April 18, 2022
Good Monday morning to all of you. We hope you had a restful and resplendent weekend.
- Today's weather: Partly sunny with a high of 59°.
Today's newsletter is 815 words — a 3-minute read.
1 big thing: Reviving the Music City Music Council
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 tomorrow.
2. Vote on funding to study venues
In other music business-related legislation, the council will vote tomorrow on whether to fund a study of Nashville's live music industry.
💲 By the numbers: The $300,000 study would be funded by:
- $260,000 in federal pandemic relief funds
- $30,000 from the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce
- $10,000 from the Convention and Visitors Corp
Driving the news: The funds would be used to hire a consultant to examine the health of the concert industry, and to help identify possible economic incentives, historic zoning designations and other tools to protect independently owned concert venues.
- The long-time operators of a third venue, Exit/In, may soon be pushed out so that a corporation like Live Nation can run the 50-year-old club.
Fresh job openings around town
3. The Setlist
🗳 State Sen. Brenda Gilmore (D-Nashville) announced her plans to retire a few days after Keeda Haynes entered the race for Gilmore's seat. (Tennessean)
💵 A Nashville judge will not intervene in the state's possible financial takeover of the town of Mason. (WPLN)
🎧 Prominent hip-hop artist R.A.P. Ferreira is putting down roots in Nashville. (Nashville Scene)
⚖️ A Tennessee appeals court denied a death row inmate's request to reopen his case days before his execution date. (Associated Press)
🍎 State auditors found millions of dollars meant to support meals for vulnerable children were misappropriated. (Tennessee Lookout)
4. Adam's Music Monday
👋 Adam here. My birthday is coming up Saturday, so I convinced Nate to let me take over our Music Monday playlist and turn it into a 35-track journey through my mind.
- Buckle up!
The intrigue: Growing up here shaped my tastes over the years. Several of this week's selections have ties to my Nashville story.
Flashback: My paternal grandfather Francis, who used the stage name Sonny Day, played accordion and earned a spot as an original member of country icon Roy Acuff's backing band, the Smoky Mountain Boys.
- He played with Acuff in Nashville in the 1940s, appearing on the Grand Ole Opry back when acts rehearsed before shows in the alley outside the Ryman Auditorium stage door. He returned to Music City in 1965 with my dad and the rest of the family and started his own band.
- I've selected one of his favorites from his time with the Smoky Mountain Boys: "Wabash Cannonball."
🎤 Of course, I had to invite my other favorite Nashvillians — Trisha Yearwood and Taylor Swift — to the party.
- My pick from the Carpenters also has a local connection: It was co-written by John Bettis, who lives here.
💐 Nate's song of the day is "Rhododendron" by the fantastic New Orleans band Hurray for the Riff Raff.
🍬 Adam is still buzzing from all the SweeTarts. What's your favorite Easter candy?