It is often that I hear people talk about the music scene, and how it has vanished from our city - whichever city you happen to be in - or how it "doesn't support" local acts. Where did the scene go? Truth is, most musicians and bands have taken care of slowly helping it disappear.
The music scene of any city depends on the interaction between musicians and fans, and the understanding that musicians ARE ALSO fans. Or at least they should be!
What is “The Scene” and why is it failing?
The scene is a setting in which several people interact individually, but guided by a common goal, influence or subject. Like-minded people sharing experiences and getting together acting like a mass. The scene is a living organism formed by individuals.
As the “organized” music industry (big labels, radio, etc…) slowly fades away and the reins are taken by the independent musicians, artists and patrons, every individual starts to forget about the “organism” thus making it almost absurd to even think of a scene at this point; however, what we’re gaining in freedom, we’re losing in LOCAL exposure.
Most people are afraid of trying new things, call it the comfort zone, and therefore they don’t want to go out and “waste their time” to catch a band live they’ve never heard of: Are they good? What do they play? Is the singer hot? and so on. THIS is the very point where we are all failing at. We are forgetting that communication is what has brought us here to this point and age.
A simple “come check this band out, they’re awesome” will change the way someone plans their night out, “I’ll be at [concert venue], meet me there!” will make people stumble upon new things without thinking of the risk of wasting any time.
Social media interaction has taken the human out of communications, and even when I enjoy the ability to invite a zillion people to my events at the same time without a personalized message for each one, I also feel like I’m being bombarded with spam every time I get invited to somebody else’s events. The element of recommendation isn’t there, you’re just spewing out words to everyone expecting for one or two to catch onto it.
Obviously Social Media isn’t going anywhere, it is a massive tool for us to interact with people from all over the world, share experiences and learn from others but as the interaction grows online, we find it more and more difficult to talk to each other outside.
Can we fix it?
-The Social Media Approach
Of course we can! There are many ways to positively affect our environment, in fact, social media is an amazing tool for our purpose, IT IS being used every single second to do exactly what we need to be doing.
I know I was just blabbing about how much social media has affected our communication skills, and the things we say and who gets to see those things, all in a negative way; but truth is, blaming the tools isn’t going to take us anywhere other than the place we were before.
Engaging an audience that lacks attention is a massive challenge, but nobody ever said it would be easy. First off, your offer must be good, there’s no negotiating that, if you are writing music, make sure you pour every ounce of creativity into it, make your videos stand out, write every word thinking of every single one of your followers, keep things neutral and balanced and accept any feedback you receive, be it good or bad. Steer towards that direction if you feel that is appropriate.
Of course! That’s what everyone has been saying for the last million years, I’m only spitting out words to make sure we’re on the same page. The real fun starts with me telling you that YOU are not only the creator, you are also the audience.
See? These days being creative and talented isn’t enough, there are many more people like you in the world and chances are that if you come up with an idea someone else has had the same idea before, and that’s OK. You’re not reinventing the wheel, and you shouldn’t! Instead, find all the people who are thinking like you, befriend them, establish connections and share their work, that will not only help you as they will act reciprocally, but it will give you new perspectives and teach you a lot of things that you couldn’t have come up with on your own.
The collaborative model has been active and thriving for decades, but right now with the ease of access and the online tools it’s more important than ever to become part of bigger networks of like-minded people, and once you start sharing your audience, they will also start sharing theirs. The world doesn’t have enough fans, but it certainly has enough creators, and as one number increases the other plummets.
Keep the numbers balanced, be a fan, engage with other creators and share their work, collaborate, get to work with some of those new friends.
-Real Life Stuff
Just like social media, real life depends on your contact with other people. For the business isn’t any different; having loads of talent and creativity aren’t going to take you anywhere unless you make yourself available and the best way of doing this is by going out to shows and exhibitions, meeting people from your local network and engaging with them, proposing possible collaborative projects and getting actively involved. Talk to promoters, venues, fellow artists and figure out the outlets, the public and come up with ways to attract bystanders, get people you don’t know and make them WANT to meet you.
Just as I stated in the social media approach, you aren’t only a creator, you’re also the audience and you need to act like it, stay until the end of a show and ask your friends to do the same, connect your friends to the other artists and help them establish a relationship with them as well; the more people connected the better and more active your circle becomes, and in the end, this is what drives “the scene”.
In short, to fix your scene, we need to work together helping each other out.
Think of all of this as a local business, supplied by local producers and entrepreneurs. The base of this model will inevitably start with friends and family and the word will spread to the point that others, uninvolved at first, will start engaging in your premise and will buy into it bringing more and more people with time. For this model to work, mutual support is necessary, but in the end the results can be promising and fulfilling.
What are your opinions on this? Let me know on Twitter @AlejandroPino
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