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Local Newscastle, Australia Music Scene




The local music scene of Newcastle, Australia partly feeds off the bigger scene in Brisbane, which is 780 kilometers north. Even though it's about an eight hour drive, the two cities share many traveling acts. Some of the well known artists in the region include Silverchair, Daniel Johns, Sarah Wynter, Marcia Hines and Catherine Britt. Since Newcastle is a coastal city, it is a hotbed of fun summer acts who play for tourists from all over the world.

There needs to be a raised awareness on the part of unsigned musicians and local talent that songwriting should fall into two groups: commercial and non-commercial. Commercial songwriting is for people who want to market their music to an audience, whereas non-commercial music is wide open to any form of musical expression. The main difference is commercial songwriting is meant to give the people what they want based on what they already like, whereas non-commercial songwriting aims at exposing new ideas in music.

Important festivals in the city include the Newcastle Regional Show at the Newcastle Showground, the Newcastle Jazz Festival and This Is Not Art. Each of these shows give regional talent a chance to showcase their original songs. Even if an artist is trying to sell thousands of units by fitting into an established genre, it still needs to stand out and sound original. While it's possible for soundalike artists to have big hit records, it usually takes an artist with a lot of originality to take the music industry by surprise. But the history of Newcastle music on the radio has mainly been parallel with national music.

Every Newcastle artist needs to sound unique to compete on both a local level and to be discovered on a national level. Trying to sound too much like established acts may be exactly what the labels want, but that's exactly what's been wearing down record sales. Evidence shows that piracy isn't so much the big issue as it was in 1999. People simply can't afford to keep buying the same record over and over, just like they don't want to watch the same movie every night.

Newcastle flavors need to be nurtured in every region so that each region has its own identity. The University of Newcastle provides development of the underground music scene. The more music moves in that direction, the more local cultures and businesses will be supported. If everywhere you turn all you see are acts imitating national artists, there's really no sense of a local music scene. When the top draws on the local scene are karaoke or cover bands it's a signal that the scene lacks songwriters who can resonate with the people about their culture.

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