The Problem With Your Local Scene


Recently I’ve seen a blog post making it’s rounds on Facebook explaining the problem with local music. I won’t blame you if you only read the first few paragraphs here, it’s pretty long winded. Really, all of it can be summed up in the opening of the second paragraph: “One of the main things we need in order to get a better music scene is for people to get off their asses, stop complaining, and go to a show. That’s it, it really is that simple.”

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I agree with this statement, but I disagree with the way of thinking. Sure, the main thing needed to have a vibrant local scene is an audience, but it is wrong to place all the blame of a scenes failure on the inability of anyone to come to shows. If people aren’t coming to shows there’s probably a reason…

We’re given a few examples: laziness, Netflix, cheapness… probably a few more. Like I said, it wasn’t an extremely interesting post. I’m assuming that most people don’t show up to see the bands because they’re boring. I’m not surprised this post has gained traction among my friends in local bands because it does something they’ve been doing for years; blaming others for their failures.

I find that a lot of my friends in local bands are extremely opposed to constructive criticism. All they want is for people to blow smoke up their asses and tell them they make great music. I’ve heard a lot of excuses for why people don’t come to shows (many of them the same ones features in the No One Likes Your Band Post), and why people will drive 90 miles to see Mushroomhead but not 30 miles to see their band.

But you all miss the point… the problem is that your band isn’t that good. People do pay $200 to see major acts like Fleetwood Mac and the Eagles because they write damn good songs that connect with people. And I have seen a few local bands that connect with people pull in some impressive crowds. They don’t go to see your band for $10 because your band sucks. People go to see Mushroomhead, Dax Riggs, Katy Perry, One Direction or whoever because they enjoy seeing this band and find them worth their time and money.

If no one is coming to see your band it’s because no one feels you’re worth their time or money. 

Don’t get me wrong, I understand how these guys feel. My last band, Bastard Friendly, didn’t achieve the success I hoped we would. But unlike a lot of my peers I don’t blame my audience. I appreciate the people that gave us some time and listened to us. I just wish we could have continued to grow, write and develop so that we could have become the type of band people would spent $10 and an evening with. Because when we went on hiatus, we weren’t.

47057723The sad fact of the matter is that watching Arrested Development on Netflix is a lot more fun than going to see most local bands. And that’s not the fault of Jason Bateman, Michael Cera, Ron Howard, Mitchell Hurwitz or some Netflix fat-cat, but the fault of all these local bands that don’t work hard to create great music and just want to coast to super stardom.

You get out of it what you put into it.

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