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International Regional and Local Music Scenes
Local Brisbane, Australia Music Scene

The local music scene of Brisbane, Australia thrives on a diverse mix of influences. Many of the leading artists of the region are also well known in order areas such as Adelaide. A song called "It's Hot in Brisbane bit it's Coolangatta" by Gwen Ryan in 1953 is part of the city's local heritage. It's also where the Bee Gees moved to from England before becoming international stars. Other notable acts from the local scene have included Keith Urban, although he was originally from New Zealand, Billy Thorpe, who came from England, Dead Letter Circus, The Black Assassins, Powderfinger and Savage Garden. Brisbane is a world-class city that attracts tourists from around the world, so that alone makes it an important city for local talent to perform for world travelers.

Local music isn't played much on the radio due to people wanting to stay connected with the national hits. Radio perpetuates this addiction to the national scene by working with the promotion departments of record labels. At one time these industries worked much closer together until rules became tighter prohibiting certain promotional exchanges for airplay, at least in the United States, where much of the world's music comes from. There is still a sense that the best music doesn't get played and that the only music that does get played has more to do with music industry connections than actual talent.

The history of Brisbane music has a unique charm, but there's also a sense that a lot of the local music has been overlooked, as it rarely gets airplay. Radio stations want to hold on to audiences and listeners usually do not demand a lot of local music on the playlist. Audience research is what shapes station playlists with a lot of emphasis placed on the most active listeners. There may be many local songs that are artistically more viable than what's on the radio, but radio stations must sell airtime to advertisers, who are usually big corporations and not so much local businesses.

An important station in Brisbane radio history has been 4ZZZ at the University of Queensland Student Union. It's a station that launched in 1975 as the city's first FM radio station. Their alternative format helped establish bands such as The Saints and The Go-Betweens. The local scene is populated with many venues such as The Troubadour, The Zoo and Rics Cafe, The Arena and The Press Club. College radio helps drive young people to shows.

The idea that local music should get any airplay at even on public radio stations, is usually voiced by artists in the local scene, rather than the listening audience. Ultimately, public radio has been a believer in local music, but only to a slim degree. There are very few public or college stations that devote all their programming to the local scene, as the common perception everywhere seems to be that local music does not provide enough proven music that holds people's attention.

One of the perception problems with local music comes with the word "unsigned," which many people mistakenly interpret as unprofessional. These days an artist does not need to be signed to a record label to release music to the public. Yet the myth still is reinforced by national playlists on local stations that the three major labels are the pros at filtering out the worst music and signing the best music. As inaccurate as this perception may be, it works in favor of keeping a constant stream of mediocrity at the top of the charts.

Some of the important music festivals in Brisbane are the Future Music Festival, which began in 2007, Stereosonic and Soundwave. One of the most legendary venues is Brisbane Festival Hall, where the Beatles performed on June 28, 1964.

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