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Rhetorical Analysis of EDMs Popularity is it the Music, the People, or the Drugs!?
Carlos A. Pando
University of Texas at El Paso



The YouTube video EDMs Popularity is it the Music, the People, or ULP! THE
DRUGS, authored by The Point with Ana Kasparian, is a talk show that incorporates host
Ana Kasparian and other co-hosts who discuss electronic dance musics popularity, and talk
about how drug use has affected this scene as a whole. This YouTube video was created with the
intention of promoting facts and professional opinions about raves and EDM festivals. The panel
is composed of Jenny Churchill (Producer TakePart Live on PivotTV), Max Lugavere (Host
AOLs Acting Disruptive), and Jackie Kopell (Comedian, Host TeaPartyReport). In an effort to
achieve a better understanding of the teams informative and persuasive strategies, this paper
seeks to analyze the intended audience, purpose and use of rhetorical appeals: ethos, pathos, and
The intended audience for the YouTube video EDMs Popularity is it the Music, the
People, or ULP! THE DRUGS, is an audience that has to computers and the Internet, people
who are fond of talk shows on YouTube, and primarily people who might be critical of electronic
dance music due to drug use at its events (The Point with Ana Kasparian, 2013). This YouTube
video is clearly aimed at people who have a negative view of such music festivals due to their
bad reputation of drug abuse, although it is also aimed at fans and followers of EDM who might
not be knowledgeable about the issue. Throughout the video, the host and panel tend to be liberal
and hope to reach a similar kind of audience. Jenny Churchill had something in mind about the
issue and said: Lets give people the knowledge that they need to have a safer experience and
not pretend its not happening (2013). Churchill tries to persuade her audience into not taking
disciplinary action towards drugs use, but take a cautionary one instead. By expanding awareness
of how to properly use or avoid drugs, one can surprisingly decrease the use of drugs and



casualties that could arise from the situation. Thus, one can identify that the intended audience
are people who are computer savvy who spend time on YouTube and people who have negative
or positive perceptions of the use of drugs in the electronic dance music scene.
In addition, the purpose of this YouTube video is to inform its audience by presenting
facts and verified professional opinions about the misuse of drugs in the electronic dance music
festival scene. It further aims to persuade its audience to adopt a liberal stance on this issue and
to exercise logical thinking. Jackie Kopell thinks that drug use is inevitable and that its presence
will always remain at these events, but she knows that death is related to a really bad mix
(2013) of impure drugs. She also said: Do you preach abstinence or safe sex? Are we going to
talk about no drug use whatsoever or are we going to live in a somewhat realistic world and say:
Since it will happen, how do we prevent it from being dangerous (2013)? With the hope of
correctly comparing these two big topics, Kopell explains that drugs will always be there, but
that accidents and casualties can easily be diminished. It can be inferred that the host and panel
in this video try to inform and persuade the audience to be accepting and tolerant of this
amazing and unifying scene (2013).
In continuation, ethos (credibility) is the most prevalent rhetorical appeal used in this
YouTube video. First, the panel in this talk show are verified and take part in several shows other
than the one being analyzed in this paper. The panel is composed of Jenny Churchill who is a
producer at TakePart Live on PivotTV, Max Lugavere, the host of AOLs Acting Disruptive, and
Jackie Kopell, a comedian and host in TeaPartyReport. Second, even though opinions are mostly
expressed throughout the video, facts are also conveyed to the audience. For example, Lugavere
stated: In general, the concert promoters are doing a really good job with reaching out to
people with, for example, free water stations throughout the festival area to keep people from



dehydrating, and more importantly, to decrease the fatal effects of overdosing (water intake can
decrease overdose effects) (2013). The use of facts by the professionals appearing in this video
lends strong credibility to their message, and strengthens the ethos of the video overall.
The video makes fewer appeals to the audiences emotions. Pathos is not a strong
rhetorical device used in this video, although it is used in small segments throughout the
YouTube video. You watch people who normally might not be so inhibited having a great time
and I think its a special feeling where everyone is connected to the music. It does not matter
what you think or who you love and everyone is having a great time (2013). The host and panel
try to explain that electronic dance music festivals give participants a unique feeling and
experience that no other music genre can give. Through a small clip in the beginning of the talk
show, the speakers try to make the viewer feel the energy experienced. Even if critics say that
you can only experience that unique feeling and experience under the effects of drugs, Keith
Story, an EDM enthusiast from Atlanta, GA, said: They [music festivals] attract a lot of people
because everyone is accepting of everybody. There is no discrimination, you do not care about
who is who and who is what. It is just about the people, man (2013). Both Churchill and Story
try to share a unique feeling that is experienced in a rave or music festival through the people and
the music, and not through the use of drugs like most critics would argue. The moderate use of
devices used to appeal to the audiences emotions give a pleasant feeling of excitement and an
energetic experience when commenting about the activities in a music festival in EDMs
Popularity is it the People, the Music, or ULP! THE DRUGS!?.
Much like this videos use of ethos, logos in the form of facts and statistics are also used
often throughout EDMs Popularity is it the People, the Music, or ULP! THE DRUGS!?.
Jenny Churchill shared the article Electric Zoo Deaths Confirmed as Drug Overdoses from the



Rolling Stone magazines website. Back in 2013, Electric Zoo New York was forced to cancel its
third day (three day electronic dance music festival) after orders from the mayor after news that
two young adults had died on the night of the second day and four more were hospitalized due to
drug overdose (Blistein, 2013). Since there is evidence to support this drug issue, the viewer can
detect strong credibility by Churchills use of established facts. Logos is used in a minimal way
compared to ethos since its a talk show and opinions are a main part of it, but the small use of
facts strengthen those opinions. The talk show gives us enough proof that the information shared
in this video is true because it is verified as a professional organization by YouTubes policy.
Most of the comments made by the host and panel are biased, but they base their opinions on
strong facts and statistics.
In conclusion, EDMs Popularity is it the People, the Music, or ULP! THE
DRUGS!? contains a strong use of ethos and logos, but somewhat lacks in rhetorical appeals to
pathos. This can be seen through the audience the video is directed to, the purpose intended
behind the comments of the host and panel, and the three rhetorical appeals that were analyzed in
depth. As a result, individuals who may have had a negative view of such events hopefully
changed their point of view about electronic dance music festivals or at least kept an open mind.



The Point by Ana Kasparian (2013, December 8). EDMs popularity is it the people, the music,
or ulp! the drugs [Video File]!?
Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CA4zsm81_zg
John Blistein (2013, September 13). Electric zoo deaths confirmed as drug overdoses
Retrieved from http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/electric-zoo-deaths-confirmedas-drug-overdoses-20130913