Music City Research

For real data wonks out there, here are a growing number of reports from other cities, organizations and media outlets that demonstrate the power of data.  The Assessment activities planned by MusicPortland model on many of these proven approaches to provide information that is immediately impactful with city planners and funding partners to build support for music and the music economy.  

There are some familiar challenges, interesting solutions and great ideas to be found in these reports.  If you want to understand more about what is possible for an organized city, read on.  We here at MusicPortland would love to hear your thoughts on these reports, so email us, but please reference any data or specific report element (Report name and page number) so we can make use of your thought or highlight.

Other City Studies

United States

Pittsburgh, PA - The Pittsburgh Music Ecosystem Study - A detailed assessment and analysis of their local music community with 1800 study participants (!!).  For a city half our size with far less existing music reputation and activity, this is a great example of what is possible if people engage in our effort.  The action plan is ambitious and far reaching.  We can do better, Portland.  Independent Together.

Seattle - City of Music Report 2008 by the Film and Music Office - Very interesting read from our sister to the North.  They are about 8 years ahead of us, but MusicPortland is working closely with them to build regional success. 

Seattle - Seattle City of Music 2020 Vision - Drafted in 2008, this is the city's commitment to music culture and economic growth.

Austin  - Most recent Austin Music report 2016 - Arguably the city that started the concerted efforts to acknowledge, measure and grow local music economies

Denver - Listen Local Music Research in Denver  2009 - Interesting ways to compare cities and direct policy suggestions. 

Nashville - Summary of Music City recent reports - While Nashville is kind of in its own league, this summary and other, more detailed reports give plenty of great ideas and benchmarks for Portland to use. 

National - Remastering the World of Music - Interesting metrics and hard realities that offer some interesting evolutionary ideas to better support artists.

National - Music Industry Research Association study - National data on the earnings and social conditions for musicians.  How does Portland compare.


Mastering a Music City - this is a universally useful report on the elements that every aspiring music city needs to consider.

Here the Beat: Economic Impact of Live Music in BC Published May 30, 2018 - While this is for a whole province, the majority is from Vancouver BC.  MusicPortland is working with Vancouver, Seattle and other cities to evolve a frictionless Casacadia Music Corridor, so it is worth understanding their current situation.

Organizational Reports

RIAA  sponsored  The U.S. Music Industries: Jobs & Benefits 2018 a report that looks at four large US cities to assess employment impacts from music.  MusicPortland has already spoken with the economists who did this analysis to see if Portland might be added, but as it relied exclusively on Federal NAICs codes (which are woefully flawed currently in Portland), it becomes more of a benchmark reference.  Interesting still.

Related Articles

Denver Claims more live music venues than Austin (2014). Portland has identified 286 places where live music is performed more than twice per week.  Austin most recently claims 175 venues based on the same definition.  What is interesting about this article is that it is the Mayor who is bragging, showing executive commitment to promoting and positioning the music scene.  Wouldn't we love that in Portland?  

How Cities Benefit from Growing a Music culture (2015)  A bit aged, but still very applicable and good foundational reading.