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International Regional and Local Music Scenes
Local Calgary, Canada Music Scene




The local music scene of Calgary, Canada is the musical epicenter for the province of Alberta. Calagary is also one of the main major cities to feed the national picture. Some of the top artists from the region include Loverboy, Tegan and Sara Quin, Feist, Stacey Blades, Transit, Hames Keelaghan, Eileen McGann and Cory Monteith. Joni Mitchell came from Fort McLeod, which is about 175 kilometers north. The Calgary Folk Music Festival started in 1980 and continues to attract up to 50,000 fans at Prince's Island Park every July. The festival usually includes big name international artists mixed with local talent.

One of the best edges that a Calgary act can have that's unique and possibly in demand is a catalogue of songs about specific popular topics. There may suddenly be a demand from filmmakers to find songs about "bluebirds in wetlands." If you already have a song in place about those keywords, it could attract a big audience some day when the demand begins to reach a critical mass. The point is that search engines are now creating global audiences in a way that used to be only accomplished by certain media outlets or distributors who had access to various markets.

The interesting thing about Canadian folk music is that it fits the nature of social media. One of the reasons social media has become so popular is that it creates discussions about issues. People also like to post songs. Put songs and issues together and you have a much more powerful post. It's a way for Calgary artists to connect with an international audience to expand their reach. Twin sisters Tegan and Sara Quin have proven that local acts can rise by writing powerful message songs instead of blending in with the stampede of shallow assembly line pop acts that all seem to be saying the same bland things.

Radio in Calgary, despite its diminished listenership compared to the pre-internet era, still commands huge audiences, mainly because it's free in your car, where most radio listening is done these days. Morning and afternoon drive are still the main times when radio has this huge audience. Instead of promoting and nurturing local music, radio elects to compete with other stations to try to play the most popular music to fight for the attention of the most active listeners. The history of Calgary music is that only a short list of local artists have been given attention by radio stations.

The main focus of commercial radio stations in Calgary is to play as many commercials as it can get away with and mix in popular songs between, with not much room for local artists. Radio was not always like this. Back in the 70s and 80s radio programming was much more flexible. From the mid-90s on it's been very corporate with a strict playlist, not chosen by DJs, but by programming personnel. The Pulse 103 FM is a respectable choice for rock music in Calgary, but the most engaging radio in town in public radio, such as CBC Radio Calgary. One of the more adventurous stations in town is alternative X92.9 (CFEX), which boasts a "No Nickelback Guarantee."









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