of the EDM event, EDM fans are most interested in destination activities as beach, food and drink, and nightlife (no surprise there). They’re the least interested in the Arts. See the full list here:
6. Who takes EDM trips?
The demographics of the EDM audience and travelers skew heavily toward millennials. 74% percent of EDM travelers are aged 18-24, which is the college or early young professional age. They are predominantly individuals who have had some college education or are high school graduates. In line with the age and education of the travelers, the majority of EDM travelers make less than $25,000 in income in a year. It’s important to note that these biases may exist due to EDM.com’s audience demographics.
7. How much do people spend on EDM-related travel?
Given the low average income of EDM fans, it is surprising to find that EDM travelers are spending much more than the average American on their EDM holidays! 73% of EDM travelers have spent at least $1,000 on EDM-related travel in the past year, whereas an average American tends to spend less than $1,000 on their summer vacation plans (according to American Express).
BONUS: Just for fun – Do music tastes have any linkages with race?
Not to incite controversy by quoting racial stereotypes, but I’ve read a few times on the internet that Asians love trance and that Black people don’t rave. This is what the numbers say:
Asians and Hispanics are twice as likely to be EDM listeners & travelers compared to the general population distribution; Whites and Blacks are less likely to be EDM listeners & travelers. Yes, it does appear that black people rave less, as do whites.
As for whether or not Asians love trance more than other races – 58% of Asians say that they enjoy trance, whereas 54% of other American races say the same. Although it’s a bit higher, the difference is quite marginal. Myth busted!
On the other hand, blacks do seem to love trap a lot more than other races! 81% of blacks responded that they Trap, whereas only between 60-70% of other major races in America concur.
Thanks for reading and I welcome your feedback!