Digital technology from myspace.com to a recording studio on your laptop means that music can literally be made and distributed anytime, anyplace, and anywhere. But it is also clear that a great deal of music continues to come out of particular cities and their music scenes.
The graph below, from a new study from my colleagues at the Martin Prosperity Institute ranks the major music locations in the U.S. and Canada. Even before I moved to Toronto I was aware of the musical talent that comes out of Canada: from classic rockers like Joni Mitchell and Neil Young to Rush’s brand of rock and pop stars like Nelly Furtado or indie darlings New Pornographers, Arcade Fire, and Feist. So our team at the Institute decided to see what the numbers might tell us about differences between the Canada and U.S. music industries.
The rankings are based on location quotients which gauge the relative concentration of music industry establishments, including record labels, distributors, recording studios, and music publishers.
Interestingly enough, half the top 15 cities are Canadian. Still, the United States is home to the two top-ranked cities – Nashville which is literally off-the-chart on this measure and Los Angeles, the center for global entertainment. Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal all out-rank New York on this score. Atlanta makes the top 15 as do college towns like Austin and Madison, Wisconsin. U.S. establishments are considerably bigger than their Canadian counterparts, with average receipts of $4.1 million per establishment, nearly eight times the Canadian average of $540,000. But, Canada in fact has about five times the level of music establishments after controlling for population, 5.9 music establishments per $100,000 compared to 1.2 for the U.S.
The full report is here.