Most musicians would probably agree that the following term holds a negative connotation; “local band.” It’s akin to calling someone an amateur. Nevertheless, the stock of “local” is going up. Locally grown vegetables are selling better than ever and new farmers markets are popping up year-after-year. Buying from your neighborhood “Mom and Pop” hardware/pharmacy/convenience store thus thumbing your nose at the Walton family is a favorite pass time to many in the “liberal elite.” But it still sucks to be in a “local band.” Or does it?
The general consensus amongst music aficionados is there will never be another “rock star.” U2 and Aerosmith are the last of a dying breed. Major label sales have been plummeting since the dawn of the internet; which was promptly accused for the decline, and was (partially) to blame. Yet, the internet was not culpable because of Napster and its successors. It wasn’t guilty because of the advent of MP3s and iPods. It was to blame because people were given a choice. No longer was “crate digging” limited to snobby NY DJs in pursuit of a rare 78. Everyone could find and/or be promoted to/from anything. For that reason, major label sales are down, but music sales are up. The internet gave everyone the power to be a snob. And because snobs are innately narcissistic bastards who think their physical proximity played a part in inspiration (or simply feel a little more connection with the creator based on similar life experience), they especially enjoy art developed in their own backyard. So, if the death of the rock star is truly at hand what’s next?
Regional rule and infinitesimal-genres. The world is experiencing the most widely spread minutely refined class of pop music it has ever seen. No matter what you’re into, you can find it. Hell, you can probably find it a couple blocks away (or at most, the nearest large city). It’s a remarkable resource that has yet to be fully exploited. Most people are still stuck in the hype machine. But if consumption continues to follow the trend of “local = better” we could all bear witness to looks of pride when a couple of musicians are referred to as a “local band.”