Over the last several years, cities have increasingly recognized the importance of a vibrant and healthy music ecosystem in generating social, cultural and economic benefits. The list of cities that are in various stages of actively developing a music development strategy is growing every year. 


Before you embark on the journey of a music development strategy, you’ll need more than just “we want to grow our music economy.” You have to fully understand the issues in your city and where you want to go. Once you settle on where you want to plant the goal post, you’ll ultimately need two sets of roadmaps, one for how to get the information you need and one that gets you where you want to go. With the right team and local partnerships in place, you can easily get there.

Every city that is tackling these issues is going to require vastly different solutions and a different set of tools and a team that knows how to use those tools based on experience. And, the team is going to need to really understand private and public sector dynamics in each city.

Research, Research, Research

Every city seems to have a long anecdotal list of things they see wrong with their music ecosystem. Research doesn’t have to be that costly. Often times we’ve seen costly research take place with no follow-up on using it. There are efficient ways to perform this research with local partners; the key here is to know the right questions to ask and to know what you are looking for in the plethora of information. Data comes in many forms and should be the driver of what ultimately ends up in your plan.


We’ve seen a lot of strategies over the last several years and some hit it out of the park and some, unfortunately, find themselves in the same pile of reports that have so much gobbledygook they end up on a shelf collecting dust. 

You have to be disciplined to keep the plan focused only on the issues.

Below are the key areas of focus that your music development strategy should include. We’ll provide a deeper dive in these three areas in our next post.

  • Foundational support for musicians
  • Live music support for the local business that provides live music outlets
  • Music business development

In the meantime, think about what attributes your city already has and what you think would serve your city’s music economy best.