Before we launched The Key—back when we were still figuring out what, exactly, we wanted the site to be (and how we were going to make it happen)—one of the first jobs I was tasked with was coming up with the copy for our “About” section. And, honestly, when I originally wrote the first sentence—which states that Philadelphia is “[h]ome to a rich musical history, a unique musical identity, and one of the nation’s most thriving musical communities”—part of me was worried that it would come across as a mixture of overearnest sentimentalism and the kind of self-congratulating chest-thumping you’d find on most bands’ one-sheets. Looking back on it now, though, I’m feeling OK with it. Mostly because, you know, it’s pretty damn accurate.
It’s very easy to take your local music scene for granted—especially, say, if you’re a musician, a booking agent, a promoter, a publicist, a producer, a record-store owner, a radio-station DJ, a bartender, a doorman, or any of the other various types of people for whom interaction with the scene is part of their daily routine. But, spend any amount of time in a city that doesn’t have the kind of music community Philadelphia does, and you’ll realize what a rare thing we have here. (Not every city is such a music-friendly one, where working musicians can afford the cost of living, bands can find places to practice, and the venues—both commercial and DIY—are staffed by people who are every bit as genuinely enthusiastic about locally produced music as those who create it.) That notion of community is particularly important to keep in mind in the age of digital media; for all of the good the Internet has done in terms of disseminating art and culture, it has also contributed to the fall of regionalism in music—which, in turn, can diminish any given city’s sense of musical identity.
So yeah, we like to think Philly’s music scene is something to be proud of—and we want to pay our own little tribute to its history. As such, we’ve put together this eight-hour, 100+ artist “Songs In The Key Of Philly” stream, which features what we consider to be some of the best rock, R&B, soul, jazz, folk, punk, psychedelic rock, indie rock, and hip-hop to come out of the city that produced The Sound of Philadelphia. (We’ll also have a ton of related programming on XPN and Y-Rock, which you can read about here.) By the time “Songs In The Key Of Philly” goes live, we’ll have already started working on our next stream, which will focus more on the new music the scene is producing today. For the time being, however, we’d like to celebrate the scene of yesterday—because, for every current band that simply exists within the geographical confines of Philadelphia, there are countless others that are a direct product of it.