The Local Lens: On the importance of Local Music
I get it, the rules and regulations are a pain to deal with at the venues. You just want to go enjoy yourself, grab a drink with your friends, dance, laugh. We all need more laughter these days! Trust me, I GET IT!
I admit, with lowered head, that I am only a recent inductee to local music. I was one of those people who would wait for the BIG NAME to come to town, perform at the BIG VENUE, and willing to pay BIG BUCKS to be in a nosebleed seat, crowded elbow-to-elbow with others. Realizing, the experience I paid for, left me in an uncomfortably cramped seat and left to look at the monitors to see who that blip on the stage with the spotlight on them was. But, I guess you can say I saw the light! (Yes, the spotlight!)
It wasn’t until recently, perhaps the past three years, that I discovered how rich this area is in talent. I am hooked. I work my 9-5, then afterward, I am often seen at a local venue, with camera in hand. Then, as a child after an Easter egg hunt, I go through the photos, to see if I managed to catch ‘anything good’. Next, peruse the photos, post the photos, get them to the performers (and venue) and perhaps, write a bit about the show. Yes, it is a lot of work, but I have a passion for this. Like nothing, I have ever had before. But I am not the only one with a passion. The performers; many have the same story as I do- the ‘real job’ followed by doing what they love- instead of nights spent editing and processing photos, they are rehearsing, tweaking, contacting venues to get their bands out there.
And then, there are the true dreamers, the ones who quit the 9-5 to pursue their dream. They believed in themselves and their craft so much, they truly committed to it. They are often met with shaken heads and the responses of, “You will never make it”, “You’re just a small fish in the pond, what makes you think you can succeed where others have failed.” Yet, with these words of ‘encouragement’, they go along. Not willing to give up on themselves.
So, people say to support local music, but why? By supporting your local musician, you are supporting your community.
In this day of faces splattered with the blue-white glow of a digital display, not speaking to one another, lives reduced to what can be seen on a small screen. Why support a musician? What does it matter?
When you support the local musician, you are not only helping the local economy but the community as well. It keeps local venues, restaurants/bars, and music appreciation lively and strong!
But for your own gain, when was the last time, the likes of Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Steve Tyler, Adam Levine or any other “big name” hopped off the stage during a brief intermission to say, “hi, thanks for coming out!”, or shook your hand and said, “we appreciate you being here!”
The local scene is like a family, they support one another, and often can be seen at each other’s shows. They are the ones working in your town, spending money in your town, using the services of other local businesses in your town.
If there is a charity for a neighbor who has taken ill, the local bands are there to help. They provide entertainment so people will come and donate to the needed cause.
So, How do you support Local music?
Go to a show (and bring a friend)
Start with the obvious sure but by simply bringing one person to a local show and introducing them to your favorite local acts you’re doing everyone a service
Like and follow (but also comment and share)
In this crazy social media world of algorithms and advertisements, a ‘like’ is a nice ego boost, but a comment or a share brings attention to an artist’s post. Engagement is the buzzword but really just knowing people are listening is a great feeling
Buy Merch (and wear it!)
That cool band decal or new t-shirt makes a great conversation starter, except if it’s still in the closet.
Follow them on streaming services (and add them to your playlists)
A Spotify play might only equate to $0.004 in royalties or whatever but it’s about the bigger picture. Streaming is the new radio, it’s how music gets spread. And you’ll get tipped off when there’s new music.
Look for band run sites (or at least closely affiliated ones!)
This is not meant to contradict the above idea but following and financially supporting a band through their own site or a place like BandCamp means that all (or most) of what you pay goes straight to the band.
Sign up to email lists (and open the emails)
Again, Facebook et al are good for what they are, but not everything gets to everyone. You can’t support a band if you don’t know what they’re doing!
Write a review
Have you considered posting a review of your own on your own social media page or even here on Nippertown (we are always looking for more writers)? It might feel silly at first but in my experience, it’s a fun thing to do regardless. Most people like sharing their opinion and talking about themselves.
Learn their songs
Nothing sucks the energy from a performance like a person who turns up at an original show and yells out requests for crusty old covers. I guarantee if you request one of their songs they’ll give you the performance of their life and a sing-a-long will only magnify that… it’s a decent ego boost too… This is ESPECIALLY important today when the bands cannot hear you or feel your energy!