By the Numbers, This Is the Most Musical City in the World
NYC, London and Austin don't even come close
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Cities like London, Nashville and New York are fantastic for music — but they’ve got nothing on Melbourne, according to a recent overview of the world’s most musical cities by The Guardian.
The newspaper cited a study by the World Cities Culture Forum (a part of the international culture consultancy BOP), which listed 73,605 musical performances last year in the southeastern Australian metropolis, or more than twice as many New York and three times as much as London. Admittedly, those numbers were taken from different sources and not a direct year-to-year comparison, but they do showcase a city that’s protective and proud of its growing music scene.
As The Guardian notes, seemingly music-friendly cities such as Nashville and Austin are currently dealing with issues of gentrification, while other cities like Mumbai have such a strong culture of traditional music that they actually push out any sort of musical diversity. And then there’s London, which has lost 35% of its grassroots music venues since 2007 (although a new government position of “night tsar” has helped stalled that downturn).
Melbourne, meanwhile, has the most music venues per capita (and an unusually high number of record stores), which you can credit in part to friendly local government that’s even friendlier toward noise complaints and the pressures of gentrification. “About 10 years ago, people, mainly in government, started getting this idea that music was valuable, so they put together a couple of big reports,” said Dobe Newton, who headed up a music census co-sponsored by the city.
Still, it really depends on personal experience. As singer-songwriter Emma-Lee Moss told The Guardian, while she stans for New York (her home base) as the world’s most musical city, every place “has rhythms and hums and vibrations that exist in its landscape.”
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