How to build a thriving music scene in your city | Elizabeth Cawein

How does a city become known as a “music city”? Publicist Elizabeth Cawein explains how thriving music scenes make cities healthier and happier and shares ideas for bolstering your local music scene — and showing off your city’s talent to the world.

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21 thoughts on “How to build a thriving music scene in your city | Elizabeth Cawein”

  1. I see a lot of pessimism here. Pessimism never created anything. If you are a musician, it is time to take the tools taught here and use them. You need to move out of the spare room in your house. Contact people, coffee shops, restaurants and take the chance. I get a lot of "no's", then I walk over and knock on the next door. Rejection is part of creation. You will find places that want to see, hear, and be involved in the creation. Find other people who will create with you. It isn't easy to make money at all the gig's. There you have to make a choice, love to play, play for tips, work your way up to the paying gig's. Or don't play at all.

  2. I live in a rural community that generally does not support live music. Recently, two restaurants tried hosting local acoustic acts and got visits from a licensing agency. They either had to pay a licensing fee or stop the music. Both eateries are small, struggling, and thought music might help sell a few more entrees. It was helping a little. Neither decided to get the license.
    We also have a brand new used book store/coffee shop that had hoped to host open mics but that is now on hold due to the situation the restaurants faced. I'm not against writers and artists getting paid but it seems corporate music is digging its reach even deeper, preventing small venues from hosting a singer, guitar player without it costing too much money.

  3. Whatever anyone else thinks, as a musician I am very happy TED chose to let someone talk about this. Local music is so important.

  4. As a musician who has struggled for many years in a city that is home to some of the biggest names of the rock era, I can tell you first hand that exposure is the key ingredient. But exposure means some club owner, or venue owner, looking at his/her finances and deciding that spending X-dollars on a band is a better investment than spending Y-dollars on a DJ. Usually, the DJ wins out because Y is less than X. The other option is the willingness of band members to put in the time and effort necessary to have a 3 to 4-hour gig, but get paid next to nothing for it. Week after week, until you garner a big following or hit that lucky jackpot with an A&R person in the audience when you're hitting your stride.

    There's some exceptional talent that never gets 'discovered', and a lot of average talent that hits it big.

  5. I really think the insane cost of going out has been what really hurt seeing live music. I mean, people could stay home and for a few dollars a month watch countless shows on their smart TV's snuggled up with their significant loved ones or they could go to some bar and pay $8 a drink and worry about getting a DUI to see some random local band perform. Hmm it's not hard to see why local music is hurting these days.

  6. Any decent sized city in this country should, and probably does have a decent music scene. There are so many musicians out there today.

  7. Good art comes from struggle. This is why The new generation of privileged trust-fund hipsters will never create significant art. That and the fact that they are compliant with the new Orwellian surveillance state. Where is the freedom to create in that? They only copy the previous and now dead genius what was once the middle class or lower classes. As the middle is being collapsed into the lower, there is not much money to buy instruments or time to work on ones craft. But only to be a slave to the “gig economy” etc. Meanwhile the privileged can rip their jeans precisely across their knees in some sad attempt to echo the revolutions of punk rock in the late 1970s. Real question is what to do about this lost soulless nihilist culture, that values nothing but their selfie.


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