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Monday, November 8, 2010

Why the Scene Sucks

There have been a few stories written about the public's disdain for local music printed in the various newspapers and websites that cover such things. I thought I would throw my hat in the ring.

  1. Residents don't buy local band albums or music. 
    1. There are only a few places where a fan or potential fan can buy local music.  They can buy it at a show (the difficulties of which will be explained below), they can buy it at a store (see last months adventure with Used Kids Records), or they can buy it online from the bands' website.  The problem with buying online is that many bands don't have websites with music available to download.  Some are still on Myspace only and the company that allows bands to sell music on Myspace has a very poor reputation for actually paying the bands. Of course, the biggest obstacle to online sales of local music is how do you get people to listen to your music in the first place in order for them to want to buy it?
  2. People don't go to local shows.
    1. People DO go to local shows; just not that often.  Some people only go to local concerts; usually people who are hipsters and friends with everyone and probably in a band as well.  Some people will go through life having never seen a local concert.  But most people will go to at least a few because they know someone who begs and pleads for all their friends to see their band play at some overpriced shit-hole like Pub 161 outside the City.  
    2. There is one thing about our city that people often complain about but has, as far as I can tell, been completely ignored in this argument.  This issue is that of public transportation.  COTA does not have the coverage, nor does it run late enough on enough lines to be more than the half-assed mediocre bus system that it is.  I don't own a vehicle and use COTA quite frequently; I know first hand how limited it is.  Add COTA's crappy coverage with how spread out Columbus is with sprawl, and that Central Ohio is the DUI capital of the world, and you don't have a city conducive to lots of people going out to bars at night and enjoying their local artists.
  3. Local music doesn't get enough publicity or media attention.
    1. The Other Paper is very busy patting itself on the back for not being The Columbus Dispatch.
      Alive is owned by The Columbus Dispatch but is trying to be just like The Other Paper.  However, The Other Paper and Alive do a pretty good job of publicizing local music.  They've put local bands on the cover page, each issue has a comprehensive listing of every local concert and event for the next week, and for the most part their music review sections are tight except for Wes Flexner, The Other Paper's hip hop guru, calling The Unholy Two's new album the "Best local album of the year".  The Unholy Two have the album of the year?  uh huh.  There aren't enough blunts in the world to make that a defensible position.  By the way, Chris Lutzko works for the company that publishes The Other Paper - it's not who you are, but who you know.
    2. There are music blogs (Howdy!) that cover local music. Some of them (I assume) are better than this one in various regards.  Music blogs, unlike newspapers and radio, are viral in nature - people with nothing to do and unhealthy internet addictions write about their experiences, other people who are the same read it and repost it or link to it, and casual observers find it and check it out.  I wish there were a lot more music bloggers in Columbus.  There are 5000 food blogs here, and 5 music blogs.  Columbus is full of fatties who hate music.  I wish that was a joke.
    3. The more established web sites have their own issues.  Cringe has "The Columbus Sound,"  whatever that means, since that would assume that all bands in Columbus play the same things.  They don't.  Columbus has one of the most eclectic and varied musical scenes in the country.  Every genre that exists can be found here. Donewaiting is run by a guy in Brooklyn, New York.  That's really all that needs to be said.
    4. CD101 is now CD102.5 for no good reason and has Independent Playground (We miss you Rudy G) and more importantly Frontstage 101 every weeknight at 9.  But you know what would be even cooler?  Local music in the regular rotation (I call for this in just about every Sounding Board survey I take).  How about a contest (like the Blitz's Choose It or Lose It) where listeners call in and vote on local music to be played on regular rotation?  I mean, you've played 2 Howlin' Maggie songs, 2 Watershed songs, and a musical abortion by Earwig.  How about some new, and good local stuff played throughout the day?  The Blitz is less shitty than ever!  They actually play metal now and let the DJ's have more of a say in what is played. If The Blitz had a daily local stuff version of Choose It or Lose it for hard rock and metal bands, it would get the audience involved and act as somewhat of a filter for bands - competition breeds exception.  
These were just some thoughts I had after reading various articles and listening to various radio stations and talking to various musicians.
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