Music is a global industry, and indie musicians from all over the world are learning how to sell your music on iTunes and share new and innovative sounds internationally, thanks to online music distribution. Outside of the US, these eight cities have developed exciting and creative music scenes.
Iceland’s capital city is a hotbed of indie activity. The country’s musical traditions and small size make it the perfect place for independent artists. Reykjavik’s scene is eclectic and constantly changing, but small enough that it will probably never be controlled by the majors. Thanks to the small and intimate atmosphere, collaborations are plentiful and creativity is everywhere. Some of the biggest names to come out of Iceland are Bjork, Sigur Ros, and Of Monsters and Men.
Montreal’s indie scene lost some of its steam when the city instituted a ‘pay-to-play’ policy, making it difficult for indie musicians to afford gigs. However, it regained popularity when the group Arcade Fire took the city by storm in the early 2000s. Now its indie scene is often compared to that of the nearby behemoth New York City due to its growing number of music venues and new artists.
Germany is the world’s third largest music producer, so it has plenty of big-name acts, but it also has a vibrant indie scene. The divide between East and West during the Cold War led to the development of very different types of music in the different areas. With the fall of the Berlin Wall, these two areas combined to create a completely unique atmosphere. Tens of thousands attend Berlin’s Music Week, and indie shows take place everywhere from public parks to underground subway stations.
Melbourne has been gaining a reputation as a great city for indie musicians for years, and US and UK labels are now beginning to promote indie Australian artists overseas. Melbourne’s scene now rivals that of big US cities like New York, but it is cheaper and smaller, making it easier for indie artists to be successful. Live music venues and new acts are easy to find in Melbourne. If you also know how to sell your music on iTunes, it will be even easier to find mainstream success overseas.
Sweden is a pop music powerhouse, and it continues to produce huge names in the music industry. It also has a vibrant and booming indie music scene. The clubs in Stockholm are always packed, and they offer live music from all different genres. Jose Gonzalez, Lykke Li, The Hives, and Peter Bjorn and John are all huge indie acts to come out of Sweden.
Tokyo, Japan is a megacity, and its music scene might seem dominated by major pop acts. However, you can go to the Shimokitazawa neighborhood and find plentiful live music venues and independent recording studios. It is estimated that half of the residents of this area are musicians, making it a great place for indie musicians to perform and meet other artists.
Amsterdam is known for its creative spirit, and this extends to the city’s vibrant indie scene. It hosts music festivals, has clubs with live performances, and outdoor parks where artists can play. It is known for its eclectic venues, such as an old parking garage that has been turned into an independent art gallery in the up-and-coming Bijlmer district.
Cape Town hosts an exciting new indie music scene that is diverse and growing. Every area of the city has a different sound, and it is small enough to be welcoming to all types of indie musicians. Unfortunately, it can be difficult for artists to break out of Cape Town and find mainstream success internationally, but nevertheless the scene is on the rise.
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