Take the Music City Census; inform the future

TLDR: Pause for 15-minutes and take this anonymous survey, the results may help drive the future of Music City.

Making a living in the music industry has become increasingly difficult within the greater Music City area. It would be easy to argue that it’s next to impossible to make a living solely in the arts. Musicians, venue owners, recording engineers, music video directors, choreographers, fashion designers, graphic designers, bartenders, and so many more make up a vast ecosystem that rely and support one another but many can not afford to live in the city and even more can not make a wage supporting themselves. In short, the ecosystem is unhealthy.

The recently launched Greater Nashville Music Census aims to properly understand where the greatest pain points are for all involved in that ecosystem. The data collected by this census will presented in three reports – a summary, a data deep-dive and a DEI overview (that’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion – fair to say another huge problem area for Music City). Those reports will ideally be leveraged by the local government to help inform decisions in the coming years. As it stands currently, data driven decision making at the top is just not happening because the data simply doesn’t exist.

The coalition behind the census is comprised of ten lead partners – Music Venue Alliance of Nashville, Community Foundation of Middle TN, TN Entertainment Commission, CMA, Visit Music City, Nashville Musicians Association, Belmont University, Backstage Strategies, AMA and Broadway Entertainment Association – and a list of 80+ community partners, We Own This Town among them. The census is intended for Davidson county and 13 adjacent counties! For a full list of counties, see the census site.

The primary goal of the census is data collection, with an intended application of that data by the local government. There’s no guarantee that they’ll take the insights to heart but other cities such as Austin, Chattanooga and Sacramento are attempting the same approach and have shown early signs of positive results. Nashville is at the tail end of a separate study of independent venues, so there are already strong signals that data driven decision making is a methodology they seek to embrace. All told, the magic eight ball seems to be pointing towards more good than not coming from the census.

Anyone that has lived in Nashville for a short period of time is aware of the rising cost of living, the impossibility of sustaining a living in the arts and a troubling lack of diversity all over. These are issues that can be fixed. It won’t be over night and it won’t be with one sweeping resolution but it is possible. To get there, the problem areas must be properly understood. The Greater Nashville Music Census aims to provide those insights. Take the Survey and help inform the future on how best to solve the cities problems.