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Will there ever be another rock music scene?

Tampa Florida has no rock music scene. But then again, neither does the rest of America.

Someone emailed me recently about an article I wrote back in 2012 about how the rock music scene in Tampa Bay Florida completely sucks (and still does). The guy basically agreed with me and said that while he was living in Florida (he's since moved away to some other US state), there was a small but vibrant rock scene here. But then it just seemed to up and vanish like a fart in the wind.

I replied to his email and said the same thing to him that I've said to others. In order for a guitar player to make any money these days, you have to play country music because that genre needs guitars in order to sound like it should. Electric guitars, bass guitars, steel guitars, acoustic guitars, resonator guitars and so on...

...but that doesn't answer the question of whether there will ever be another rock music scene not just in Tampa but pretty much anywhere.

Will there ever be another rock scene?

Yes, I think so. But the approach has to be modernized.

Things can't go back to the pre-internet ways of the '80s, nor should anyone want them to.

Things also can't be 100% online-only like it is now, because that doesn't work either.

What I believe is going to be the next big thing for smaller rock bands actually depends on a clever use of local and mobile technology:

Streaming every single live show.

It is possible, and easy, to use 4G LTE connectivity from a smartphone or tablet to broadcast a gig from YouTube or other live stream service. The only problem is getting the audio to sound correct, because everything has to be fed to a mixer, then to the mobile device, then out to the internet. The hardware to do all this already exists.

In other words, every band needs a "tech roadie", as in the guy or girl whose job is getting that stream looking and sounding proper.

Now when I say stream every single live show, I don't care if the gig is in someone's basement or backyard with an audience of less than 10 people. Every single show gets streamed, and then afterward published as a regular video once the show is complete for people to view that missed the stream.

Why aren't bands streaming live more?

Mobile technology limitations in the US. Limitations that will soon be gone, mind you.

The situation is either:

  1. Can't afford 4G LTE data plan
  2. Coverage sucks
  3. Price of phone powerful enough to stream too expensive
  4. All of the above

Smartphones are continuing to dive in price, as are the data plans. What once cost $100/month just a year ago is now $60/month for unlimited full-speed 4G LTE on some carriers in the US. And I'm certain that when the unlimited data plan prices drop to $50 and then $40/month or lower, oh yes, rock bands will do well with their live streaming...

...IF THEY DON'T SUCK.

Yeah, there's that thing called talent. That's still required. While the band doesn't have to be insanely good, they can't suck, either.

What is the point of streaming every live show?

Reason #1: It's live

People like watching live video on the internet because it gives one a sense of participating in something special. There's no rewind nor fast-forward because it's all live. And that's cool.

Reason #2: Really easy way to get a following

With each new live show broadcasted and then published afterward, word will spread (again, presuming the band doesn't suck) and the audience will grow because the band is tackling both the local and internet audiences at the same time.

Reason #3: What other course of action is there?

It's like I said a moment ago. You can't go back to the '80s way of doing things, and you can't do everything solely online, so the proper smart thing to do is combine local + online by streaming every gig.

If you can't afford it or the connectivity isn't there, you're not alone

A lot of small rock bands exist that would love to stream all the gigs they play, but can't due to cost and/or connectivity concerns.

If you happen to be in one of those bands and really like the stream-it-all idea, my suggestion to you is to start doing research. Find out about every mobile carrier that's available in your area. Find out what phones they have. Find out how much the unlimited data plans cost. Find out what software/apps you can use to stream with. Find out what audio hardware you can connect to the phone/tablet for feeding out to the stream.

The moment you find a way to afford the tech and get the right hardware to stream, go for it.

Whoever gets the jump on this early is sure to do well, and possibly create a new rock scene...

...if, again, the band doesn't suck. 🙂

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