Where Avicii went wrong


Avicii recently came under fire after premiering some new music from his upcoming album during his set at Ultra Music Festival (UMF). Many complained it was an awkward and confusing session of country rock. Ultimately, it was by large not received well and it prompted him to respond to the criticism via his Facebook page. Defending himself, he claimed that people didn’t understand and that his upcoming album is not ‘country’ but rather “something fun and different” and that it is about “experimentation and about showing the endless possibilities of house and electronic music.” Did he make a career-killing move as many suggest, or is he right and people just aren’t getting it? Let’s examine.

Avicii went wrong overall thinking he could go experimental after entering the industry via the Pop market. He speaks of staying true to his sound, which if was the case, he shouldn’t have tried to experiment. The Top-40 of any genre isn’t generally known for it’s uniqueness, but rather for the tried and tested mainstream sounds. Experimental sounds are just that, they brave new waters, push something forward that hasn’t had mainstream exposure. UMF is a Top-40 dance music event, not exactly the best venue for something that isn’t mainstream. He would have been better off taking any experimentation to the Winter Music Conference pool parties, which historically are a good source to discover new sounds, ideas, and talent.


Avicii made the mistake that many people make these days, thinking that if it is dance music it automatically falls to the underground. Long gone are those days. Dance music, for better or worse, has entered the mainstream. There is still plenty of underground music within the culture, but nothing that I have heard Avicii make would fall into the category. He entered the dance music industry consciousness through the mainstream, and he will need to stay there if he expects to keep the number of fans he has become accustomed to.

People, by large, are resistant to change. Expecting them to be open-minded and capable of adapting to something they didn’t expect is an oft-made mistake. Avicii went wrong in thinking that people who spent a ton of money to see a Top-40 show would be open to something they didn’t expect. Had he previously spent some time in his career demonstrating an experimental side, or even producing a variety of styles, his attempts might have been better received. Instead, he built his name upon a single sound/style and that is what people now expect from him.

Ultimately I applaud him for thinking outside the box, I hope he continues to embrace the experimental, we could definitely use more of it to prevent the inevitable failure of the scene we are currently facing. But seriously, Avicii, you have built your fans from the mainstream, kiss them good-bye if you step out.

P.S. – Another common mistake that Avicii made, which is a bit of a pet peeve, just because your music is 4/4, don’t automatically call it House. Avicii, more power to you, but your music is not House.


Published by

Sean Ray

Award winning DJ/Producer and actor (SAG-AFTRA).

6 thoughts on “Where Avicii went wrong”

  1. I can’t blame Avicii for anything. He is young and made his way following people like Tiesto and Swedish House Mafia. As far as Avicii knows standing up on a stage at a festival for $45,000 (or whatever he makes) doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING for an hour at a time is what DJs do.

    I don’t know how old you have to be to get into a club in Sweden but he was playing these big parties before he was old enough to get into most clubs in America. This is what he knows.

    The dude isn’t a deejay, and I don’t want to apologize for him (because he sucks behind the decks and his music is garbage), but look at how he came to be. He wanted to emulate Tiesto and Swedish House Mafia and he is doing what they do.

    Hell, I even give him credit for trying something different, as shitty as it was. As much as he is not a deejay and his music sucks, at least he was trying something… Something his idols would never attempt.

  2. Hmm… let’s see…. the song has a billion views on youtube. Yeah, I can see where he went wrong… lol 🙂

  3. What’s funny is that this article was made just a couple of months before avicii’s truly great album ‘True’, which yes, has country music in it, and it’s great.

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