Local music used to define communities: today with radio chains and national music distribution systems, not so much
I've written about "local music" production as an element of community culture and culture planning.
-- "Leveraging music as cultural heritage for economic development: part two, popular music," 2017
-- "Culture planning and radio: local music, local content vs. delivery nodes for a national network," 2019
-- "Under threat: Austin's music industry as an element of the city's cultural ecosystem and economy," 2016
-- "Revisiting cultural plans having elements for retail: music instrument stores," 2020
-- "DC's music venues ask for government support," 2020
-- "Thinking anew about supporting community radio," 2019
"Revisiting community radio," 2020
A few weeks ago, reading an obituary ("Mary Wilson Dead: Supremes Co-Founder Was 76," Variety) of Mary Wilson, who sang for the Supremes, a Motown label band from Detroit, when the label was based in Detroit, I was reminded of my childhood and how Motown R&B music was part and parcel of the radio broadcasted in Detroit.
Although ironically probably it was broadcast the most by Canadian station CKLW of Windsor, which used its location across the US border to broadcast its high-powered signal into the US Midwest, with advertising focused on the more lucrative US market ("1970s: How CKLW Radio Dominated American Music – From Canada," Journal of Radio and Audio Media, "Sounds of Motown," The Walrus).
That was back when radio stations had "flexible" playlists, radio stations were involved in promoting concerts (they still are), especially of bands from the local community.
For a long time I've argued that Motown hurt itself by moving to Los Angeles, and losing its "terroir."'Forever Your Town': Billboards around Northeast Ohio pay tribute to late iconic rocker and radio personality Michael Stanley," WKYC-TV.
And then Cleveland-based musician Michael Stanley died ("Michael Stanley, 1949-2021: An Appreciation of Rock’s Ultimate Local Hero," Variety). I'd never heard of him, but apparently he was the pre-eminent locally-loved rock musician in Cleveland and other parts of the Midwest, with a following that was practically immeasurable.
Do a search, there are a lot of great articles about his genuineness and place in the Cleveland music scene. He sold out various Cleveland venues at a rate higher than more popular national acts.
Which reminded me of Bob Seger, a "Detroit-based" musician with a following like Michael Stanley's in the Detroit area, but who also had more of a national presence.
And then in my feed was a blog entry from the website Louder, about Detroit's best 10 rock bands ever, with a bunch of bands I'd not heard of, and of course, some that I know and love. There is a great soundtrack and some videos included in the article.which turns out not to be true), Glenn Frey's brother went to my high school (although I didn't really know him), and one of my friends used to babysit for Bob Seger's manager. Certainly we liked the songs "Detroit Rock City" by Kiss and "Panic in Detroit" by Bowie.
But now that I think about it, I can't say that Iggy and the Stooges were played much on the radio.
Motown definitely. Bob Seger, Ted Nugent, Alice Cooper, Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, yes. I think MC5. I didn't learn about Iggy until college.
With the way that today's music scene is controlled by national radio broadcast, concert presentation, and facilities management firms, I think it's difficult for "local" music to develop in the same way as it could in the 1960s and 1970s.