When one thinks of Seattle, probably the first thing that comes to mind is rain. Situated on a narrow isthmus between Puget Sound, an inlet of the Pacific Ocean, and Lake Washington, the Emerald City, so named for the lush evergreen forests of the area, gets some amount of precipitation 150 days of the year - more than nearly all U.S. cities east of the Rocky Mountains. It is cloudy 201 days out of the year in Seattle, and the city receives among the least amount of annual sunlight of all major cities in the lower 48 states. Truth be told: Seattle is one grey, soggy town a good part of the year.
And after rain, most folks would probably link Seattle with Microsoft, Starbucks, the Boeing Company, and perhaps the well-known TV comedy, Frasier. But if you were to ask the Seattleites, themselves, what makes their city special, many of them would tell you in one word: music. Today, music and the music industry have a great impact on the daily lives of Seattle’s citizenry, and the town actually possesses a rich musical heritage; but one which only recently has come to the attention of the wider world.
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Why exactly did Seattle become a serious music-making center? Some would say that its relative isolation from the power centers of America’s entertainment industry, forced its denizens to rely upon themselves to make music that would satisfy and entertain one another. Others suggest that the damp weather during the rainy months results in individuals spending an inordinate amount of time indoors, where the creation of art and music makes the long days more tolerable: musicians increase their skills, songwriters hone their craft, and bands rehearse and develop their particular musical profiles - because it’s just no fun going outside.
Whatever the sociological or meteorological reasons, the fact is that, over the years, the Northwest has offered a nurturing environment, replete with roadhouses, taverns, dancehalls, and clubs, to many musicians from many different musical genres, who came to Seattle to sing and play. Among them, at one time or another, were jazz and R&B legend, Ray Charles, country singer/songwriter, Willy Nelson, songstress, Loretta Lynn, folk icon, Woody Guthrie, and even earlier on, boogie-woogie pianist, Jellyroll Morton, who wrote the piano classic, Seattle Hunch.
But it’s the city’s home-grown talent that the music lovers of Seattle are most proud of. The following, at one time, have all called Seattle home: Bing Crosby, Mildred Bailey, the Ventures, Quincy Jones, the Brothers Four, the Chad Mitchell Trio, Larry Coryell, and guitar legend, Jimi Hendrix.
Of course, the most well-known bands to have come out of Seattle’s famed “Grunge” movement in the 1980s were Nirvana and Pearl Jam. These musical explorers created a truly unique sound that was actually a mixture of punk, metal, rock, and glam, and their output became the most influential musical style of the decade. Other notable Seattle Grunge bands are Alice in Chains, Soundgarden and Mudhoney. Well-known musical venues where these bands and other like them continue to perform include: the Showbox at Pike Place Market, Café Racer, the Columbia City Theater, the Crocodile, the Electric Tea Garden, the Vera Project, and many others.
Seattle’s music industry has also grown and matured, along with the musicians, themselves. Today, the city is home to many high-quality recording studios, such as Nastymix and Sub Pop. Over 20,000 Seattleites work in the music sector, earning almost one billion dollars per year. In addition, in 2010, the city of Seattle created the Seattle Music Commission, comprised of 21 members from its “diverse and expansive music industry.” The Commission’s mandate is to “enhance the growth and development of Seattle’s music sector and convey the City’s commitment to the industry, musicians, and audience.”
At Bison Disc, we’re all in favor of enhancing the growth and development of any city’s music sector. And we do our part by being the go-to company for the duplication and replication of music CDs. That way, more music by more artists gets to be heard by more people. So, you might say that we’re actually an important part of the music industry. We take the music in -then make sure that it gets passed around.
As of July 2014, Seattle was the fastest-growing major city in the United States. While still a relatively young town in comparison to many of the country’s other big cities, there is no doubt that as it continues to grow, its musical imprimatur will likewise continue to make itself heard across the country and beyond our borders to music lovers around the world.
And maybe it has to do with the weather, again, because when it’s raining outside, one of the best places to go is the movies. And Seattleites go to a lot of movies. In addition to the many movie houses that dot the town, the Seattle Film Festival has been bringing great films to the Northwest for over 40 years. And the city is no slouch in the filmmaking industry, either. Filmmakers have used Seattle as a backdrop ever since Tugboat Annie was filmed there in 1933.
At Bison Disc, we’re sort of in the background in a way, too. We don’t shoot films or record music CDs, but without companies like us, there would be no way to duplicate, package, transport, or store them. Can you imagine trying to present a DVD of Tugboat Annie in a paper bag? Well, neither can we. That’s why we have so many quality products to package CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray discs. We’ve been meeting our customer needs, nationwide, for over 20 years. We may be in the background, but without us you’d never get to see and hear what’s in the foreground.
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