Music culture in America's southern music cities : Memphis, Tennessee and Austin, Texas




Judd, Abbey Elisabeth

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The term “music city” has emerged in the broader context of economic development throughout the twenty-first century as a local branding strategy, tool to enhance cultural tourism, and establish place-based identity through both public policies and private investment. This report explores the “music cities” movement through a comparative case study of Memphis, Tennessee and Austin, Texas music cultures, communities, and local policies and strategies. Research methods include both quantitative economic analysis and qualitative interviews with local musicians and music industry professions in both cities. This study examines the emergent themes around the strengths and weaknesses in each city’s music industry, discusses past and present music policies utilized to cultivate music, and traces music identities and cultures. This comparison outlines how two southern cities that serve as global music hubs with immense musical heritage struggle with rapid growth and disinvestment in the urban core, while attempting similar music-based economic development strategies with varying outcomes


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