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Ever since colonial times, Philadelphia has been home to a vibrant and well-documented musical scene. Benjamin Franklin, who was one of the town’s earliest and best-known citizens, was famous for many inventions, but perhaps his least well-known contraption was the glass armonica, a musical instrument that he built and took to dinner parties and other gatherings to play for friends and acquaintances (presumably when he wasn’t clamoring for independence from England). Both Mozart and Beethoven composed music for Franklin’s extremely popular, musical invention. Since those early days, further innovations in sacred and religious compositions, classical music, opera, choral music, gospel, R&B, jazz, soul, rock’n’roll, and hip-hop, have all deservedly earned the city of Philadelphia both national and international renown.
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The city’s oldest musical venue, located at the juncture of Broad and Locust Streets, is the famous Academy of Music, which opened in 1857. It is the longest continuously operating opera house in the United States. In 1963, the building was declared a National Historic Landmark. The city’s newest venue, built in 2001, is the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, home to the world-famous Philadelphia Orchestra.
In between, countless other performing arts centers, concert halls, clubs, theaters, and performance spaces have played host to an equally countless number of performing artists from all musical genres. Even Philadelphia’s Macy’s Department Store provides music: the 28,500 pipe Wanamaker Organ, built in 1904, is played for the delight of shoppers twice a day, Monday through Saturday!
In the 20th century, Philadelphia was widely known as the home of the, then-nascent, musical form called rock’n’roll. During the 1950s and ‘60s, American Bandstand, the national television show that would prove to transform popular music in America and around the world, broadcast its teenage-friendly fare from its studio at 46th and Market Streets. Many of the city’s home-grown talents performed for TV audiences of millions, including Chubby Checker, Frankie Avalon, Fabian, and Bobby Rydell. Danny & the Juniors were among the first Philadelphia doo- wop groups to garner a national following.
Equally noteworthy is Philadelphia’s jazz heritage, beginning with Ethel Waters, who was the earliest star for Black Swan Records, the first widely distributed label to be owned and operated by, and marketed to, African Americans. Tenor saxophonist, John Coltrane, who moved to the city from North Carolina, is considered one of the most innovative jazz musicians of the last century. Stan Getz and Dizzy Gillespie also called Philadelphia, home. Philadelphia jazz was based out of clubs along Columbia Avenue in North Philadelphia and other venues, such as the Clef Club, the Showboat, and Pep's in South Philadelphia.
In the 1970s, the Philly Soul sound arrived - a genre of soul music characterized by funk and jazz influences and backed up by lush instrumental arrangements. Philly Soul performers included Lou Rawls, Teddy Pendergrass, The Delfonics, The O’Jays, Archie Bell & the Drells, The Stylistics, Patti LaBelle, and Grover Washington, Jr., among others. Today, Philadelphia’s modern music scene includes alternative hip hop, Grindcore, Industrial music, hardcore punk, electronic dance music, and rap. With the second-largest Jamaican population of any city in the United States, Philadelphia also hosts many Jamaican music clubs, devoted to styles like dancehall. Neo-soul star John Legend, attended the University of Pennsylvania and has maintained ties to the city. Indie rock artists like Joan Jett come from Philly as do some critically acclaimed rock and metal bands and singer/performers, including: Cinderella, Hall and Oates, Todd Rundgren, and The Walkmen.
Bison Disc plays its part in the modern music scene by helping bands duplicate and replicate their performances on CDs, and sometimes on DVDs, as well. We’re the company that can reproduce a recorded concert on any number of discs, custom-package them in one of our Jewel cases, Sleeves, Jackets, Wallets, or Digipaks, making them available to the wider public. Major musical festivals in Philadelphia include the West Oak Lane Jazz Festival (held annually in June), the Bach Festival of Philadelphia (since 1976), and the long-standing and historical Philadelphia Folk Festival. There are also a number of different summer concert series and ethnic festivals held at Penn's Landing, including the Smooth Jazz Summer Nights Series in August. And for the past 24 years, the Rittenhouse Square Summer Concert Series has attracted thousands with live music from local and national jazz, rock, country and R&B bands.
<p?While not known as a major film town, Philadelphia has, nonetheless, been used as a background location for several well-known movies, including the popular Rocky anthology, Brian De Palma’s 1981 classic, Blow Out, Philadelphia, which earned Tom Hanks an Oscar, National Treasure, with Nicholas Cage, and most recently, Silver Linings Playbook starring Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro, who played a rabid Philadelphia Eagles fan.
The city hosts several film festivals each year, including the Filadelphia Latin American Film Festival, the Black Star Film Festival, the Philadelphia Film and Animation Festival, the FirstGlance Film Festival, the Terror Film Festival, the Philadelphia Asian-American Film Festival, and the big one, the Philadelphia Film Festival, which is presented annually by the Philadelphia Film Society, and features over 200 films screened at seven different, unique venues throughout the Greater Philadelphia area.
These days, most film festival movies are shown on DVD or Blu-ray disc, because reproducing them on film stock is expensive and beyond the means of many independent filmmakers. At Bison Disc, we’re in the business of duplicating and replicating DVDs and Blu-ray discs for our friends in the film industry. We have many different packaging options as well, up to and including, box and collector sets. The Greater Philadelphia Film Office is the city department that serves to attract film and video production to the region - everything from feature films to TV commercials to music videos and industrial films. The Office also provides film producers free assistance with parking, permits, labor and locations, and generally acts as the liaison between productions and the local community.
At Bison Disc, we act as the liaison between the creators of music and film and the audiences who enjoy them. We duplicate and replicate CDs and DVDs, and provide the packaging and mailing services that get discs into the homes of consumers. We’re an integral part of these two industries, both in the City of Brotherly Love, and across the rest of the country.
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