Where you live really does determine your music career, despite what you might think. Yes, so much can be done online these days, but the music community in your city has a lot to do with your musical development and how you’re influenced. The survey on the best and worst cities for music from Clever Research really tells us a lot about the overall music scene in the United States. Watch out for some surprises!
The 10 Best Music Cities
Let’s start with the best cities for music first. This was based on the number of working musicians and the number of music venues, but it also took into account the number of Google searches for music and trends. It turns out that the top 15 best music cities also had the average lowest concert ticket price at $117. Here we go:
|Rank||City||No. Small Venues per Capita||Avg. Concert Ticket Price||% of Income Spent on Monthly Concert||No. of Career Musicians per Capita||Musicians’ Median Hourly Wage||No. of Festivals (2022)|
|6||Salt Lake City, UT||3.7||$122||2.5%||25||$21.09||1|
|7||St. Louis, MO-IL||2.6||$104||2.1%||20||$37.53||1|
|8||San Francisco, CA||2.9||$125||1.4%||37||$48.84||9|
Big surprises here. Who would’ve thought that Indianapolis, Raleigh, Salt Lake City, St. Louis and Buffalo would rank in the top 10?
The 10 Worst Music Cities
It’s a totally different story for the worst music cities, but there were some surprises there as well.
- Miami, Florida
- Las Vegas, Nevada
- Houston, Texas
- San Antonio, Texas
- Dallas, Texas
- Atlanta, Georgia
- Jacksonville, Florida
- New York, New York
- Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
- Phoenix, Arizona
Right off, Miami, Vegas, Houston, Dallas, and New York jump out. It turns out that Miami has a lot of clubs, but most of them don’t have live music. Vegas used to be the mecca for live musicians but many of the showrooms and bars stopped that years ago. Houston and Dallas are home to Texas Blues, but Austin attracts all its musicians. And New York as a city just overwhelms everything and everybody, especially music, as the high-costs to do just about anything is a major impediment.
The one thing all the bottom 10 music cities have in common is that there’s an average of 25% fewer career musicians than the average city, which you certainly wouldn’t expect in Las Vegas and New York.
Every year a study like this of the best and worst cities for music comes out, and every year there’s a surprise. This year there are more than usual, but we live in unusual times. Maybe once some normalcy returns after the pandemic this data will change. It will be interesting to see if it does.