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U.S. Regional and Local Music Scenes
Local Seattle Music Scene

Seattle has been the epicenter of many music revolutions. Jimi Hendrix was the innovator of rock leads in the 60s. Heart paved the way for female-led rock bands in the 70s. The history of the Seattle music scene has included Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Candlebox, Soundgarden and several Seattle bands shaped the emerging sound of alternative rock in the 90s. Other notable artists from the area include Sir Mix-a-lot, Kenny G, Foo Fighters, The Presidents of the United States of America, Mother Love Bone, Mad Season, Temple of the Dog, Judy Collins, Jennifer Warnes, Mudhoney, Oleta Adams and Stacie Orrico.

Seattle Music Acts

Amir Beso * Andra Dare * Audio Stagg * Buck Haggard * Chords of Power * Don Garrett * Exelan * Electro Nomicon * EriAm Sisters * Fill the Silence * Go Periscope * ILANA * J Minus * Jennifer Cadence * Jennifer Newberry * Joshua Cain Band * Killer Canary * Laurie Miller * LisaBe * Litefoot * Loveghost * Open Blue * Pickwick * Ramona The Band * Shanice Rakel * Supersuckers * The People Now * Tom Hutch * Trading Voices * Trisha Haywood * Under Sin * Valeri Lopez * Wunderbugg * Young Soprano

Seattle Local Music Scene History

In June 2020 Music Ally published a story about the entrepreneurs behind SyncFloor, a Seattle startup founded by Microsoft employees Kirt Debique and Cestjon McFarland. Debique started a label called Brick Lane Records, which he crafted to be software-based and artist-friendly. A primary goal of the company, according to Debique, is to "close the gap between song discovery and licensing."

The 2020 coronavirus pandemic led to major financial losses in the Seattle music scene, which is one of the biggest local music centers in the nation. Washington state, perhaps due to Seattle's role as a major travel hub, had a high number of COVID-19 cases. Musicians turned to live streaming on the internet to deliver music to fans. "A Concert For COVID Relief" was streamed on KING 5 and KONG TV, backed by a partnership between Amazon and Microsoft. The show featured Pearl Jam, Brandi Carlile and many others.

Doug Haire retired from his weekly KEXP show "Sonarchy," which he hosted for 22 years until his last show on February 27, 2018. The show was devoted to unique local Seattle musicians. At age 62 Haire has worked for decades in media. Prior to arriving in Seattle in 1985 he had worked in Charleston, New Orleans and Key West, Florida, mainly as a cable TV lineman, according to the Seattle Times. His final show included guests the Wally Shoup Electric Quartet.

Sound Off! is an annual Northwest battle of the bands competition for youths under the age of 18, broadcast on KEXP's Audioasis. Jason McCue won first place in 2017, which earned him a spot on the Bumbershoot festival later in the year. The 2018 finals were held March 3 at MoPOP. Finalists included Strawberry Mountain, Micaiah Sawyer, Misundvrstood and Maiah Wynne.

A new radio station launched on the Seattle airwaves in October 2017 called KBFG at 107.3 FM. The call letters stand for Ballard, Fremond and Greenwood. The station is run by volunteers and began pursuing an FCC license four years earlier. The small community station serves North Seattle from Phinney Ridge. The programming includes local music and live broadcasts of high school basketball games.

Washington Lt. Gov. Brad Owen agreed to a settlement with the state in September 2014 to pay a $10,000 fine for using state resources to boost his discontinued musical nonprofit organization called Strategies For Youth (SFY). The Democratic incumbant who played guitar committed ethics violations, according to the Seattle Times. He was allowed to pay the fine in $416 monthly installments over two years. SFY started in 1989 as a youth outreach program that promoted anti-drug messages through music and was discontinued in 2011. Owen's band performed for school kids around the state. Owen was elected to the Washington House of Representatives in 1976 then the State Senate in 1983. In 1996 he was elected Lt. Gov and has been re-elected four times.

The Rock Hall of Fame has documented the Seattle 90s alternative rock scene that produced some of the biggest selling rock bands of the decade such as Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Soundgarden and Alice in Chains. The Seattle Music Scene exhibit documents some of the city's major musical developments since the late 70s. The exhibit remembers underground fanzine Subterranean Pop and how Homestead Records was the original home of band Green River, which was one of the key seminal bands before the explosion of signings in the late 80s.

The Refusers are the top local rock band listed for Seattle on ReverbNation in January 2014. The band is led by guitarist Michael Belkin. Their sound is much in the vein of high energy Seattle rock bands since the 1990s. The band ventures into original sounds and explores social issues in its lyrics. They have released an album called First Do No Harm that denounces the medical industry with the song "Do You Want a Flu Shot." The band raises consumer awarness about the natural health movement.

Garden Party is an ambient band based in Seattle led by guitarist Leo Baran. The music has a very tranquil sound and can be used for meditation. Their music is very relaxing and ethereal. The band released their second EP in January 2014. The songs are very atmospheric with dreamy melodies produced in lush layers. One of their best ambient masterpieces is the track "An Ocean of Neon Lights to Carry."

Statistics on what the Seattle music industry means to the local economy were issued by the Musicians' Association of Seattle and the American Federation of Musicians in January 2016. The report revealed that over 16,600 people are employed in the local music scene with a direct economic output of $1.8 billion. The number of music jobs has grown by 5,500 since 2008. The typical musician earns $15,000 per year.

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