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Abstract

Chicago Music City, a first-of-its kind study conducted by the Cultural Policy Center at the University of Chicago, compares the strength and vitality of music industries and scenes across the United States, and finds that Chicago is a leader by nearly each indicator measured. As cities across the United States vie with each other to attract and retain business, sociologists, urban planners, and real estate developers point to quality of life and availability of cultural amenities as important indicators of the health and future success of urban areas. A number of these cities are turning to economic impact studies to show the importance of the music to the local economies. Chicago Music City compares Chicago’s musical strength with the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the U. S., focusing especially on a group of eleven comparison cities: Chicago and its demographic peers, New York and Los Angeles, plus eight others with strong musical reputations – Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Las Vegas, Memphis, Nashville, New Orleans and Seattle. Initially intended to serve as a benchmark for measuring the future growth of the Chicago’s music community, Chicago Music City offers a new twist on the economic impact studies used by music industry and arts advocates across the country.

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