Music cities are special places. They don’t develop and grow through the analysis of market data and the implementation of local government ‘strategies’. No. Rather, they emerge through the connection people make to a place where they can engage with other likeminded people. There are many things that can make a place one of TheMusicCities, and at the end of the day, if you connect to a place through music, or to music through a place, that’s all you need.
We’re not talking about stadium concerts, huge festivals out in a cornfield, or cover bands playing in a biker bar. We’re talking about real, authentic places where musical creativity drives entrepreneurship, quality of life and placemaking. Places that people want to be because of the music. Places that people think of because of music. Musicians that people think of because of a place. Places where music drives economic growth and quality of life. Places where music improves the public realm.
This is about placemaking and driving entrepreneurship and cultural arts through the universal language of music. We talk a lot about art and culture, and how it is an important driver of economic growth. But not all genres of art are for everyone, and art is definitely seen through the eye of the beholder. That’s what makes music unique, and first among equals in the arts.
Not everyone is into museums. Not everyone is into the opera. Not everyone is into theater. Not everyone appreciates visual arts, nor sculpture. But EVERYONE has their favorite type of music. Each person’s musical preference may be different, and there may be genres that someone personally dislikes, but have you ever met anyone that dislikes all music? We certainly haven’t.
Music stirs emotions. It helps us relive important events in our lives. It triggers deja vu of people, and of places. And that musical connection to place is how people engage with one another. It is what helps make a place open and welcoming. It is how we discover things we like about other cultures we may not understand and meet people we would not otherwise get to know. It is how strangers find their tribe when they arrive to a new place. And it is a strong economic driver that often supports a hidden economy that needs to be exposed.
So what makes a place one of TheMusicCities? Here are our inaugural lists:
We look forward to hearing your lists and learning why your city should be thought of as one of TheMusicCities.