Nashville DJ Diaires | The Evolution of Dance Music

Author: Kam Patterson

Over the course of time we have seen music evolve with new styles, genres, and influences. Dance music has been evolving more than we could ever imagine.

from disco daze

In the 70’s we had Disco which had songs keeping a high energy tempo around 110-120 BPM.  These types of songs would usually keep a groove going to keep you moving through the whole track. If we look at the 80’s, things started to become a little bit less disco in the rhythm and blues kind of way.  We end up with songs that still share influence from disco but evolve into a different type of upbeat. We could compare songs like ‘Billie Jean’ to ‘Stayin Alive’ and you will see they share some of the same qualities.  One of the biggest changes comes during the 90’s, the commercialization of hip-hop. Without diving too far into hip-hop I think we can all see how influential this genre became for modern music.

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to noticeable noise

If we skip forward all the way to the 2010’s we can see dance music become fast paced with an electronic influence.  The top 3 songs of the 2010’s, according to, all sit at 128-130 BPM.  We went through a period of time where we would see popular music become more and more electronic.  Now people don’t notice how electronic the music has actually become because it’s what we have grown accustomed to hearing.


the real shift

The real shift that is happening now is that we are starting to see dance music become more dynamic in structure as we completely reinvent pop music.  The tempo of the top hits of 2017 seems to have slowed down quite a bit. Artists like The Chainsmokers were having huge success, and they seem to have quite a few hits in the 100-110 range.



We have artists like ‘Zedd’ who pair up with a number of different pop artists to create this new style of music that I have begun to call ‘Hype-Chill’.  The song will breakdown to vocals and instruments only, to try and capture a more emotional reaction. Then by the time the chorus drops in, you end up with an electronic dance beat with some hip-hop style drums. Thus the term “hype-chill.”

Simply looking at music from 10 years ago to now, the evolution of dance music is ever changing, but this era of music will prove to be one of the most influential periods music has seen since hip hop hit the scene.