Listen Local First Has an App for That

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Fans of D.C.’s local music scene will be jazzed to know that the city may soon receive its first mobile music app featuring local artists.

Last week, Listen Local First (LLF) announced a plan to create its own local-music app in celebration of its one-year anniversary.

Famed for founding monthly “Local Music Day,” when local businesses stream playlists from local bands during operation hours, LLF describes itself as an “initiative devoted to building awareness and creating [economic] opportunities for local musicians and venues in order to raise the profile of DC’s local music scene.”

The group has advocated for music-friendly government policies including the establishment of a Metro-busking program that sparked conversation in July this year. They are also known for the hard-to-miss, multi-colored van that traveled to the South by Southwest Festival as a “mobile venue” for local music.

LLF co-founder Chris Naoum told the Washington City Paper (WCP) that the group’s current goal is to identify new means of revenue for local musicians.

To make this happen, LLF is partnering with, a Panorda-like station for local music, to launch a D.C. local-music app by November. Columbus, Ohio is the only other city with a station so far.

According to a press release, this app is still in its Beta phase, the stage before it is ready for release. Soon, users will be able to filter by city and genre, as well as search for specific bands, create favorite lists, and create and share playlists.

The group said that its first big goal will be to create a local musician marketplace for the artists and develop a local business advertising platform for compensation purposes.

Jonathan L. Fischer has followed news surrounding groups like LLF and has written about them for the WCP Arts Desk blog. Last April, Fischer questioned their efforts.

“As someone who values a Washington whose cultural life is both distinct and worldly, I’m nervous about this sort of genre-agnostic focus on what area code artists happen to live in,” he said. “But in consuming culture, I’ve never felt “local” to be an inherent plus. Not exactly. What matters, or ought to matter, is whether something is interesting, forward-thinking, vibrant—and mostly importantly, good.”

For those who appreciate or even prefer local music, upcoming events this fall will surely spark interest.

Nov. 2 is the start of DCWeek, and a launch party will be held at Penn Social on E Street Northwest. LLF and will provide streaming playlists from local artists and feature live performances from bands like Black Masala and Dance for the Dying.

A complete list of fall featured LLF artists can be found at

Below is a featured video reviewing DCWeek 2011. 

DCWEEK In Review (2011) from iStrategyLabs on Vimeo.


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