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Greater Nashville Music Census On the Way to Help Meet the Needs of Nashville-Area Music Community

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As Nashville’s economy continues to boom, the acceleration brings not only an influx of new businesses to Music City, but also concerns for musicians, as many in greater Nashville’s music community face ongoing struggles with issues including cost of living and housing and issues impacting live music venues across the city.

The Nashville Musicians Union AFM Local 257, the Music Venue Alliance Nashville, Belmont University, the Broadway Entertainment Association and the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee (CFMT) have teamed with the organization Sound Music Cities, which has administered similar surveys in 20+ cities, including Austin, Texas and Chattanooga, Tenn., to launch the Greater Nashville Music Census in 2024.

According to the website for the Greater Nashville Music Census, the initiative aims to “gain a better understanding of the current needs of the Nashville-area music community. The census will capture key information about our Nashville music economy to help the city and community make better informed, data-driven decisions to support our music ecosystem moving forward.”

The census is set to go live in mid-February and will survey the greater Nashville region, which includes the 13 counties in and around Nashville.

Fueling the need for the census are concerns that as Nashville’s economy booms, rising housing expenses are forcing many in Nashville’s music industry further from Nashville.

CFMT vp of communications Kelly Walberg said in a statement, “In recent years, many within our music industry have migrated to surrounding counties where the cost of living may remain more affordable. So we feel it is paramount that we survey the full geographic region to truly understand the current landscape of our Nashville music ecosystem.”

“The economic growth being fueled by our amazing music scene in Nashville is also causing so many within the industry to be left behind,” Belmont University assistant professor, music business and LoveNoise founder Eric Holt said in a statement. “Our hope is to give each and every one of them a voice in this census, and come out of it with a clear path towards what solutions are needed most, and soonest.”

Results of the census are expected to be released to the public as early as summer 2024, and will include three sections: a summary report, data deck and a DEI report.

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