Richard Florida, writing for The Atlantic, just published a fascinating article called
The Changing Geography of Pop Music .
The article confirms, via statistics, that Nashville leads the world by a hefty margin in its concentration of music businesses (i.e., record labels, publishers, publishers, distributors, recording studios, etc.). The article establishes with quantitative facts what we all have been feeling for years, that there’s something going on here. Despite the clear decline of major label’s country presence, there has been an organic growth of other genres, that can no longer just be seen as an anomaly - as well as a healthy repositioning of the country market. It’s a triumph of an infrastructure that has existed since Owen Bradley and Chet Atkins first started recording here. This infrastructure encompasses everything from studios and engineers, to gear rental companies to CPA’s and lawyers. This is largely why artists as diverse as Bob Dylan, The Who, Neil Young, Elvis Costello, Robert Plant and The White Stripes have quietly been recording here for the past 40 years. It’s a good place to get stuff done. As Florida writes, “The ongoing evolution of Nashville has made it into something of a Silicon Valley of the music business, combining the best institutions, the best infrastructure, and the best talent.”
Interestingly, the next top four cities are Los Angeles, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. What (besides Justin Beiber and the Arcade Fire) is going on in Canada?