Monday, February 21, 2011

According to The Atlantic, When It Comes to Music Industry Saturation, Nashville Is 'off the Charts'

Posted By on Mon, Feb 21, 2011 at 3:26 PM

It may come as no surprise that, according to Richard Florida of The Atlantic, Music City is the national leader — North American leader, really, since Canada was included in his statistical analysis — when it comes to concentration of music business establishments (studios, record labels, distributors, et cetera). What is mildly surprising, however, is just how hard we crush the competition. As indicated in the graphic shown at right, our "location quotient" (re: music industry saturation) is roughly three times that of runner-up Los Angeles. The rest of the top five is rounded out by Canadian cities, with New York City landing at a distant third within the field of American cities.

Florida — who, you may recall, penned a similar piece called "The Nashville Effect" for The Atlantic's Daily Dish a couple of years back — points out the effect that adopted Nashvillians (Jack White, Robert Plant, Keith Urban, et al.) have had on Nashville's boom. He also references his colleague Dan Silver's 2009 analysis of MySpace genre proliferation to point out that Nashville is ... wait for it ... more than just country. Ah, that old chestnut. (It should also be noted that the veracity of artists' self-selected MySpace genres was somewhat debated here on the Cream when that article first appeared; plus, as we all know, MySpace [or My___?] is something of a husk now.) From Florida's Atlantic piece:

Over the past several decades, Nashville transformed itself from a rather narrow country music outpost in the 1960s and 1970s into a major center for commercial music. By the mid-2000s, only New York and Los Angeles housed more musicians. Nashville's rise is even more impressive when you look at its ratio of musicians to total population. In 1970, Nashville wasn't even one of the top five regions by this measure. By 2004, it was the national leader, with nearly four times the U.S. average. Today, it is home to over 180 recording studios, 130 music publishers, 100 live music clubs, and 80 record labels.

Yea verily, the Music City Machine doth churn out plenty more than just country — though it's thanks to country that we have the opportunity to churn out anything else. Anyhow, Florida's piece is an interesting read, with nods being thrown in the respective directions of Miranda Lambert, Arcade Fire, Lady Antebellum and more. Long and short: Nashville is again being called "the Silicon Valley of the music business" (will it stick?!), and if it wasn't for us, America would have only barely beaten out Canada regarding domination of saturation. Come on, America! We can't carry the weight forever. ... Or can we? (To be fair, The Band's "The Weight" was recorded in New York City. But that was Pre-Boom. Pre-Boom!)

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