These young, hyperdigital musicians are not dependent on record labels. But they really need their laptops.
Two years ago Zedd, whose real name is Anton Zaslavski, was making beats in obscurity in Germany. Now, riding the dance world’s accelerated career track, he’s recording with Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber, and the crowd at Red Rocks obediently followed his every fist-pumping dance command.
Where all of this fits within the traditional music industry is unclear. Record companies still play an important role, but the relationship has changed from the days when a label controlled most aspects of an artist’s career. Short-term, high-value record contracts are common, a sign both of how attractive E.D.M. hits can be as well as of a certain ambivalence about that genre’s long-term prospects.
Not long ago he had never been away from home for more than two weeks. Then it was six weeks, then two months, then six months. He, and his parents, are still coming to grips with the frenzied pace of his new life, he said.