As anyone who’s reading this post probably knows, there is an overwhelming amount of media outlets that are devoted to covering music. From big name magazines like Rolling Stone or Spin to countless dorm-room blogs, fans of music are provided with more than a few places to read about the goings-on of their favorite artists. What, then, is there to distinguish one website or magazine from another? Some publications specialize in independent music, such as Paste or Under the Radar, but as the mainstream public’s fascination with “indie” bands continues to grow, these specialty magazines continue to lose their novelty. Some publications attempt to cover genre specific releases, but as popular bands continue to expand their pallet, the word genre’s relevance continues to diminish. Tri State Indie recently caught up with Gina Tutko, founder of the website PA Music Scene, to discuss her forward thinking, locally minded online music publication.
PA Music Scene is unique in that it not only focuses on locally grown bands and venues, but also sheds light on those who work behind the scenes. One of the most striking aspects of the site is its attention to detail in cataloging local recording studios and interviewing up-in-coming producers in the PA area. Gina describes the site as one that gives the, “full picture,” of the Pennsylvania music scene. The site is designed to entertain those who want to read about local music, but also to help support local music in all of its manifestations. PA Music Scene creates a community in which potential fans have an opportunity to find their new favorite artists, and those artists have an opportunity to find a local recording studio or producer that fits them best.
Gina found her love of local music through HotWingJones, a band formed by one of her mentors, Marc Levin. Gina’s brother-law plays lead guitar for the band. When discussing the HotWingJones’ live shows, Gina says, “Seeing them play, the dedication that they put into being in a band, was inspiring.” HotWingones is what Gina describes as a, “hobby band:” they’re regular guys, they all have regular jobs and lives, and they love playing music. PA Music Scene was founded to support artists like this, those who don’t have grand ambitions for super-stardom, but simply love to work on and share their craft. “Sometimes the small guys get forgotten,” Gina says of the sites bent towards PA musicians. “Bands and musicians finances are limited, so we try to get the word out and show support.”
One thing that Gina will not support is negativity on her site. She is aware of the time and energy that bands put into making music, and understands how crucial good press is to helping bands get recognized. Gina speaks to the plight of unknown bands, saying, “Someone made this music and put their heart and soul into it. Who am I to say it sucks? I know someone will like it, so why not try to get it out there?”
PA Music Scene is not an ordinary music publication. The site is fairly new (it has been operation for just under two years), but what PA Music Scene lacks in size it more than makes up for in heart. When asked for a comprehensive mission statement, Gina said:
“My belief is some of the BEST talent comes right from our own local music scene. We are an energetic group of volunteers working to unite artists, venues and fans. I would like to encourage our readers to continue to SUPPORT LIVE MUSIC! It’s important for so many reasons. Not only does it financially help the independent artists but the hope is the MUSIC will be a diversion from every day drama. No matter what events take place in your life – there always seems to be a song to share the experience! Go to their shows, download the music, and buy their CD’s and/or any other promotional items. Musicians appreciate your support!”
It’s these types of publications that the music business needs more of: those who support the artistic community above all else.