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The Death of the Local Music Scene

January 13, 2012 2 comments

I am tired of being asked to “Support Local Music”. Being 'local' doesn't make an artist good.

As Derek Miller points out, supporting local music is not a good value proposition. There is a significant investment in time (driving to the venue, giving up a night, etc.), expense (gas, cover, etc.), and credibility dollars invested from dragging a friend along with you. If the show wasn’t great, you feel burned.

When was the last time you walked out of a show and said, “That show was terrible but at least I’m supporting local music.”?

I never say that.

Who filters their playlists / Pandora stations for exclusively local music (if that’s even possible)?

Nobody.
There’s a big reason ‘local music’ doesn’t mean what it used to mean: The Internet. Look, I can see why checking out the local music scene was a big deal in the past.

Discovering new artists before they got big was only possible locally. Local artists were the only ones you had a reasonable expectation of interacting with and fans want to have a relationship with their favorite artists. If an artist was known to anyone from a distant state or country, it’s because there was a significant promotion and distribution investment in that artist by his or her label. 

Today, people rarely go through the effort to go to a bunch of local shows to discover the next big thing because of the large investment of time and money and there is so much crappy music in any local scene.

Now, people can scour blogs, take recommendations from Rdio or Spotify, or listen to a Pandora station to discover new artists (for free!). The location of these artists is inconsequential. Artists can distribute their own music cheaply all over the globe and interact with fans directly via Facebook, Twitter, or various other social networking sites. Being local no longer matters.
Being good, memorable, remarkable, or surprising matters. Engaging your fans matters. Having a solid live show matters.

Remarkable artists are gathering small numbers of fans all over before being ‘discovered’ by labels. This presents an interesting new problem for small artists though. If their fans are scattered across the country and they don’t have the critical mass for a nationwide tour yet, how can they get on the road and engage their fans live?

This is the problem we’re trying to solve at GigFunder. Let the fans decide which ‘local’ acts they want to see without being limited by the geographic location of new artists.

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