The Mastering of a Music City
Key elements, effective strategies & why it's worth pursuing
This report, based on a literature review, over 40 expert interviews, and two international focus group sessions, aims to provide a “roadmap” for the development of music, especially the commercial music sector, in municipalities of any size, anywhere in the world. The report outlines five essential elements of “music cities”:
- The presence of “artists and musicians;
- A thriving music scene;
- Access to spaces and places;
- A receptive and engaged audience; and
- Record labels and other music-related businesses”.
Regarding the benefits of being a music city, the report outlines “job creation, economic growth, tourism development, city brand building and artistic growth”. Recognition as a music city can also contribute to attracting businesses in other industries as well as talented professionals.
Seven key strategies are recommended to enhance a city’s music sector:
- “Music-friendly and musician-friendly policies”, including “business licensing, liquor licensing, transportation planning and parking, as well as land-use planning”. Also important are “a supporting environment for artists” including training, education, mentorship, hubs or incubators, and affordable housing.
- “A single point of contact for the music community, in the form of a music office or officer”.
- “A music advisory board”, which can “provide an invaluable link between the music community and City Hall”.
- “Engaging the broader music community to get their buy-in and support”.
- “Access to spaces and places”, because music “needs many homes. From education to rehearsal to recording to performance, Music Cities require a variety of quality spaces and places to succeed.”
- “Audience development”, via “proximity to other music markets, transportation links, and promotion of live music events”. A key challenge in this area is “building an audience for local performers”, not just international stars.
- “Music tourism”, building on assets such as “a city’s year-round live music scene, music festivals and historical music landmarks”. A comprehensive music tourism strategy would be the most in-depth development of this idea.
The report identifies key research elements to underpin these strategies, including:
- “Economic impact studies;
- Music tourism impact studies;
- Business inventories;
- Needs assessments; and
- Resource guides.”