How Would YOU Help the Miami Music Scene?

Dear Miamians,

Tomorrow is the first meeting of a special Music Task Force created to further the development of our beloved music scene.  Yes, the local governments actually care and want to help!  There was an open Town Hall meeting at the Museum of Science two weeks ago and here are some of the ideas that came from it:

  • A music industry portal website that aggregates all of the music sites and promotes venues with live performances
  • Incentives for radio stations to promote local musicians and bands
  • Try to involve the local business community so that they support local bands, i.e. Burdines commercials used local bands – the commercial was also a music video
  • Create a directory specific to the local music industry similar to the Miami Production Guide
  • Create a virtual forum where music industry professionals can exchange thoughts, ideas, etc.
  • Have official signs outside of venues that play live music that say LIVE MUSIC
  • Partner with the Greater Miami Convention & Visitor’s Bureau to create a guide of local venues that play live music to distribute at hotels
  • Have live music showcases at the art galleries during monthly gallery walks
  • Create a brand for Miami’s entertainment industry i.e. Austin, Live Music Capital of the World
  • Create more opportunities for music industry educational seminars and panels
  • Hold regular networking events

The meeting tomorrow is to discuss the best ways to move forward.  Which of the above do you like?  Do you have any other suggestions or recommendations?  What seeds can we plant together to grow our scene to be even more awesome and amazing and fruitful for everyone??

Please leave feedback in the comments and I’ll gather them to present at the meeting.

Much love and keep on keepin’ on!  We’ll be the next Seattle/Austin/etc. yet…

16 thoughts on “How Would YOU Help the Miami Music Scene?

  1. This is a wonderful thing.
    All of the above are solid ideas.

    One important thing to address is the availability of adequate venues and their programming/talent booking capacities. That list is very short and even then very few are doing things right. A promoter/venue operator think tank/roundtable is also something I’ve always wanted see happen. In order to push forward our home-grown talent, I believe that legitimate promoters and venue owners need to get their heads together. A lot of us have lost tons of money on our passion projects, but more often than not something good has come from it. At the end of the day we all have to pay the rent, but I am optimistic that by coming together like this we can surely better our city’s volatile cultural economy.
    I can come back with more specific ideas for objectives and points of concern (I have a book’s worth) I won’t spill it all here at once.

    As a native Miamian, this task force and great effort have my full support.

  2. All great ideas! Maybe we can have some sort of “universal index” of local artists and djs. A website that promoters can go to and scroll through artist “pages” to find similar artists to put together a night? On these pages, maybe a Bio? Link to a website? Credentials?

  3. Following up on what Diego said, what this town really needs is more venues for live music. One way to do this is to start a collective, like Space Cadette Records in the late 1990s. At one point it had a live venue, a recording studio, a rehearsal space and a record store under one roof. Rather than compete with Churchills and Cheers, it complimented it and helped the postpunk scene grow.

    Garageland in Fort Lauderdale, which operated a few years earlier, was less dynamic – but helped foster the punk rock scene both in miami and in fort lauderdale and gave birth to the crumbs, who are still with us.

  4. Hello, Lolo /// all …

    I’m a local musician / publicist / promoter and echo what those above of me say – they are all great ideas. I especially like the round table for venue employees who handle bookings.

    My only suggestion would be to get the city or county to help fund some sort of national and international / multi-venue live music festival which would also showcase local talent, something along the lines of what Austin, TX does with SXSW. I would propose calling it SXSE or the Miami International Music Fest or something along those lines. I think we have a good amount of venues (we could always use more), the appeal of our town as a tourist destination plus the abundance of homegrown talent – all factors that could make this work. Corporate sponsors wouldn’t hurt, either …

    Thanks for organizing this and creating this forum!


    PS – can you please add my band Electric Piquete ( to the "Miami Music Makers" list to the right? Thanks again!

  5. Lower drink prices… Less fanfare at the door (anyone noticed what a fiasco Vagabond has become?)… Some central online source for local events rather than a lot of individual promoters pushing their own nights…

    Some type of trade union for promoters would be good, too, to protect their interests & that of talent. Aside from being a newbie in a tight-knit scene, the biggest wall I came up against when I used to organize events was doing business with shady club-owners. If the top 5-10 promoters united their practices – percentages, payment mandates, standard contracts, etc – then venue owners would be pressed to play fair.

  6. The first step is to determine what assets we have. It is only by knowing what is already here that we can identify our competitive advantage and focus on those areas that make sense. (For example, Miami is unlikely to become a major location for the country music industry.)

    As part of that same process we need to know what is the impact of the local music industry today. If you want to get the attention and support of the business community at-large, you need to demonstrate that- from an economic/business perspective- there is a music industry worth supporting.

  7. I think the old Key Biscayne stadium, with fundraising and renovation, would be a dynamic and unique venue. Just a thought. We have so many empty buildings and lots, guerilla venues would be cost effective. Keep up the work!

  8. I feel there are great initial ideas presented here, including incentives for local radio stations to present more local acts on air, a “tourism” guide of the local music scene (updated monthly ideally), and an official Miami music festival. The idea of a festival is not new, but with the involvement (and financing) of the local gov, it would make it a lot easier to book a few big name national/international acts (to draw out-of-towners and those Miamiams who would maybe never attend a “local show”) and then sprinkle in an assortment of Miami’s best acts to open and close the shows.

    There are really a wide assortment of quality music acts in Miami. There are also a nice chunk of venues and promoters striving to push live music. Yeah, we lack a kick-ass mid-sized venue (RIP Studio A), but if you’re in a band and can’t get a gig, you’re not trying hard enough!

  9. Well…not an easy thing to do with how poorly the economy is at this time. But, I think one solution would be is for artist to promote their shows to people they would not ordinarily promote to. Hopefully new fans will spread like wildfire, thus stimulating the scene to grow and flower a bit more.

  10. Diego – Agreed, and one of the things discussed at the meeting was a meeting of venue owners and promoters. Sweat will definitely keep you posted on that.

    Dave – The “universal index” of local musicians is officially in the works. There’s already a fantastic Miami Production Guide for the film industry that’s an incredible resource and the local music industry definitely deserves the same treatment.

    Bowker – A collective venue is a great idea and Ft. Lauderdale just got one courtesy of the Independent Working Artists Network or IWAN. It’s called The Bubble and a bunch of great people are working on it. Miami definitely could use something like that. Sweat does hold a lot of in-store shows, meetings and events but we’re only so big at the moment.

    Christian C. – I agree about drink prices needing to be reasonable (Studio A would’ve done way better with a couple bucks knocked off their cocktail prices), and part of the “fiasco” at the door at Vagabond stems from our ridiculously cheap drink special from 10 to midnight weekly. We always advise getting their earlier to avoid the door AND take advantage of our $1 beers. Miami in general could learn to be a little less late!

    Tom – The Miami Marine Stadium has been named a national historic landmark and there is a group dedicated to restoring it as a viable entertainment/water sports venue in Miami. Their site is

    Eddy – True words about bands needing to hustle more! If you’re a local band without a logo, some tees or merch and at least SOME sort of demo CD or something to sell, what are you waiting for??

    Thanks for all the great comments! The meeting made a lot of headway and doled out a lot of tasks for us to work on. I’ll definitely keep everyone posted on what’s happening.

  11. What about some synergy with Gibson Guitars? I happened upon a big art launch they are planning with oversized guitar models decorated by local artists when walking into one of the office buildings in the Design District…..
    Getting a major guitar brand behind a battle of the bands type event could be huge. Just my 2 cents.

  12. Kids are the driving force behind any music scene, considering they have nothing better to do, but we’re not allowed in the places where the people we’d want to see are performing.

    If it wasn’t 21+, I’d go see A-Trak, Deadmau5, Benny Bennassi, Lil Jon, GS Boyz, etc…

    Tips on sneaking in anyone?

    And what’s the deal with LIV?
    I’ve obviously never been but I only hear negative things about it…

  13. Letting local musicians/artists/producers and engineers, know about great studio facilities that help promote their work & can give them an excellent recording, also helps out with the younger less experienced & more driven talents to strive upwards while giving them a proper studio experience.

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