The hotel heiress and infamous reality TV and sex tape star, Paris Hilton, is the latest in a long line of celebrities of little substance, to take behind the decks as “DJ.” In a time where reality stars and D-list celebrities can makes loads of money with nightclub appearances, who is to blame them for making the leap from event host to musical curator. Most of all, the time seems just right for cashing in on EDM’s meteoric success.
The rise of EDM’s popularity is brilliantly chronicled in Melissa Locker’s recent article for Time Magazine, “Beat Boys: The Rise of the Superstar DJ.” From the explosion in attendance at festivals like Miami’s Winter Music Conference and the Electric Daisy Carnival, and the enormous sums DJs like David Guetta and Tiesto rake in (an estimated $20 million for Tiesto last year), dance music has become transparently conventional. From megahits by the Black Eyed Peas and Rihanna, to dance remixes of Gotye and Adele, the EDM sound and Pop Music are now one and the same. See my blog article “The Popularity Paradigm: Dance Music Goes Mainstream”
Depending on your outlook, this is all well and good. However, Ms. Hilton’s attempt to either be taken seriously as an EDM superstar, or simply cash in on the genre’s popularity, undoubtedly has its critics. In particular, Deadmau5 has taken to twitter and his blog (Please read) to express his outrage at what he views as Ms. Hilton’s exploitation of the genre and an career enabled and undeserved. More, I believe he views the entire spectacle as completely, ridiculous, I happen to agree with Deadmau5, as have the majority of music journalists and Internet commentators who have looked at this story. I think most of us prefer her as the dimwitted philistine we have come to know.
Many now seem to forget, that it was only four years ago that Ms. Hilton stirred a public feud with Steve Angello at WMC 2009. Angello is one third of the Swedish House Mafia, “one of dance music’s most commercially successful brands and the group was at the front of EDM’s American invasion.” (Locker, Time) According to several accounts, Hilton repeatedly asked Angello to play hip-hop or some Bob Sinclair tunes, and when he refused an altercation ensued between Angello and Hilton’s boyfriend Doug Reinhardt. (Watch this clip from Take One.)
Reinhardt is now one of many names on Hilton’s long list of ex suitors. Currently, she dates (this could be inaccurate by the time you read this) Afrojack, a world famous DJ from Holland, known best his Dirty Dutch sound and the #1 crossover hit from Pitbull, “Give Me Everything.” While many DJs (including Afrojack) have had to work tirelessly for a chance at success, Hilton’s DJ career begins on the main stage.
It is no surprise that Hilton’s first public DJ performance was at the Pop Music Festival in San Paulo in front of thousands of paying music fans last Saturday. Also no surprise is the mostly negative reaction from those who witnessed this crime against humanity. Hilton can, and has proved time and time again, will do whatever she wants. She purportedly is working on a dance album with Afrojack, just as many of us had finally removed her 2006 song “Stars are Blind” from our memories. With collaborators to include Flo Raida, Snoop Dogg, and LMFAO (a novel approach), the question to be asked is, has music lost any sense of artistic integrity?