The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Local music scene makes a comeback

About six years ago in an age of digital downloads and online pirating, the music industry took a turn for the worse. Concert sales were down, no one bought music and big name musicians began to struggle to make the money they thought they had rightfully earned.

Few people, however, though about how this affected music on a more local level and in fact, local music began disappearing altogether. In Dallas this musical blow was even worse.

Deep Ellum, one of Dallas’s premiere local music hotspots, almost disappeared overnight due to gang violence and a depleting economy.

However, years later with programs like iTunes becoming more popular, and the country coming out of a depression, music has begun to rise up again. Local music however seems to still be struggling on the surface, but an underground revolution is underway and local music in Dallas may soon be making a comeback.

Mike McDonald has been trying to make it in the music industry for the past few years and just recently signed with a local record label. He started off in several bands but became well known for his creation of psychedelic beats and mash-ups in w-i-Z-a-r-d.

McDonald talks about how hard it was getting gigs at first.

“When I started playing in town about four years ago, Deep Ellum was history, so I stuck to Lower Greenville,” he said, “It was a great place to make a few bucks playing covers but the audience could care less about original music.”

Most of his frustration came from the lack of venues that could expose local music. While Dallas was a city of musicians, there were few places that offered a friendly environment for people to come out and listen.

Finally, McDonald found a venue called Tree’s and things began to change. McDonald said, “Thankfully, with the rebirth of Deep Ellum and venues like Trees, local acts now have some great venues where they can get their foot in the door.”

Venues, however, are not local music’s biggest problem. The lack of an audience seems to be where Dallas has its downfall. In a recent survey, over 60 SMU students said that the main issue with local music in Dallas was that there was an abundance of musicians, but a lack of a solid audience at most venues.

Local musician Sal Bautista said, “part of the problem is many people only want to go hear bigger acts. Big bands such as Arcade Fire can sell out in minutes in Dallas, however local musicians are left scraping around trying to get people to come to their gigs.”

He also pointed out that relatively few local Dallas musicians have ever made it to be really big, an issue he attributes to venues closing very frequently in Dallas.

“Venues in Dallas never get a chance to become well known, they are there one day and gone the next, so audiences never get a chance to figure out where the best local music is,” Bautista said.

Deep Ellum is making a comeback after years of restructuring. Smaller local venues are being built in Uptown and West Village. More artists are beginning to pursue music in Dallas and around the world. Stevie Rae Farrell has been trying to make her name in music recently and is full of positive energy.

“I feel that there is never a lack of music anywhere, but there is a lack of awareness,” Farrell said. “People simply don’t know about all the talent that’s living right here in Dallas. I think it’s more about spreading the word and getting local music heard and noticed.”

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