Dance Music Hub

With dance music making more money than ever, Pollstar took a deep dive into the genre. Artists, managers, agents, promoters and more all spoke about their successes, challenges, love for dance music and where they think the genre is headed.

Here, Alison Wonderland talks about how she continued playing shows while she was nine months pregnant, Wasserman Music EVP Lee Anderson shares how he helps to create once-in-a-lifetime moments, Red Light Management’s New York office say how their artists have stepped into arenas, BLNK CNVS runs through what it’s like throwing more than 30 parties in one week and more.

Motherhood, Whyte Fang & Touring: Alison Wonderland Has It All

An ambulance waited backstage during Alison Wonderland’s set at EDC Las Vegas in May 2023. The Australian-born DJ and music producer was determined to put everything she had into her last performance for the time being. She jumped around on stage as her friends in the duo SLANDER hopped onto the decks to hype up the audience. As soon as she wrapped up, she slid onto the gurney, a team of paramedics checking on her baby and making sure her set didn’t trigger labor. Three weeks later, she gave birth at full term to a boy named Max.

When Alex Sholler, the 37-year-old musician behind the Alison Wonderland and Whyte Fang monikers, informed her team of her pregnancy, they sat down to plot out which of her previously scheduled dates would still be achievable.

“I think women can do anything,” Sholler tells Pollstar. “We’re incredibly strong — stronger than people think. It is really sad that we’ve been told we can’t have it all. Because we can. We just have to work hard.”

In the end, only two 2023 festival appearances were canceled: Hangout in Gulf Shores, Alabama, which she’s performing at in 2024, and Moonrise in Baltimore.

“We confirmed on EDC before she was even pregnant,” Alison Wonderland’s booking agent, Steve Goodgold with Wasserman Music, says. “There were only two festivals we had to cancel, which was fortunate, and one of them we’re doing this year. Everybody’s sympathetic to the situation. The promoters were wonderful. They love her. They were happy for her. It’s like, ‘Look. Go have a baby. We’ll bring you back.’”

You Can’t Break Its Soul: Electronic Dance Music Is Having Its Moment

Ultra Music Festival 2018

There is much debate whether dance music is experiencing a “Golden Age,” much as the upper echelons of the live business was declared to have in Pollstar’s 2023 Year End charts. But there is no question that the genre is making more money than ever. In next week’s issue, we’ll see two dance artists in the top 60 of Pollstar’s Q1 Top 100 Tours chart.

John Summit is due to headline Madison Square Garden, and Fred again.. recently wrapped up a spontaneous tour in Australia that sold out instantly. EDC Las Vegas remains the world’s largest music festival with last year’s event hosting 525,000 people over three days. According to CAA agent Ferry Rais-Shaghaghi, Afterlife has been selling more than 50,000 tickets per show.

Ultra Music Festival, the event that kicks off dance music’s year and caps off Miami Music Week, remains a major moneymaker. While the event has a fraught history with Miami — in 2019, city commissioners barred it from Bayfront Park after resident complaints; it returned three years later — its economic impact is approaching $1 billion since 2012, according to a city-funded study.

The Dance Revolution: Electronic Dance Music Execs Take Stock

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Since the 1980s, electronic dance music has lived on in the underground. The genre, which got its start in Chicago and Detroit with warehouse techno parties, has had numerous inceptions throughout the decades. In the late ‘90s, the genre saw the arrival of Daft Punk and Chemical Brothers, giving it critical acclaim. In the early 2010s, it broke into the mainstream. Since then, it’s maintained popularity in music culture, with festivals such as Ultra in Miami and EDC Las Vegas becoming massive destination events.

As Pollstar celebrates the genre in its first dance music special, key industry executives take stock of the state of dance music. Here, CAA’s Ferry Rais-Shaghaghi talks about how Afterlife has broken into stadiums and continues to take a major stake in the dance music market. UTA’s Guy Oldaker talks Illenium’s stadium dates and million-dollar grosses, while Circuit and SEVEN20’s Jessica Wilson and Insomniac’s Joe Wiseman emphasize how dance music today brings back that electric and exciting feel found back in the genre’s ‘90s heyday.

Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger: Growing Success, Red Light Management’s New York Office Talks Subtronics & New Clientele


Before Eric Silver brought his management company, GRAVEDANCER, over to Red Light Management, he worked out of his kitchen in North Brooklyn. His small team consisted of Elyse Young, who came on as his first management hire in 2017 and co-manages Subtronics and LEVEL UP alongside Silver, and Meghan Huffman, who first worked as an intern starting in 2019 before becoming a manager herself, now overseeing clients Dirt Monkey, Boogie T/BOOGIE T.RIO, Ghastly/GHENGAR, HE$H and Zen Selekta.

In 2020, the opportunity to join Red Light presented itself, and Silver opted to make the transition as he felt it would fulfill his desire to continue growing his artists and ensuring longevity in their careers. He knew he could collaborate with other managers at the company, taking their knowledge and applying it to his own clients. He admired Red Light’s ecosystem and says he frequently turns to the other managers for advice on vendors, production companies, buses, ticket scaling, promoters and more.

“When I realized I wanted to be able to provide more for artists and the staff by joining a larger management company, I looked around and I talked to a number of the usual suspects in our section,” Silver says. “There was interest from all the folks we met with, and I really liked Red Light because of Coran Capshaw and his entrepreneurial spirit. And the team they’ve built there with Steve Satterthwaite (Duke Dumont, Bonobo), Adam Foley (ODESZA), Keith LeWinter (GRiZ) and Brandon Ginsberg (CloZee, LSDREAM) — it was a team of experienced, seasoned managers whose artists’ bread-and-butter was touring and merch; all the real, tangible things. They weren’t developing Top 40 artists where you take a shot at a major label and then move on when the next big thing fails. These were career artists who over decades were touring and selling. And those were our artists. They’re not flash-in-the-pan Top 40 artists; they’re in the trenches.”

No Time For Sleep: How BLNK CNVS Is Throwing 30+ Parties In One Week


BLNK CNVS Presents’ Paul Reed and Eric Fuller both fell in love with dance music while separately studying in Europe. Fuller, who’s slightly older, went on to work with Florida-based production company Life in Color as COO, where he helped spread what he found in Europe across North American college campuses. Dayglow/Life in Color became the first dance music brand to do a college tour with shows that featured Afrojack, Axwell, Alesso, Benny Benassi and more. The parties were first branded as Dayglow Events, the name hosting its own stage at Ultra Music Festival in 2009 and 2010. In 2012, SFX Entertainment purchased the company.

“It’s interesting that we both found that sound abroad and brought it back,” Reed says. “Eric and the Life in Color guys were really on the forefront of bringing that stuff to a lot of the college markets. That’s how I really got involved in the business side of it. Those guys were instrumental in spreading that sound across the U.S. At that time you couldn’t really find it in colleges or mainstream stuff, not at that level.”

Agency Intel: Wasserman Music EVP Lee Anderson On Creating Once-In-A-Lifetime Moments

Lee Anderson photo 4O5A8481 credit Marisa S Cohen

Few rosters in the dance space are as impressive as Wasserman Music EVP Lee Anderson’s. He oversees the agency’s dance music department, which is made up of 40 agents worldwide, and his own clients include Skrillex, Swedish House Mafia, Zedd, ISOxo, Knock2, Disclosure, Charlotte de Witte and more.

Energetic and constantly on the move, Anderson lives his life in the air. When it comes to booking his clients, he describes his approach as trying to create once-in-a-lifetime moments. One example was Skrillex’s New York City takeover in 2023, in which the DJ/producer popped up at H0L0 in Queens, performed on a truck in Times Square and put on a five-hour headline show at Madison Square Garden alongside Fred again.. and Four Tet.

Anderson’s ethos has trickled down into the entire department. Agents Ben Shprits, Lucy Putman, Jim O’Regan and Michael Harvey-Bray are bringing back Skream and Benga for the duo’s first shows in 10 years, with several dates already announced for New York, San Francisco, Denver, Glastonbury and Coachella. Cody Chapman shut down Hollywood Boulevard in October for FISHER and Chris Lake’s “Under Construction.” Tom Schroeder recently organized a pop-up run of shows for Fred again.. in Australia, with the dates announced just a few days before the first show — and tickets sold out instantaneously.

How Alison Wonderland & Kaskade Teamed Up For A Surprise B2B Set At Miami Music Week


Alison Wonderland comments in awe of Kaskade’s music studio. “Look at all his records!” the Australian-born artist (real name Alex Sholler) recently told Pollstar, pointing to his massive wall that stretches larger than a decently sized Brooklyn apartment and is filled to the brim with thousands of vinyls. “Look at his whiteboards!” she says as Kaskade, real name Ryan Raddon, flips a door to show the tracklist and his progress for each track on his latest Christmas and Redux EPs.

The two DJ/producers are, secretly, hard at work. Their surprise joint set at Brownies & Lemonade’s Miami Music Week showcase at Mana Wynwood is a little over a week away, and they’re in the studio creating a new song to premiere at the event. 

Initially, neither one of them planned on going back-to-back together. Both were presented the opportunity to do so by their agents, with Sholler’s team telling Brownies & Lemonade they would be interested in playing, but they wanted to do something to shake things up. Neither of Sholler’s projects, Alison Wonderland or Whyte Fang, were going to play at Ultra, so they wanted to make her set special. 

Hotstar: It’s Ludachrist! Kill The Noise & Bro Safari Team Up At Ultra

In the late ‘90s, the underground rave scene was hitting its stride. The genre had not yet gone mainstream, with shows discovered via word-of-mouth or off flyers in corner stores. Nicholas Weiller (44, best known for his project Bro Safari) was a member of drum and bass group Evil Intent. Jacob Stanczak (43, known as Kill The Noise) was booking shows as a promoter, and describes himself as “just some guy from Rochester, New York.” He booked Weiller for a party he threw with friends, and the two hit it off. Stanczak was also looking into making music, and he and Weiller eventually decided to start a collaboration project together, called Ludachrist.

As Ludachrist, the two primarily focused on mashups with the mid-aughts resurgence of electro, and they led the project with “no rules, mashup, extravaganza,” according to Weiller.

“That was the most fun I’ve ever had working on music with somebody ever, hands down,” Weiller tells Pollstar.

They eventually parted ways, Stanczak focusing on his project Kill The Noise, and Weiller releasing trap, moombahton and dubstep as Bro Safari. Kill The Noise is represented by United Talent Agency’s Ben Hogan and Wilcox Weaver in North America. He’s managed by Blood Company’s Jeff O’Neill. Bro Safari is represented by UTA’s Ben Hogan and managed by Vector Management’s Henley Halem. Kill The Noise has 28 headline reports submitted to Pollstar Boxoffice with an average gross of $12,364. Bro Safari has 30 headline box office reports submitted, with his average grosses reaching $35,859.