Apr 18, 2022 - News

Reviving the Music City Music Council

Multiple musical notes merging into one
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Metro Councilmember Jeff Syracuse is pushing the city to revive its Music City Music Council to help the entertainment industry.

  • Syracuse tells Axios the music council, a volunteer board composed of Music Row executives, has languished in recent years.

Why it matters: Coming out of the pandemic, the needs of music-based small businesses and working-class creatives have crystallized.

  • The music council initially helped attract industry events and economic development deals. Syracuse wants to restore that function while adding a focus on policies that could help working-class music industry professionals.

Details: He points to the struggles of independently owned music venues and the lack of affordable housing as examples of issues a revitalized music council could address.

  • Syracuse believes the city can help through a public-private partnership with stakeholders such as Nashville's largest music organizations and groups like the Convention and Visitors Corp.
  • Major music organizations such as the Country Music Association and the Nashville Songwriters Association International support the proposal.

What he's saying: "This city has always been a mecca for someone with a dream and talent to move here," Syracuse says.

  • "But we're losing that. We have to support people from songwriters to entrepreneurs being able to live in this city and make a living."

Flashback: The Music City Music Council was conceptualized by then-Mayor Karl Dean during his first term.

  • Later, then-Mayor Megan Barry bulked up the initiative with a full-time staffer. Music Row heavyweights like Joe Galante and Randy Goodman have chaired the council.
  • The goal was to recruit music businesses to open offices in Nashville and to expand the city's live music offerings with more festivals, awards shows and public-private collaborations.

State of play: The pandemic sidelined the music council's work, however, and Syracuse says there hasn't been a staffer singularly dedicated to the Music City Music Council in a few years.

The bottom line: "This is really the opportunity to hit reset, reconsider what the organization can be so that it's successful, and drill down on who we'd like to see as the staff to support its vision," he says.

What's next: Metro Council will vote on Syracuse's proposal Tuesday.

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