The NYC Music Scene and How It Has Changed In 20 Years


The New York City Music Scene and How It Has Changed In 20 Years

The music scene in New York City has long been known as a thriving bed for some of the biggest bands in the world. For years playing Madison Square Garden was seen as a career highlight and the NYC music scene is still going strong. However, over the last 20 years, there have been many changes that some people may consider good or bad.

The Hip Hop Scene Of New York City

At one point, for the world of hip hop, New York City was one of the most significant music scenes. Many hip hop artists rose to fame after success on the NYC music scene. A successful mixtape release to the New York audience was once seen as the best route to prominence.

Sadly, the hip hop scene has faded in New York City and no longer has the strong presence it once did. Of course, this does not mean the scene is completely gone from the city. However, there are other cities which now hold the title of most important in the hip hop scene.

The Closing of Important Clubs

Certain music clubs in New York have long been considered the route to fame and fortune. Many bands attribute their rise to fame to playing some of the city’s biggest music clubs. One of these clubs was CBGB’s which was strongly associated with the fame of bands like The Ramones, Blondie and Talking Heads.

Unfortunately, with the rise in rental prices in the city, many of these clubs  were forced to close. In fact, many important and influential music venues in the city could no longer afford the skyrocketing rents. This means, many bands who would like to replicate their inspiration’s success by playing these special venues will never be able to achieve this dream.

The Rise of The Internet

Two decades ago, bands and other musicians would head to major cities like New York to make it big. A famous example of this was Bob Dylan who left his small Minnesota town and traveled to New York to start his career. Fast forward two decades, because of the internet, this is no longer necessary.

With the internet there is no need for a band or artist to leave their hometown to start their career. There are many ways a musician can start an online music career. Websites such as YouTube provide a platform for bands and artists to get their music to an audience without having to travel. Justin Bieber started his career on the internet. He posted videos on YouTube and was then offered a record deal, as an example.

Of course, there are still many talented artists who continue to travel to New York to create music. However, the number of people traveling to the city for this purpose has decreased, having had an impact on the overall music scene.

The Changes to Radio

Since the launching of radio, their market has significantly changed. There is more consolidation of the market with a handful of companies now controlling all of the stations across the country. For new artists this has led to a difficult market to break into. Most radio companies will only play music considered mainstream because they think that’s what people want to hear.

Because of these issues, this has caused a lot of people in the New York music scene to give up on trying to break into the radio market. Artists are turning to other means of starting their careers like the internet. There is also the fact, New York is not always the best place for such projects. Even established musicians find they are a small fish in a rather large pond when coming to the New York music scene.

Most artists will focus on markets they are more likely to crack, compared to radio. Smaller cities, such as Nashville, with a focused music industry may seem more appealing to artists today when compared to New York City. The value of being in New York for the radio exposure no longer has the appeal it once did.

A Focus on The Fundamentals

Most people believe New York City’s music scene has deteriorated. However, there is more focus today on the fundamental elements. More musicians are mastering the instruments they play instead of playing by ear like many bands of the past. There are a lot of students in New York City that learned their instruments at a young age and are now adding incredible music to the New York music scene.

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Author Bio:

Vincent Reina began teaching piano lessons as a high school student, and has continued to do so ever since. He received a Bachelor of Music Degree in Piano Performance from Purchase Conservatory. He then earned a Masters of Arts in Teaching Music from Manhattanville College. Today, Vincent is co-founder of Music To Your Home, a New York City based music school. He’s the proud winner of many significant piano competitions, including the Westminster Choir College Artistic Excellence in Piano Award.

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