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The Northeast Tennessee Music Census Survey is Live

To amplify our music community, we need your voice.

The Northeast Tennessee music census is a community-led initiative to gain a better understanding of the current needs of our music community. Our census survey captures key information about the Northeast Tennessee music economy to help the community make more informed, data-driven decisions to support the music ecosystem. Your information is collected by Sound Music Cities, a leading Austin-based provider of music ecosystem studies and music census work.

Our community music census survey closed July 1, 2024.

Because of you, we exceeded our target goal! We will share next steps with community partners August 2024.

We are looking forward to continuing to support and nurture our unique music community.  


City of Johnson City - Freedom Hall Civic Center Logo Well Made Music Logo Create Appalachia Logo Tennessee Hills Logo ETSU CBAT Tri-Cities Airport Authority Logo Appalachian Highlanders Pipes and Drums Logo Birthplace of Country Music Logo Creative Energy Logo Plan A Films Logo DB band Volume Interactive Logo Downtown Kingsport Association Logo My New Favorites Logo Symphony of the Mountains Logo Theatre Bristol Logo TN ECD Visit Johnson City Logo Believe in Bristol Visit Mountain City Logo TEC_logo Mountain Empire Childrens Choral Academy Logo Explore Bristol Logo SoundMusicCities logo TNECD logo Sync Space Logo First Tennessee Development District Logo ETSU logo TNDT logo Kaifa Events Logo Visit Kingsport Logo Niswonger Performing Arts Center Logo NE_TENN_tourism_logo_full_color Paramount Center for the Arts Paramount Bristol Logo Northeast State Primary Logo Dark Blue w tm Tennessee Maurices Music Logo Meadowview Marriott Logo Tennessee High School Logo City of Johnson City Clayton Potter Music JAM of Upper East Tennessee Downtown Kingsport Association Elizabethton Carter County Tourism Johnson City Chamber of Commerce Johnson County Center for the Arts ETSU Bluegrass Old-Time and Roots Music Studies Post Bop Revival Jazz HOLSTON VALLEY BROADCASTING CORPORATION Rosser and Rosser Luthiers and Woodworking JONESBOROUGH_BW_small 4thirteen logo Bristol TN City Seal Brian Rieck Music Studio Main Street Elizabethton Greene-County-Partnership-Logo-Final Damon Heath logo FoundersForge City of Bristol Virginia DW Productions Town of Unicoi Town of Bulls Gap ETSU Music Department Boxdrop logo Fiddling Leona and JP band logo Maurice Music logo

Stay informed as a community partner

We now have over 100 community partners but we always have room for more! Join us in this melodious journey to elevate our unique music community and make a lasting impact. Whether you are a musician, an educator, a venue or business supporting music, we need you as a community partner. Check out our overview video to learn more about this state-funded community effort.



The TN Entertainment Commission is proud to join this cohort of exceptional partners to support the East TN Music Census, which is crucial as it will provide a comprehensive understanding of the local music scene, showcasing the diverse talents and genres present. The data will aid in the development of targeted initiatives and support systems for musicians, fostering a vibrant cultural landscape.
Bob Raines Photo Close
Bob Raines
Executive Director, Tennessee Entertainment Commission
Being selected as one the inaugural Music Friendly Tennessee Communities in Northeast TN fills us with immense pride and gratitude. This initiative not only recognizes our rich music heritage but also reaffirms our commitment to fostering a vibrant and supportive environment for artists, industry professionals, and music lovers alike. Together, we will continue to elevate Tennessee's reputation as a hub for creativity and innovation in the music industry.
Leah Ross Photo
Leah Ross
Executive Director of Advancement, Birthplace of Country Music
Tennessee is nationally recognized as one of the epicenters of music in America and Tennessee’s “musical day” begins when the sun rises on Northeast Tennessee! I look forward to hearing what the NE Tennessee Music Census can tell us about how to leverage existing musical assets and where we can improve the musical landscape and economy of our region!
Lafe Cook Head Shot
Lafe Cook
Dobyns-Bennett Director of Bands | Past President, Tennessee Music Educators Association
Our region, with such deep musical roots across multiple genres, continues to be globally recognized for musical excellence and innovation! We're excited to be part of highlighting our region as a Certified Music Community and providing opportunities for music-inspired initiatives to flourish as a focus of our growing economy.
Heath Guinn Headshot
Heath Guinn
Sync Space // Founder & President
Northeast Tennessee boasts a rich musical heritage that significantly influences the cultural fabric of our country. Music serves as a powerful medium for transmitting history, traditions, and community values across generations. I look forward to this initiative and the continued growth in our music and entertainment industries.
Alicia Phelps Headshot
Alicia Phelps
Northeast Tennessee Tourism Executive Director
Our music initiative is not just a project; it's a movement dedicated to nurturing, promoting, and elevating regional economic opportunities. Together, we are composing a new soundtrack for our community, one that celebrates our heritage while paving the way for future generations.
Stephen Marshall 2023
Stephen Marshall
ETSU Research Corporation


The Northeast Tennessee Music Initiative is a community-led initiative organized to gain a better understanding of the current strengths, opportunities and needs of the Northeast Tennessee music community. A keystone of this initiative is conducting a Music Census that captures key information about our NE TN music economy to help the region, its cities, and community make better informed, data-driven decisions to support our music ecosystem moving forward. The census asks questions specific to the realities of music and live entertainment workers, creators, educators and industry including general information about their demographics and occupation types as well as their perspective on issues such as economic opportunity, professional development, affordability, music-friendly regulations, funding support, diversity, and belonging. 

A healthy music ecosystem serves as a catalyst for economic growth.

  • Directly, it fosters job creation across a spectrum of roles - from musicians and sound engineers to event organizers. Festivals and concerts boost local tourism, leading to increased revenue for hotels, restaurants, and other businesses. The sale of music, both digitally and physically, along with related merchandise, contributes directly to the economy.

  • Indirectly, the influence of music spills over to other industries. Fashion trends can be inspired by musicians, films often rely on soundtracks for emotional depth, and advertisers utilize music to forge stronger connections with consumers. These secondary impacts amplify the economic contributions of the primary music events and productions.

The Census will open in May 2024. It will be live for four weeks, and during that time we are calling on anyone (18+) that identifies as being a part of the NE TN music ecosystem/industry/scene to participate. Please plan to share your voice!

This initiative is being led by the East Tennessee State University Research Corporation with the Birthplace of Country Music, Northeast TN Tourism, Sync Space, Launch TN, and the Dobyns-Bennett HS Bands, through funding from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development and its Tennessee Entertainment Commission (TEC). The Census is administered by Sound Music Cities, a civic-oriented and leading provider of music ecosystem studies and music census work.

Our Project Background

The Department of Economic and Community Development includes the Tennessee Entertainment Commission (TEC), a division dedicated to increasing the number of high-quality job opportunities for Tennessee’s creative class through the promotion and implementation of programmatic initiatives that reinforce the State as a relevant market for the production and development of multimedia entertainment properties.

A primary strategic focus of the TEC is the economic and workforce development of its music industry, which already holds a competitive advantage to its other peer states. To leverage this competitive advantage, the TEC is launching the Music Scene Certified Initiative to support any local community in the State of Tennessee interested in diversifying its economic landscape through investment and development of public policy to promote and support the advancement of respective music ecosystems.

A vibrant music scene enhances a city or region's cultural appeal, making it a more attractive destination for both businesses and residents. This broader appeal stimulates diversified economic activity, reinforcing the integral role of music in holistic economic development. Our entire state is a vibrant music scene:

  • Tennessee has the largest concentration of music industry workforce in the country

  • Economic impact of music to Tennessee is $5.8 billion dollars

Sound Music Cities' Census™ work is considered a best practice and is sought out to inform economic development strategies, actions, and related policies. Economists regularly use and amend their work based on Music Census™ because it offers otherwise non-existent or difficult to gather data needed to quantify and understand local music ecosystems as part of growing culture, the music sector, entertainment districts, and local economies.

To reinforce strategic development and planning, Tennessee Economic and Community Development selected cities or regions will engage in community-led analysis of artists/talents, professionals, venues, and businesses working locally in the music sector. Northeast Tennessee is the first region selected by the State for this work.

The census is surveying the Northeast Tennessee region, which includes the 8 counties and Bristol.

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Call for Community Partners

Become a Community Engagement Partner and help us conduct the most extensive survey of the Northeast Tennessee music and live entertainment ecosystem.

What we’re asking:

We will begin our survey in May 2024, and we’re asking you to send the survey to your contacts in the music and live entertainment ecosystem, encouraging individuals to take the survey. We also will ask you to periodically make social media posts to announce the launch of the survey, and encourage participation.

What you’ll get:

Most importantly, representation in the survey results – we want to be as inclusive as possible, which means we want the folks you work with and serve to have their voices heard. We will give community engagement partners a sneak peak of the survey data results before finalizing and publishing our dashboard report. And we would love to add your logo to our list of engaged partners!

Please add your information in the form – contact name, email and telephone, and upload your organization’s logo to add it to the list of partners working to reach every part of our music and live entertainment ecosystem, and help us show the world that Northeast Tennessee’s rich heritage and vibrant music scene.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)