Over the weekend Deadmau5 went even deeper, taking to his Tumblr to explain exactly how little the big names headlining the big EDM festivals—himself included—actually do onstage. And he gets into specifics:
I think given about 1 hour of instruction, anyone with minimal knowledge of ableton and music tech in general could DO what im doing at a deadmau5 concert. Just like i think ANY DJ in the WORLD who can match a beat can do what "ANYONE else" (not going to mention any names) is doing on their EDM stages too.
i dont have any shame in admitting that for "unhooked" sets.. i just roll up with a laptop and a midi controller and "select" tracks n hit a spacebar. ableton syncs the shit up for me… so no beatmatching skill required. "beatmatching" isnt even a fucking skill as far as im concered anyway.
Anyone who's been to an EDM festival and not completely wrecked on drugs the whole time may have suspected that this is the case, since most of the big-stage sets are synched up perfectly with insanely complicated light shows and a lot of performers spend more time with their hands in the air than on any piece of gear. Deadmau5 goes on to argue that his and other EDM artists' real talents lie in the studio work that leads to these cushy "live" gigs, which I think might be a valid point. I haven't quite gotten around to examining the thought too closely, because I'm currently too distracted by fantasizing about being able to charge $100,000 or more just to hit a spacebar.