Competition: The inevitable downfall of the Chattanooga music scene.

I’ve realized a very sad fact about the music scene in chattanooga as of late. This fact may not come as a surprise to you. Maybe you had no idea. Who knows. This realization came with about a year of unintended research into said realization. This realization that I’m speaking of is the fact that the music scene in Chattanooga is destined for failure. Let me explain…


I’ve been playing music for almost 15 years. I’ve worked really hard at what I do, as I know many really great musicians, musicians who are exponentially better than I am, that have been trying, as I have, to break into the local scene and develop a real following. Something i’ve realized about the music scene here is that its greatly flawed on many levels. One of the main flaws is the particularly dominating attitude of competition between musicians. This attitude isn’t entirely the fault of the musicians. Most of the clubs and coffeehouses are adopting band and artist competitions. This is only further encouraging the attitude of competition between musicians. Why is this a problem, you ask? If the main motivation with a musician locally is competition, then he/she won’t want to help or support the other musicians they see as a threat to their own deal they have going on, which in turn divides what could be a great community of musicians. The problem with a growing division among a certain people group is eventually the division will become too great. The music scene in Chattanooga is discouraging musicians from ever playing out in clubs, bars, and coffeehouses. Chattanooga has become a terrifyingly intimidating place to try to play.

Another level of failure with the local music scene in Chattanooga, is because of this overwhelming division over competition, the music scene here has become extremely “clicky,” and therefore only supports CERTAIN artists and/or bands. Basically, what this does, is it hands the keys to the popular club to the select few that, for whatever reason, are considered the important ones among this people group. Going into a open mic, a music venue on friday night, or really any social music event in Chattanooga, is like walking into a high school moment all over again. Playing any open mic in Chattanooga is the equivalent of being beaten half to death and left for dead. The sad fact of the matter is, it has absolutely nothing to do with how good or bad your music is. It does, however, have everything to do with how much of a “Chattanooga veteran” you are in the music scene. This would be somewhat ok if it made any sense, but the sad reality is that the “veterans” didn’t really do anything special or amazing to earn their title, and it has absolutely nothing to do with earning anything. You can play in Chattanooga for years and get absolutely nowhere. Trust me, I’m speaking from experience.

Upon coming to this realization, I have decided to say “peace out” on the local music scene, and focus my energy more on getting out of this town. The only playing you’ll see me do from now on are shows I’m actually booked at. No more open mic’s for me people.

I encourage comments. I can’t help but wonder who I’ve offended with this blog. But realistically, I’m not that worried about it. If that many local musicians read my blog, I wouldn’t be writing it. My argument would be invalid and unrealistic. But you’re reading it…So what do you think? Have you had any experiences with the local social scene in Chattanooga as a whole and seen this pattern? I don’t believe its limited to just the music scene. Its a city wide epidemic. Thoughts?


2 thoughts on “Competition: The inevitable downfall of the Chattanooga music scene.

  1. What do you think the solution is?
    Do you think it will be different in another city or is that just typical of the music scene?
    I know of so many who admire your art so deeply. Would be sad to lose you, Cody.

  2. What do you think the solution might be?
    Do you think it is different in other cities or is this typical of any local music scene?
    I know many who deeply admire your art…would be such a loss if you left this city.

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