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Big room house or simply big room is a fusion subgenre of house music (notably progressive house and electro house) that gained popularity in the early 2010s. Although the term "big room" started appearing in news articles circa 2007, the current state of this subgenre emerged around 2010—12 and was popularized by songs such as "Epic" and "Cannonball". From 2013 on, artists like Martin Garrix, KSHMR, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Hardwell, Nicky Romero, Afrojack, and R3HAB began experimenting with this sound in their compositions.[1]

The genre is generally set at a tempo that falls between 126 and 132 bpm. Songs typically include long buildups followed by an electro-style drop accompanied by the four on the floor kick drums typical of house music. Melodies are often simple and minimal, though a Trance-inspired supersaw is frequently used.[1][2]


By the fall of 2012, Electronic dance music's popularity had exploded and EDM-only festivals began to pop up all-over the United States with headline bills featuring internationally touring talents like acts like Skrillex, Tiësto, and Armin van Buuren. No longer restricted to underground raves and soft-ticketed club nights, electronic dance music continued to grow as festivals for progressive house, dubstep, electro house, trance, and Drum and bass all took place together. DJs began to recognize the need to make music suited for the larger venues and arenas they'd begun to play and would play for years to come. As multi-genre EDM festivals like Ultra Music Festival, Electric Zoo and HARD Summer and Swedish House Mafia-like arena tours quickly became the norm in all of electronic dance music, DJs began focusing making music specifically to be played in these new 'big', commercially-driven spaces. Backlash from other DJs, industry insiders and long-time ravers became predictable as the direct tie-in to commercial viability and music's relative simplistic composition made it an easy target. Unlike trance's richly programmed arpeggios or house music's culturally important samples, big room house didn't have any inborne unique or virtuoso qualities to it; instead much more reliant on the context in which its deployed.

Though there are numerous classic big room house songs now, "Animals" remains among the most important. The song's emergence and subsequent coverage was the first to even make mention of the term "big room" and is responsible for the phenomenon's explosion.

To put it simply, the track "Animals" itself fits a formula. This formula is illustrated clearly in the track's "drop," thereby underlining "Animals" uncanny similarities to Knife Party's "LRAD" or Sandro Silva & Quintino's "Epic." Take this a step further and compare "Animals" to Carnage & Borgore's smash "Incredible" or the last two GTA big room collaborative bangers in "Hit It!" and "Turn It Up!" The sonic similarities between these tracks are so glaring that once you notice them, you can't un-notice them.

— 808sJake, Spinnin' the Truth: Copycatism and Martin Garrix's Stuffed "Animals", Complex Media


In 2016, Beatport added the Big Room genre, putting producers such as Deadmau5 and Wolfgang Gartner under the category.[4]


The structure of big room house songs is similar to that of American progressive house of the late 2000s.[according to whom?] There are two build-ups complete with breaks, two drop sections, and one or two breakdowns, one of which may or may not include the intro/outro phase. Unlike progressive house, big room is adapted to radio edited format and features either the first or the second build-up usually much longer than the other one. In case of remixes, one usually features the whole vocal/riff sample of the initial song, while the other build-up is a simple break that is significantly shorter and prepares the listener for the drop.[citation needed]

Big room features relative minimalism, with the sound enhanced by 'large-hall' reverb effects.[5] One bassline, often aided by one or two highs and lows, creates the mood for the whole composition. Unlike in electro house proper, where the bass itself is subject to additional wave effects (such as attack, threshold and sustain) to beautify the melody, in big room house, only the way the sound is released plays a major role. Henceforth, the drum beats are made minimal, sometimes with only a kick or tom and a couple of hi-hats.[citation needed]


The genre has been criticized by several musicians, who have described it as 'stereotypical EDM sound lacking originality and creativity' and said that it is homogeneous and lacks originality, diversity, and artistic merit.[6][7] Mixmag described the genre as composing of "titanic breakdowns and spotless, monotone production aesthetics".[8] Wolfgang Gartner described the genre as a "joke", and disregarded it, alongside conglomerates such as SFX Entertainment, as "digestible cheap dance music".[9] He also called the genre "the EDM Apocalypse", saying "real music should have some soul and authenticity to it, and not just be a big kick drum and a techno like breakdown with a cheesy one-liner and a 'big drop'".[10]

Writing for Complex Media, Jake Lang (808sJake) noted the song's formulaic appeal, The issue here is that "Animals" and the other tracks listed (as well as those like it) have all done exceedingly well despite a lack of originality.  It is this copycatism that seriously harms the future of dance music and potential cultural impact as a whole...In reality, they are tawdry examples of producers looking for the shortest possible path to a main stage".[3]

Russell Smith of The Globe and Mail observes a "fiery friction" between fans of traditional underground electronic music and the newer, typically younger fans who have arisen as a result of big room's movement of EDM into the mainstream.[11]


  1. ^ a b "Why Big Room House Is Already Dead". 17 September 2014. Archived from the original on 14 July 2016. Retrieved 20 February 2017.
  2. ^ "Big Room House – Beat Explorer's Dance Music Guide". Archived from the original on 24 February 2015. Retrieved 20 February 2017.
  3. ^ a b "Spinnin' the Truth: Copycatism and Martin Garrix's Stuffed "Animals"". Complex. Retrieved 6 September 2022.
  4. ^ McGovern, Travis (12 September 2016). "Beatport Adds New Genres & Re-Categorizes Deadmau5 As The Most Despised One In EDM". Your EDM. Archived from the original on 1 April 2017. Retrieved 20 February 2017.
  5. ^ Rovito, M. (2014) 'Layering Synths for Big-Room EDM Tracks', Electronic musician, 30(12), pp. 78–79.
  6. ^ "Swedish DJs Daleri Mock EDM Cliche With Hilarious Viral Mini-Mix Epic Mashleg'". 15 July 2013. Archived from the original on 5 April 2018. Retrieved 5 April 2018.
  7. ^ Tech, Si Truss 2013-07-16T10:47:00 196Z (16 July 2013). "Hear 16 remarkably similar EDM drops edited into a single 60 second track". MusicRadar. Archived from the original on 30 April 2019. Retrieved 22 May 2019.((cite web)): CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  8. ^ "EDM will eat itself: Big room house stars are getting bored". Mixmag. Archived from the original on 23 February 2017. Retrieved 20 February 2017.
  9. ^ Your EDM Staff (8 January 2014). "Wolfgang Gartner's Reddit AMA RECAP, States His Distaste For The Big Room Movement & Claims There Is An "Over saturation" of Festivals". Your EDM. Archived from the original on 16 January 2021. Retrieved 20 February 2017.
  10. ^ Anthony, Polis (2 May 2013). "Wolfgang Gartner Discusses "EDM Apocalypse"". DJ City. Archived from the original on 24 November 2013. Retrieved 5 December 2013. To be perfectly honest, and I hate to sound negative, cynical or condescending in any way but that's probably how this will come off, I've been really bummed with most of the new music that's been making waves in 2013. I feel like the "big" sound in dance music right now is just this mashup of every single subgenre possible, to try and appeal to the most people possible, with these cheesy played-out trancey pads and vocal hooks, it all sounds exactly the same and it's really bad for the most part, and the scariest thing is that people are reacting to this stuff, crowds at festivals and clubs are wanting more of it. A few of us have deemed it the EDM Apocalypse. Electronic music is in a really weird place right now. I don't know where it's going to go. In some way I'm hoping Daft Punk single-handedly destroys this phenomenon we're experiencing and un-brainwashes everybody into realizing that real music should have some soul and authenticity to it, and not just be a big kick drum and a trance breakdown with a cheesy one-liner and a "big drop."
  11. ^ Smith, Russell (26 December 2013). "Electronic dance music and the rise of the big night out". The Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on 15 July 2014. Retrieved 29 December 2013.