• The Big Lil

Save Local Music

Because Music Matters

David Schanen launched to help live music venues stay afloat during the COVID-era, by using 3D technology to produce virtual events. And, for those who don’t survive COVID, he is working to capture their stories and in-house shows in 3D, so that we can continue to experience them virtually for years to come.

This is a pretty big side project – you’re trying to save our music scene. What are you doing and how did this all get started for you?

I have a life's purpose to save local music. I actually started as a dj at 10 years old. And then I got into video and later computers.

In the early 90s, I helped a bunch of Internet startups get online and I was exploring what I was going to do next, trying to understand where the Internet was going. Ultimately, I decided I wanted to build a social network. This was 1994.

I tried to think, what would a social network look like? I knew it had to be built around a community of trust. And that it would be related to events, because I believe that our most valuable social interactions are through events and the activities we do with each other. So that's where I started.

How exactly did you land a gig as a DJ at 10?

My fifth-grade class toured the local radio station one day. And at the end of the tour, there was a Q&A and they asked if anybody had any questions. I was a smart-ass kid and I jokingly asked: do you needed a 10 year-old dj? And the guy said: I don't see why not, go ask your parents. And so that's how I got started.

How did you end up pursuing this passion for 3D recordings?

A few years ago, the real estate industry started using 3D videos and I thought that technology would be really great to promote local music venues. I wanted to focus on music first, because I think that the music scene needs it. The music venues have always struggled. It's a total labor of love. And, now, with COVID, they’re just devastated.

You took this passion for technology, merged it with your passion for music, and are now working to use this platform to support local venues and musicians. What sort of value do you believe your service offers for the venues and the musicians?

1. Some of these spaces are going away forever. They're not coming back up. I want to get in there with my cameras, capture the spaces before they go away. I plan to have an online virtual museum of music venues where people can come and see what was there…so that you can see videos of bands that have played there from while you're visiting the space.

2. I want to capture those spaces on the verge of going away, to raise awareness about their situation and offer their fans and their neighborhood an opportunity to come visit the space virtually and make a donation while they're ‘in the space’.

3. I want to do live streams from those spaces before they open again, to help generate excitement and raise money.

What are the venues you're really missing right now?

Oh, gosh. It's a long list.

· The Royal Room is up there – I actually scanned them before COVID.

· The KEXP space is amazing.

· And, of course, Tractor Tavern, Darrell’s, and Tim’s Tavern

Hey, Seattle, here’s how you can help?

  • To start, what venue are you really missing right now? Go to their site, to see what asks they have from their community. And, encourage them to check out to explore the use of 3D technology to capture and share their live music experience.

  • Dave’s effort is a passion project - Donate to the site

  • Or, volunteer to help build the project

  • Know of any other community-led efforts to save our local business or non-profit community? Share your suggestions and ideas with us at

About Big Lil Seattle

Big Lil Seattle launched to share the stories on how Seattle’s small businesses and small non-profits are REALLY fairing in this COVID era: how they’re impacted, pivoting, and planning for next steps. Perhaps, most importantly, we also identify clear steps on how we can all help. 

Big Lil Seattle is a project of The Big Lil, which offers big solutions to help grow your small business or non-profit.

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