It wasn’t long ago that radio airwaves and music video networks were dominated by the sounds of Seattle and the “grunge” rock movement. And even the casual music fan can conjure up images of alternative rock, college-bred bands of Athens, Georgia from the late-'80s and early-'90s. Pockets of homegrown regional sounds that reached a national and international audience cropped up all over America, with Austin and Nashville close behind. 

Then came the Internet, which destroyed maps, borders and boundaries in a virtual second. Local scenes became genres and sub-genres, and fans were no longer beholden to the menu of local artists or radio offerings as the globe became an a-la-carte invitation to discover and share new sounds from faraway places. Bands literally went to sleep unknown, and woke up to a viral buzz. And while labels had previously relied on overtly traditional methods of measuring success to determine “the next big thing,” suddenly the tail was wagging the dog via fan chatter, sharing, postings and downloads. You no longer found a “rock en espanol” band in Mexico over spring break or that amazing British trip-hop duo on a jaunt to London. A high-speed connection and musical curiosity became your passport to the international music scene.

Today, artists are a product of a cosmopolitan global community that is deeply connected. Metros all over the world are making their mark on music with influences from cultures around the world.

Here are a few of the scenes making noise and putting their respective cities on the global music map.

Brooklyn Live Music

Brooklyn, N.Y., U.S.A.

One would be hard-pressed to talk about music hubs without mentioning Brooklyn. The gentrification of Manhattan’s young, slacker brother has led to a plethora of DIY music venues, coffee shops and musicians who are viewed as the essence of "hipster" and treated like deities among those in the know. Many of these indie acts have hit the national spotlight and shared the stages with Top 40 pop stars, appropriating nostalgia and irony effectively. The sound of Brooklyn can’t be classified by one genre, rather an amalgamation of acoustic-rooted sounds blending old and new styles into a melting pot of campfire rock. And now that the masses have turned their heads to Brooklyn for high culture and art, bands are reaping the benefits.

Stockholm Live Music

Stockholm, Sweden

Laymen are oblivious to the influence Stockholm musicians have had on our American sugar pop-filled ears. Besides being the birthplace of Spotify, you’d be shocked to lean that the vast majority of the Top 40 charts are dominated by writers and producers from Sweden who’ve had their hands on the sound of pop powerhouses for decades. In fact, more worldwide No. 1 songs have come from Sweden than any other country in the past decade. Stockholm’s dominance proves that this tiny Scandinavian country is quiet in stature, but booming in sound. 

Moscow Live Music

Moscow, Russia

The Moscow music scene made international headlines recently when a shockingly abrasive feminist punk group make national headlines. Arrested and thrown in jail, this episode cast new light on the limits to artistic freedom. But once thing is clear: Moscow has a thriving underground punk rock scene. Civil unrest breeds great art, and the streets are filled with artists and actors searching for their voice. Conflict with the government is an inevitable factor of geopolitical art, and Russian rockers are meeting the challenge head-on. The world is watching, so expect to see Russian artists in the headlines and on the charts.

Accra Live Music

Accra, Ghana

Ghana’s capital is home to one of the most exciting and little-known scenes going on right now. This afro-pop, dancehall centric scene has recently caught the attention of the BBC and popular EDM artists. The combination of pop and African-inspired dance music is a sound “rooted in local style which also finds in influence in global trends,” says Eli Enven, a DJ and hip-hop producer known as Kashaka. Heavily focused on danceability, the biggest songs come equipped with their own corresponding dance moves. “The Azonto” has been Accra’s biggest success to date, reaching ears worldwide. The song has inspired a movement, resulting in more venues and clubs to open for artists hoping to capture the next wave. The U.S. and the U.K. are slowly turning their heads to African rhythms, and the excitement can now be felt in audiences.

Berlin Live Music

Berlin, Germany

The sounds of Berlin grew from the roots of underground experimental techno and electronic music into a mainstream international hub. Affordable for young artists and an abundance of dance clubs makes Berlin the top choice for the under-25 set globally. Though the EDM scene has its own place in popular culture, those looking for something a little more gritty and authentic are turning to Berlin. With a rich history and a contemporary aesthetic, musicians across the globe cite this city a huge inspiration for all things creative.

“On any given Saturday night, there are options ranging from experimental noise to commercial deep house to the most stereotypically pounding techno available, usually from acts who represent the best of their respective fields,” says Aaron Gonsher, an import from New York’s electronic scene.

Berlin is struggling to stay underground; its secret is officially out. The aftermath of the Berlin Wall has more than opened the doors – the city has embraced a liberal ideology, and has found solace in a welcoming music scene and nightlife enabling all those of interest free entry. The people and sound of Berlin aren’t looking for fame and fortune, just a place to dance.

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