For whatever reason, Avicii‘s retirement from touring is being heralded as some sort of harbinger of an EDM end of times. Forget that the Swedish DJ/producer has cancelled all of his upcoming tour dates once a year for the past two years, or that everyone in the industry knows he would be nothing without his meat puppeteer, Ash Pournouri – disco has to be dead for real this time, right?
Amid a media tidal wave that’s ranged from sympathetic outpour to self-assured doomsaying, Mixmag writer Marcus Dowling penned an editorial titled “Fast & Furious: Why Avicii Had to Retire” that explores the factors which led the superstar’s live music career grinding to a halt. The short answer, according to Dowling, is acute pancreatitis as a result of alcoholism caused by the rigors of touring.
I, for one, would like to say what everyone behind the curtain has been thinking: Avicii just couldn’t cut it. Not just this week, not the past year, not all the way back when he debuted “Wake Me Up.”
For those of us who hold serious stake in the outcome of electronic music, Avicii has always been a symbol of everything that’s wrong with the EDM movement. He only represents electronic music insofar as a band like Poison represented rock and roll, and in his absence, I have no doubt that all of his ghostwriters will find other customers.
Did the EDM bubble finally burst? Yeah, probably – and as much as anyone in the music scene likes to celebrate that it’ll drive everything back underground, the resulting elimination of electronic music jobs, no matter how long it lasts, will make for an unfortunate state of affairs.
Is Avicii’s retirement a sign of that? Absolutely not. Avicii’s retirement is a sign that no matter how much the EDM movement has turned the big four label paradigm on its head, the highest echelon of the industry still favors artists whose level of incompetence isn’t sustainable for longer than five years.
Of course, that’s not to say that alcoholism (as well as Avicii’s other rumored substance abuse issues) isn’t a serious disease, or that anyone should be demonized for struggling with it. It just goes to show that there are true artists who put their craft above all else – and then there’s Avicii.
As dubious as its beginnings may have been, the 2016 festival season is upon us and it’s moving full speed ahead. With or without some of the more temporary faces in the cast of characters, the show must go on, right?