In a Global World, Can You Still Find 'Local' Bands?

Meanwhile, 5,000 miles away, Iceland has developed a sound based on extremes and experimentation. As DJ Douridas explained, "The people there are cloaked in darkness six months of the year and blinded by light the other six months. They have this introvert/extrovert mentality."

Some countries have even gone so far as to cultivate their music scenes with state money. Sweden, which has historically produced amazingly catchy groups such as Abba, Roxette and The Cardigans, has invested in its creative output by giving grant money to its rock bands touring abroad.

Now far from its roots in sugarpop, Sweden has nurtured one of the strongest rock scenes on the planet. It began earlier this decade with The Caesars and The Hives and has continued with Peter Bjorn and John, of the AT&T ad, and The Knife. As the New York Times reported, Denmark, Australia and Canada have also funded their bands' travels.

ABC News contributor Michael Smith is an internationally recognized DJ who has a music-services business. He works with a variety of national brands. www.smitheventmusic.com or info@smitheventmusic.com

The question is, as geographical distance becomes less relevant, will the Swedish sound eventually become as diluted and diverse as the American scene, where formerly distinctive local music festivals like Austin's South By Southwest have become national and even global talent shows.

For artists, at least, the idea of a local scene still means something. As Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter James Combs explained, "Camaraderie and the social part of playing music is a really big part of any local music scene. It's just fun to hook up with other artists and help them develop their sound by supporting it and remaining behind them."

And the audiences are grateful to have a local scene as well. In Los Angeles, Combs said, the hip Hollywood venue Hotel Cafe has become the epicenter of local music, where everyone from Pete Townsend to your next door neighbor can play a show in a smaller setting.

Though the Internet provides more ways for the band to blow up, bands -- and audiences -- will always appreciate the intimacy and comfort of local live shows and still celebrate regional stars regardless of their national impact.

"Let's say the band lives in LA: Even if they're making a lot of noise in Europe, it's still a band playing down the street in your neighborhood and you're going to see them because it's fun," Combs said matter-of-factly. "It's still a social world."

ABC News contributor Michael Smith is an internationally recognized DJ who has a music-services business. He works with a variety of national brands. www.smitheventmusic.com or info@smitheventmusic.com

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