Has technology killed the local music scene?

People in the Hacienda Nightclub during the Madchester music scene era

The Madchester music scene at The Hacienda nightclub (Photo by Clive Hunte/Redferns) - Credit: Clive Hunte/Redferns

Pre-internet, famous local music scenes were everywhere.

Liverpool’s Merseybeat scene was one of the first, inspired by the infiltration of American rock 'n' roll. 

Seattle’s grunge was defined by its distinctive sound, created through cheap recording techniques as plaid-clad, long haired frontmen sang about depression.  

The Haçienda nightclub, along with bucket hats, bowl haircuts, guitars and ‘baggy’ fashion became emblematic of the local music scene in Manchester. ’Madchester’ as it was known, was an amalgamation of Balearic sounds from Ibiza and Manchester’s rock heritage, which exploded in the late 1980s and early 1990s.  

Music scenes like these defined a whole era of music, fashion and attitudes and continues to influence modern music culture to this day.

But are the days of defining music scenes by location dying out? 

Since the internet and all that it entails, the way that we consume, create and experience music has evolved and although genres are still instrumental in defining music styles and sounds, they rarely have anything to do with location anymore. 

Most Read

These days, music scenes seem to be built on drawing similarities in sound and image between musicians, rather than the places that they grew up in. 

Of course, there are still local venues in which our towns and cities can provide a springboard for independent artists, but the need to cultivate a local ‘scene’ doesn’t seem that imperative anymore.

Thanks to the internet, bedroom musicians can reach a global audience and find success almost overnight through social media platforms and online music critics. 

Because of this, emerging artists feel like local community support isn’t needed. Instead, artists are building communities on social media with no geographical restraints. 

However, even if the local music scenes from the past now seem like historical remnants, they have still managed to work their way into modern music culture and fashion. 

Even in a world where everything seems as though it is constantly changing, people will always be attracted to what they are familiar with.

If the heritage of local music scenes such as Madchester and Merseybeat hep to filter the proliferation of ideas we have today, then maybe the local music scene will never truly die out for good.