Detroit has been cited as the birthplace of techno music. Prominent Detroit Techno artists include Juan Atkins, Derrick May, Kevin Saunderson, and Carl Craig. The template for a new style of dance music (that by the mid to late 1980s was being referred to as techno) was primarily developed by four individuals, Juan Atkins, Kevin Saunderson, Derrick May ("The Belleville Three"), and Eddie Fowlkes, all of whom attended high school together at Belleville High School, near Detroit, Michigan. By the close of the 1980s the four had operated under various guises: Atkins as Model 500, Flintstones, and Magic Juan; Fowlkes simply as Eddie "Flashin" Fowlkes; Saunderson as Reese, Keynotes, and Kaos; with May using the aliases Mayday, R-Tyme, and Rhythim Is Rhythim. There were also a number of joint ventures, the most commercially successful of which was the Atkins and Saunderson (with James Pennington) collaboration on the first Inner City single Big Fun. Prior to achieving notoriety the budding musicians, mix tape traders, and aspiring DJ's found inspiration in Midnight Funk Association, an eclectic, 5-hour, late-night radio program hosted on various Detroit radio stations including WCHB, WGPR, and WJLB-FM from 1977 through the mid-1980s by DJ Charles "The Electrifying Mojo" Johnson. Mojo's show featured heavy doses of electronic sounds from the likes of Giorgio Moroder, Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream alongside the funk of Parliament and the new wave sounds of the B-52s.
Of the four individuals responsible for establishing techno as a genre in its own right, it is Juan Atkins who is recognized as the originator; indeed in 1995 American music technology publication Keyboard Magazine honored Atkins as one of "12 Who Count" in the history of keyboard music (this is remarkable considering Detroit techno was still relatively unknown in the United States at that time despite its notoriety in Europe). In the early 1980s Atkins began recording with musical partner Richard "3070" Davis (and later with a third member Jon-5) as Cybotron. This trio released a number of electro inspired tunes, the best known of which is "Clear". Eventually, Atkins started producing his own music under the pseudonym Model 500, and in 1985 he established the record label Metroplex. In the same year he released a seminal work entitled "No UFO's" which, in terms of its aesthetic values, is credited by many as the first Detroit techno production. Another earlier track that is often cited is A Number of Names' Sharevari.
Electro-disco tracks share with techno a dependence on machine-generated beats and dancefloor popularity. However, the comparisons remain contentious; as do the efforts to regress further into the past to find antecedents. The logical extension of this rationale entails a further regression: to the sequenced electronic music of Raymond Scott (The Rhythm Modulator, The Bass-Line Generator, and IBM Probe, being remarkable examples of techno-like music). Simply put, all music which is or was electronic is not techno. With the exception of Atkins if you asked these artists what genre of music they were making it would be the style of the day. The word techno was first referenced in Cybotron's 1984 release "Techno City" on Fantasy Records.