Friday, November 19, 2010

Nashville, Rock City: We're the 10th Best Place to See Live Rock Music

Posted By on Fri, Nov 19, 2010 at 11:30 AM

Our colleagues over at Post Business just tipped us off to news that Nashville is apparently 10th on the list of the best cities to see live rock music, based on a study by tour-dates website Songkick. If you follow anything we've been griping about over at Nashville Cream or in print about Nashville's sometimes uneasy relationship to its branding as a country music capital, it's a nice change to be recognized for a burgeoning rock scene we've been championing for years.

Well, you know, it would be a nice change to be recognized for that. But this isn't really that.

It's more of a ranking of touring acts and how often they play and how many venues we have and how many college kids get out to support those venues. So Austin's No. 1 ranking is no big surprise, although it's a world away from the live rock show experience one has in a place like Vegas, which ranked No. 4 — just sayin'. But if someone can tell me why Madison, Wisconsin, is such a hot-crap place to see a rock show, I'd be grateful. Oh, wait:

To compute the Rock Score, Songkick analyzed its database of more than 1.8 million concerts for rock artists’ 2010 tour dates, where rock includes alternative, indie, punk, classic rock, metal, emo, and rock. Songkick analyzed which cities have the most rock concerts per capita, giving the top city, Austin, a score of 100. All other cities are then ranked against this score — Madison has 78% as many rock concerts per capita as Austin, New Orleans 57%, and so on.

OK, so Austin and Madison have big college populations and hundreds of venues. And we only have 34 percent as many rock shows per capita? They also included average ticket prices for each city in the list, and ours, according to this study, is $20, nearly twice as much as the average ticket prices of cities who ranked above us, such as Portland ($10.33), Seattle ($11.75) and the Twin Cities ($11.36). This reminds me of a story from Grimey's and The Basement proprietor Mike Grimes, who has long remarked that door prices for rock shows are one of (if not THE) only thing that seems to resist inflation, still hovering at the same $5 - $10 range they have been for decades.

But he's only talking small clubs, whereas this study is looking at more established, on-the-grid shows, probably only the kind you can buy tickets for online. Hey Songkick — let's do a study on that!

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