As Indianapolis continues to grow, and culture evolves as the centerpiece, success will come from a symbiotic relationship and a solid foundation between artists, government, businesses, and music consumers. Indianapolis needs a music strategy.


Music is inextricably tied to the economies, and brands, of many of our thriving American cities: think Nashville, Seattle, Atlanta, and Austin, to name a few. A closer look at Indianapolis’ music assets indicates that with some effort and coordination, Indianapolis could and should be included on that short list. In our current environment, artists struggle to reach regional success, venues and artists face legality and policy hurdles, and conversation about music is met with exclusion.

Laid out in the Indy Chamber’s Accelerate Indy economic development plan, to be competitive, we need to invest in a vibrant and inviting image, in attractive and connected places, and build an identity and culture around innovation and entrepreneurship. As Indianapolis continues to build momentum in a 21st century economy, it needs a talented, creative workforce to support future growth. Music and the creative class help us build a more diverse and inclusive community that challenges convention and encourages innovation. 

Sound Diplomacy, the global leader of the music cities movement, will be putting together a three-year strategy by assessing Indianapolis’ music ecology, determining its economic impact (direct & indirect) to identify what requires addressing in policy, stakeholder engagement, and strategy.  

Through the music strategy, we will develop a blueprint to drive the music economy in Indianapolis by creating a formal inventory of our music assets and building a support framework for our artists and venues. Music has the power to generate economic growth, increase tax revenues, attract the brightest talent, and contribute to the health of cities. A comprehensive strategy delivers:


  • employment and skills growth

  • economic development

  • increased conferences and events

  • talent attraction and retention

  • community engagement

  • better places & spaces

  • enhanced reputation

  • increased tourism

  • international networks

  • stakeholder engagement

The Music Cities Strategy will directly complement the Cultural Economies Initiative for Indianapolis, which emphasizes the creative class by laying out the need for a focus on music, film and new media, design, food, and sports and recreation. The Cultural Economies Initiative offers some insight into the intersection of economic, cultural, and community development. In its vision for music, the initiative calls for a local music scene and economy that is supported by a diverse all-ages audience for both traditional music offerings and new music.

Photos and videos from the Music Cities Forum, May 2018.

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