What’s The Best City In The U.S. For Musicians? The Answer Might Surprise You

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When people think of the music business, they immediately think of Los Angeles. After all, doesn’t it have the most artists, musicians, recording studios and record labels? If that was your answer, you’d be wrong. The U.S. city that leads in all those categories and more is actually Nashville.

The Music Industry Report 2020 by Exloration.io took a look at numerous factors involving the music business across 9 major cities in the United States and found that the Nashville region has much more going for it than many of us thought. Understand that this study was commissioned by the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce so it was going to be kind to the area no matter what, but the numbers still show that Nashville is truly earned the name “Music City.”

The study looked at the cities around the country that have large music scenes, including Los Angeles, New York, Austin, Chicago, Memphis, Denver, Miami and New Orleans. Music industry aspects that were taken into account include the number of music publishers, the amount of record production and distribution, music instrument manufacturing, recording studios, musical groups and artists, music software developers, radio networks and radio stations.

A number was derived from the above data sets from 2019 that was called the Location Quotient that provided the ranking. The rankings are:

  1. Nashville – 6.11
  2. Los Angeles – 2.16
  3. New York -1.37
  4. Austin – 1.13
  5. New Orleans – 1.09
  6. Memphis – 1.07
  7. Denver – 1.00
  8. Miami – 1.00
  9. Chicago 0.84

Nashville came in #1 in every category, with Los Angeles a distant #2 in most except for recording studios. That said, Memphis, Denver, and Austin have strong concentrations of music software developers. Memphis was also a close second in the number of radio stations.

One of the things that many overlook about Nashville is that it’s no longer just a country music town. It’s very cosmopolitan with a diverse population and tastes that include all types of music. It’s also a booming tech town with both mature and start-up companies finding a comfortable and cost-efficient home.

Even though its famous Music Row is gradually coming to an end, I expect Nashville to continue to grow in stature in the music business and otherwise in the future.

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