The BPM of a song plays a big part in determining what that track is going to sound and feel like. For those of you who don’t know, BPM stands for beats per minute. In other words, it’s the tempo. A higher BPM indicates a faster tempo while a lower BPM indicates a slower tempo.
For the most part EDM genres stick to certain BPM ranges but remember, this is just a general guide. Artists are always looking for new ways to push the envelope and often times genres can step outside the boundaries. There’s no need to get stressed out though, this guide is a great place to get started and learn the basics of dance music genres BPM.
A low BPM count usually means that you’re listening to either ambient, electronica or drum and bass. Generally speaking these tracks are going to be more laid back than songs with a higher BPM but that is not always the case. Drum and bass is a high-energy genre with fast breakdowns, which is something you’ll notice in Sub Focus’ songs. The Aphex Twins are kings of the ambient house genre with their chill sounds and vocal samples. Electronica is categorized by unusual sounds, experimental melodies and heavily processed drums, all of which can be found in Flume’s music.
90 - 110 BPM
Speed up the BPM a bit and you’re entering into hip-hop and chill out territory. Chill out is similar to ambient but with more of a beat or a groove to it. Nightmares On Wax are masters of the chill out genre with their simple beats and mellow vibes. Hip-hop has a more defined beat to go along with its melodic synths. This is easy to notice in tracks by RL Grime and his electronic music collective WeDidIt.
115 - 125 BPM
This is a moderate BPM range where you’ll find anything from electro-pop to disco to nu-disco. Empire Of The Sun, Daft Punk, MGMT, these are all bands that fall into this category. It is a more pop oriented style of electronic music and it features heavy use of synthesizers. This where you’ll find more traditional music structure because song writing is valued over danceability.
125 - 130 BPM
House, electro-house, progressive-house and deep-house all fall into this BPM range. These genres are more dance-oriented and tracks can run anywhere from 4 to 7 minutes, sometimes even going longer. Percussion is not emphasized as much as bass in these songs and they usually have some sort of epic build-up that leads to a breakdown. Hardwell is the perfect example of an artist who makes the most out of these tempos.
135 - 145 BPM
Faster tempos, or higher BPM counts, usually go along with trance, dubstep, hard house, hardstyle and trap songs. These genres vary greatly in style but share an average speed. Trance, for example, has repetitive melodic phrases and a kick drum on every downbeat. Dubstep features syncopated rhythms and warped bass sounds. Datsik is an artist that experiments with various different genres but elements of dubstep are clearly evident in his music.