Home Entertainment Top EDM Artists: The 15 Biggest Names in the Genre

Top EDM Artists: The 15 Biggest Names in the Genre

by Judith Lepage
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Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you must have noticed that EDM is everywhere. From nightclubs and dance parties to concerts and raves, EDM is a genre of music loved by DJs and crowds alike. Although EDM was growing in popularity in underground music since the ’80s, it entered the mainstream spotlight only after 2010, when artists like Avicii, Swedish House Mafia, and Skrillex crept out of the shadows and started unleashing their magic.

The past few decades have witnessed some of the top EDM artists of all time. Here’s a list of the top EDM artists who changed the face of EDM music and continue to do so.

What Is EDM?

EDM

EDM or Electronic Dance Music is an umbrella term that encompasses several similar or overlapping music genres. It is a compilation of some popular sub-genres of electronic music like electropop, techno, trance, and dubstep.

Most EDM styles feature a strong emphasis on rhythm, ambient melody, and a repetitive percussive track. The songs focus on creating an acoustic cushion for night settings instead of maintaining a regular beat. This is one of the reasons why most DJs play these songs during rave or dance parties and festivals or nightclubs.

Top EDM Artists

#1. Carl Cox

Carl Cox

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A British techno producer and DJ, Carl Cox is a big name in the EDM music industry. A musical ambassador, charming DJ, and one of the pioneers of EDM artists, Carl Cox has steadily followed his passion while receiving several accolades and achieving many milestones. In his early days, he was the only DJ who utilized three-deck mixing in his music.

After performing across clubs like Heaven, Eclipse, and Shelley’s Laserdome, Carl gained popularity as one of the best celebrity DJs in the world. Carl Cox is again gearing up to perform at Space Ibiza, Ibiza’s iconic nightclub, which is ready to reopen in 2022 after its shutdown in 2016. Some of his popular hits include “Family Guy,” “Phuture 2000,” and “I Want You Forever.”

#2. Avicii

Avicii

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Highly talented, greatly admired, and dearly missed, Avicii was unarguably one of the most popular EDM artists of the 21st century. He got his big break with the song “Levels” that not only cemented his place in the music industry but also went on to win him a Grammy in 2012.

Avicii touched and changed several lives with his music, and his dramatic rise to stardom was mesmerizing and inspiring. His famous music compilations and collaborations include Stories, True, Days/Nights EP, and Tim. His hit song “Wake Me Up” not only won several awards but also topped the billboards for several weeks. “The Nights,” “Waiting For Love,” “You Make Me,” and “I Could Be The One” are some of his most popular hits.

#3. Paul Oakenfold

Paul Oakenfold

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A three-time Grammy Award winner and two-time World Music Awards nominee, Paul Mark Oakenfold is an English trance DJ and record producer and one of the most legendary EDM artists of recent times. In 1998 and 1999, the DJ Magazine voted him the No.1 DJ in the world.

A year after his first visit to Ibiza, Paul started Planet Perfecto in 1988, a groundbreaking record label that played an integral role in birthing trance music. Some of Paul’s massive international hits include “Bullet In The Gun,” “Not Over Yet,” and “Southern Sun.” In recent years, Paul has also created breathtaking background scores and cues for films like Matrix Reloaded, Swordfish, The Bourne Identity, Collateral, and Shrek 2.

#4. Above & Beyond

Above & Beyond

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Consisting of the trio of Paavo, Jono, and Tony, Above and Beyond is one of the leading electronic music groups. Their musical journey began in 2000 when they started their record label Anjunabeats that has dominated the EDM ground since then. It was initially an exclusive trance music label, but after 2011, it also featured progressive house, progressive trance, and trance-edged house.

They also host weekly radio shows like Trance Around The World and Group Therapy Radio. Some of their chart-topping numbers include “Sun & Moon,” “On My Way To Heaven,” and “Love Is Not Enough.”

#5. Skrillex

Skrillex

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Sonny John Moore, who goes by the professional name Skrillex, is an American singer-songwriter, DJ, musician, and record producer. Electro house, post-hardcore, moombahton, trap, and dubstep are some of his popular genres.

A highly renowned and sought-after EDM DJ, Skrillex has won multiple awards. He’s the only EDM artist with 8 Grammy awards to his name. He’s created ripples not just in the EDM landscape but the industry beyond. His groundbreaking compilations include Bangarang EP, Nice Sprites EP, and Scary Monsters.

#6. Hardwell

Hardwell

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A dominating force in the EDM industry, Hardwell has been consistently featured among the top 10 in DJ Mag’s Top 100 DJs list. This Dutch EDM artist is a progressive DJ, music producer, and a King of Big Room.

Some of his hit classics include “Call Me A Spaceman,” “Zero 76,” and “Apollo,” and he is more focused on genres like electro house, progressive house, and tech-house. United We Are is another one of his hit albums. A Tomorrowland-favorite artist, he founded the record label “Revealed Recordings” as well as a radio podcast named “Hardwell On Air.”

#7. David Guetta

David Guetta

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A legendary name in the EDM scene, no list of top EDM artists can be complete without David Guetta. A French DJ, record producer, and songwriter, Pierre David Guetta is one of the earliest artists in mainstream EDM music and is often called the “grandfather of EDM.”

In 2011, the DJ Mag ranked him as the world’s number one DJ in the list of Top 100 DJs. He first hit the airwaves in 2009 after the release of his career-defining album, One Love. The album featured some viral singles like “When Love Takes Over,” “Gettin’ Over You,” and “Sexy Bitch.”

All the songs were Billboard chart-toppers, and the song “I Gotta Feeling” even received two nominations during the 52ndGrammy Awards. “Titanium,” “Little Bad Girl,” and “Turn Me On,” are some of his other notable tracks.

#8. Calvin Harris

Calvin Harris

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A Scottish DJ and song-producer, Calvin Harris is an international hit-maker and one of the highest-paid DJs in the world. His top albums like Ready For The Weekend, Motion, and 18 Months not only delivered chart-topping tracks but also took the EDM music industry by storm.

He has also bagged several collaborations with artists like Big Sean, Rihanna, Sam Smith, and Dua Lipa. “How Deep is Your Love,” “We Found Love,” “One Kiss,” and “This is What You Came For” are some of his famous works. He also founded his own record label Fly Eye Records in 2010. A five-time Grammy Award nominee and winner of several international awards, Calvin Harris is a beloved EDM artist all over the world.

#9. Deadmau5

Deadmau5

 

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Joel Thomas Zimmerman, aka Deadmau5, is a Canadian music composer and DJ and a top name in the EDM music scene. With a massive global fanbase that borders a cultic following, he is one of the top EDM artists. Talented, inspiring, and 6 Grammy nominations receiver, Deadmau5 has delivered some popular hits like “Raise Your Weapon,” “Some Chords,” “The Veldt,” and “Professional Griefers.”

Deadmau5 is pronounced as “dead mouse,” and the origin of this name has a story. As a boy, he once found a dead mouse inside his computer and was nicknamed “dead mouse guy” by his friends. He also wears a headdress similar to Disney’s Mickey Mouse symbol.

#10. Paul van Dyk

Paul van Dyk

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Paul van Dyk is a German DJ, musician, and record producer renowned for music genres like uplifting trance, progressive house, progressive trance, and electro house. He was the first artist to receive the Grammy for the newly added category of Best Dance/Electronic Album for his album Reflections in 2003.

Some of his popular hits include “For An Angel,” “Perfect Day,” “Age Of Love,” and “Guardian.” Paul van Dyk regularly contributes to background film cues and game scores and has several notable OST credits to his name. Some prominent examples are “A Poor Choice of Words” for the film The Dark Knight and “Still Alive” for Electronic Art’s ground-breaking game Mirror’s Edge.

#11. Swedish House Mafia

Swedish House Mafia

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The trio of Swedish House Mafia was among the pioneers of EDM music. A group of highly talented individuals, Sebastian Ingrosso, Steve Angello, and Axwell took over the world by storm in early 2010 when the golden age of EDM was in its infancy.

Their first massive success was “One” in 2010, and “Save The World” was their next international sensation, which even saw a Grammy nomination. Their most famous track is the 2012 hit “Don’t You Worry Child.” It not only went on to be the billboard’s chart-topper for several weeks, but it continues to rule the hearts of their fans even today.

Though the group separated in 2013, they came together once again in 2018 at the Ultra Music Festival in Miami, and fans are eagerly awaiting their next chartbuster.

#12. Tïesto

Tïesto

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A Dutch DJ and record producer, Tiesto is unarguably one of the top EDM artists of recent years. Mix Magazine and DJ Mag have touted him as the “The Greatest DJ of All Time,” and he is also regarded as the “Godfather of EDM.” Successful EDM artists like Martin Garrix have admitted that Tiesto was their inspiration behind their pursuing electronic dance music careers.

A Grammy award winner, Tiesto is not only one of the highest-earning DJs but also a great philanthropist. His main genres include future, electro house, and progressive. Some of his hit albums are Elements of Life, Just Be, and In My Memory.

#13. Eric Prydz

Eric Prydz

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Eric Prydz is a Swedish sensation acclaimed for his out-of-the-world and enigmatic concerts. Often tagged as a pioneer who has changed the face of live acts, he has many awards to his name.

Eric Prydz Presents Pryda is his 3-disk album where fans got to hear his signature sound for the first time. His studio album Opus is another massive hit that took the world by storm. Some of his other hit singles include “Call on Me,” “Proper Education,” and “Pjanoo.” His electrifying energy at Tomorrowland is infectious. If you ever get a chance to witness his live performance, don’t miss it.

#14. Armin van Buuren

Armin van Buuren

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Armin Van Buuren is a Dutch artist who has a career spanning two decades in the music industry. One of the world’s biggest electronic music producers, Van Buuren has several accolades to his credit. He was ranked world number one by DJ Mag for a record five times, for four consecutive years.

“Blah Blah Blah,” “In And Out Of Love,” and “Great Spirit” are some of his top hits; and Imagine, Intense, and Mirage are some of his top albums.

#15. Daft Punk

Daft Punk

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The legendary duo of Daft Punk served as a great source of inspiration for many upcoming, budding EDM artists. Regarded as one of the most influential music bands in EDM history, this French duo of Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo were famous for their pop songs, disco mixes, and electrifying performances.

With many Grammy awards to their credit, they are among the top EDM artists of all time. All their songs have the quintessential peppy and catchy beats with heart-thumping music and can be great additions to your dance playlist. “Homework,” “Human After All,” “Discovery,” and “Random Access Memories” are some of their musical jewels.

Why Is EDM so Popular?

With more than 1.5 global billion listeners, EDM is the third most popular music genre across the world today.
EDM offers catchy tunes, enchanting chorus, and heart-thumping beats and can make even the most solemn and rigid people tap their feet and bob their heads in delight.

EDM is now a genre of music that’s so popular that no dance pub or concert performance concludes without at least one EDM song.

Who Is the Number 1 EDM Artist?

The number 1 EDM artist cannot exactly be unanimously decided. With 8 Grammy awards to his credit, Skrillex is undeniably one of the best EDM artists of all time. Ranker voters, however, consider Tiesto as the best EDM artist, while MOJO has declared Paul Oakenfold as the top EDM artist.

A Few Parting Words

That sums up my list of the top EDM artists of all time. These artists have all left a lasting mark on the field of EDM music and have touched several people’s lives with their standout, vibrant music. Was your favorite artist featured in this list?

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