City is looking for people in the music industry to complete the census this fall

The Chattanooga Tourism Co. will launch a census of those involved in the local music industry this fall to take stock of where the city is and what it might want to do in the years to come.

The census is conducted in partnership with the City of Chattanooga and ArtsBuild and is funded by the Lyndhurst Foundation. It is hoped that it will capture key insights into the local music economy and help the city and community make more informed, data-driven decisions to support the music ecosystem.

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Musicians, venue owners, journalists, engineers, studio owners, nightclub owners, high school band managers, high school band members 18 and older, music teachers and nonprofit music organizations are targeted for investigation.

Donna Elle Harrison, the tourism agency’s director of cultural tourism and inclusive marketing, told a group of people connected to music venues at Songbirds on Tuesday that the goal was to reach out to anyone who might have an opinion.

“We not only want racial diversity, but age diversity,” Harrison said.

She said too often it feels like people of a certain age or status in life are making decisions for young people about which shows or artists might be booked here and sometimes not. -musicians in positions of authority or decision-making decide things for real musicians.

“We want to hear from everyone,” she said.

“Chattanooga is a deeply musical city, but too often we don’t think of ourselves that way,” Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly said in a press release.

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“As mayor and lifelong music lover, I want to see our creative economy grow, but for that to happen, understanding the human dimensions of our musical assets is crucial, so I encourage all Chattanoogans involved in music to respond to this survey.”

“Music is a vital component of our cultural, heritage and arts initiatives at Chattanooga Tourism Co. The Chattanooga Music Census will help support our local musicians and music community. This, in turn, will benefit venues, restaurants, to festivals and our entire community,” said Barry White, CEO and President of Chattanooga Tourism Co. “The survey results will give us a clear understanding of the need to cultivate equitable music growth within our community.”

The census will be administered by Sound Music Cities, a leading provider of music ecosystem studies and music census work.

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The survey is to be completed by all individuals 18 years of age and older who work in the music industry in any capacity and live in Hamilton, Marion, and Sequatchie counties in Tennessee and Catoosa counties , Dade and Walker in Georgia. Responses are sought from musicians, venue owners, music non-profit organizations, music industry professionals, nightlife service providers, creative service providers, entertainment service providers, assistance, to music teachers and beyond. The completely anonymous results will be published in early 2023.

Each year, Chattanooga welcomes more than 15 million visitors who spend $1.5 billion a year in the community, the tourism agency estimates. On average, that’s about 40,000 visitors to the city, 15,000 of whom stay overnight in local hotels and spend $4.1 million a day on entertainment, shopping, dining and more. In addition to directly supporting local businesses, visitors are temporary taxpayers who save every household in Hamilton County $828 a year in taxes, the agency estimates.

Learn more about the Chattanooga Music Census and sign up for an information session at

Contact Barry Courter at [email protected] or 423-757-6354. Follow him on Twitter @BarryJC.

Alice P. Darby