Music Cities

Nashville has recently become an economic mecca for young professionals looking for jobs out of college, but before its development boom it was mostly known for its music.  Nashville started one of the first major music radio stations in 1925 which featured a live broadcast called the Grand Ole Opry.  Venues like the Ryman Auditorium and the collection of studios and live music venues known as Music Row cultivated a community of artists and musicians in the mid 20th century and made Nashville the strong tourism magnet it is today. New music-based tourism projects are setting economic records, and the city still attracts mainstream and independent artists from around the world.

Other American cities and neighborhoods have also been shaped by music, though many without the name recognition Nashville has. Dallas’ Deep Ellum was one of the first thriving blues and jazz scenes in the 1920s, and though the neighborhood’s fortunes have risen and fallen through the decades, live music has remained central to its redevelopment. Because music districts like Music Row and Deep Ellum developed pre-World War 2, they’re often walkable, centrally located and convenient to out-of-town visitors, helping to bolster tourism and their regional economic benefit.

Music festivals like New Orleans’s  Jazz & Heritage Festival bring thousands of visitors to cities over multi-day events as well.  Between hotel stays, food purchases and shopping, New Orleans sees a regional economic impact of hundreds of millions of dollars just from this one festival. Even smaller, low-key festivals can help cities market themselves as regional creative hubs and supplement their budgets. To learn more about how music can shape the culture and economies of cities, check out Sound Diplomacy’s music cities speaker series later this year.

​Music Tourism Convention, Franklin, TN. The first ever US edition will be held 21-22 September 2017 and will focus on all aspects of music tourism, from destination marketing, to making the most of your music attractions to looking inside the world’s best festivals. Speakers include the VP of Goldenvoice Concerts, the Head of Marketing UK at, the Executive Director of the Tina Turner Museum. Take a look at the schedule here.

Music Cities Convention, Memphis, TN. Will be held 26 October 2017 and will focus on all aspects of music in cities from the problems facing artists to music strategies in cities to smart music cities and how data can be harnessed to help artists. There’ll be an opening reception the historic Stax Museum and speakers include Chief Cultural Officer for the City of Philadelphia, Head of Culture for the City of Guadalajara and the musician Emily Barker. Check out all the speakers here.