Study Says Nashville Really Is Music City

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In an article for The Atlantic, author Richard Florida asks, “Is the landscape of popular music changing?”

Florida looks at the recent Grammy wins by Montreal’s Arcade Fire and Nashville’s Lady Antebellum and wonders whether those artists’ home towns aren’t displacing L.A. and New York as the dominant music markets.

Florida and his team have even built a study around where the music industry is based.

“[The chart] uses a statistical measure called a location quotient to chart the concentration of music business establishments – including record labels, distributors, recording studios, and music publishers – in metro areas in the U.S. and Canada with populations over 500,000.”

The results? Nashville is literally off the graph, charting in at more than triple second place Los Angeles. The result also picks up on something that Florida has already posited in his book, The Creative Class, which has served as a sort of inspiration piece for Nashville’s Next BIG Nashville, which aims to put Nashville on the national map as a creative capital for not just country music.

Interestingly, three Canadian cities – Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver – pick up slots in the top five. As Florida points out, Canadian artists were all over the Grammys – from Justin Bieber and Drake, to Michael Buble and Arcarde Fire.

In the Atlantic piece, Florida goes on to show how Nashville transformed itself in the ’60s and ’70s, and has become a hotbed for rock and roll, with Jack White’s Third Man Records now headquartered in the city, right alongside country powerhouses like Lady A and Taylor Swift.

And while there are key examples of music industry cells in Nashville and Montreal, Florida’s study really only shows in specific terms where the industry is – not necessarily the artists. I guess for now we’ll just have to trust that where there’s smoke, there’s fire.


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