Now, I’ve been reading a lot lately about why people should support their local music scenes, and, while most of these arguments have been relatively convincing, I think that they are missing one of the vital incentives that win people over – namely selfishness. I’m talking about the “what’s in it for me” factor, by which I mean that altruism alone really can’t convince anyone of …well, anything.
I mean can any of us really claim in all honesty that they have ever done something based on purely altruistic motives? I’m going to go ahead and answer for you and say ‘probably not’. Even the holiest of saints, while doing deeds of wonder and glory, did it because, deep in their heart of hearts, they believed that that was the ticket to heaven.
Now, I’m not trying to say that nobody in this world is capable of good. All I’m trying to get across is that selfish motives are the most fundamental of motives and consequently they work the best. And so, in light of my pessimistic outlook on life, I have come up with a simple list of three selfish reasons for why you should support your local music scene:
1. You Should Decide what You and Others Should Listen To
We all think we know what’s best when it comes to music, right? Well, at least I do (you may have gathered as much by reading my previous posts). I mean, I’m the kind of guy who walks into a party and starts complaining about the fact that some drunk f***wit has decided to go ahead and put on every Led Zeppelin album on start to finish. And if you’re anything like me then you’re also the kind of guy who wants to let other people know just where they’re going wrong and give them something much better to listen to.
Being involved in your local music scene gives you this power – but on a much larger scale than abducting the iPod at a party. How it works is this; when you go to a concert or buy an independently produced local EP or album you are showing your support for a local band, and if that band gets enough local support and funding then they will be able to tour throughout a much larger area than your locale and print more EPs/albums. This means that the bands you like and support are going to be the ones that make it out of your particular town and reach a much larger audience all because of you!
You are actually giving people who have never listened to your particular local band the opportunity to listen to them and, by extension, you are actually causing them to listen to that band. Really, it’s like being able to run right up and plug your iPod into the dock of the entire country’s P.A system.
The other side of this is that the more exposure your favourite local band gets the better chance it has of getting a record deal and hitting the big time. I mean, did you really think that Sony and Universal just walked into clubs at random and picked out the band that was going to be ‘the next big thing’? No. These guys do a lot of research into what the locals are listening to: who most people are going to see, what bands have the best selling EPs, what bands have the best reception outside of their hometown etc. So what happens when you support your favourite local band is that their profile gets boosted and that means that your favourite local band has a better chance of becoming everyone’s favourite band.
Now, I’m not saying that just because you go out and buy someone’s EP that they’re going to become famous overnight, but it does help. No band (excluding here the studio manufactured groups like The Spice Girls and One Direction) ever got primetime famous without a dedicated group of local followers. So get out there right now and support the best local act you’ve got! It’s like plugging your iPod into the entire world’s sound system!
2. It’s Cheap
This reason is probably much more selfish than the last one, I mean it doesn’t even have any real discernable advantage for the band itself (if anything it’s a downside for your chosen group), but nevertheless it is true. Going to see a local band is cheap.
For example, I went out to see one of my preferred local bands the other night (I’m not telling you who, but if you read my blog you can probably figure it out) and after paying for my own and my fiancé’s tickets, buying a couple of beers, and buying the group’s new EP I found that I had only spent around forty-five dollars (NOTE: I live in Australia so this might seem a bit expensive to some of my foreign readers, but I assure you it is not). It would have cost me at least that much for me to buy one ticket alone to see a big name band! I mean, I saw Alice Cooper live some years back and it cost me almost one-hundred a pop for those tickets! Who has that kind of money? Certainly not me!
So, the moral of this story is that seeing your local bands and supporting the local scene just makes good economic sense. It’s much cheaper than any big name group and you’ll probably be able to see better because the venue’s smaller. And isn’t that what we all really want?
3. Bragging Rights
Now, this reason might sound like the worst and most inane of all of them, but I assure you that it might be the most important and rewarding in the long run.
What I mean here by ‘bragging rights’ is that if you are lucky enough to be a fan of a band that becomes famous after they leave your local scene, then you have the right to brag to anyone and everyone about the fact that you knew them before ‘they were cool’. This might seem stupid and self-indulgent, but, when you think about it, it is true. You knew this band when they were just starting out and trying to carve a name for themselves in the harsh bark of the music industry, and now that they’re well known you have every right to let others know that. And if you payed any attention to reason one, then you have the right to brag about the fact that the only reason that they’re famous is because of you (even if it’s not strictly true).
And if you payed any attention to the second reason I gave for supporting your local music scene then you might have realized that the other great upside to bragging rights is that it was cheap in the first place and you might be able to make a little bit of money of it. That’s right there is money to be made if you support your local music scene!
Now, of course, just heading down to your local tavern every Friday night to see the town’s Kiss cover band isn’t going to guarantee you bucket-loads of cash, but if you think about it the concept is sound. I mean, just think about those Beatles fans who were there from the beginning ripping posters from the walls and getting the then unknown John and Paul to sign them.
John and Paul would be beside themselves that someone thought enough of them to get them to sign a poster and they would have done it for nothing, but now that poster is probably worth (roughly) one-billion-trillion dollars! Just think if the band you like right now, that band that nobody’s ever heard of, turned out to be as big as The Beatles. You payed next to nothing to get in, you stole a poster from the wall, the band were chuffed to sign something for one of their few fans, and now you’re a multi-billion-trillion-aire!
Of course, this kind of scenario is unlikely, but… you never know.
So, from all of this it can be seen that there are many (or at least three) good reasons to support your local music scene. So, why are you at home reading this? Get out there and start cheering on your favourite local band!
- Feature: The Los Angeles Local Scene (goldmanjessica.wordpress.com)
- Guest Feature: Stefan Ferencz – Curator Of I Found Music (avoidingsilence.com)
- Supporting Local Acts: Bars Featuring Local Pheonix Bands (local.answers.com)