The University of Chicago News Office Press Contact: Josh Schonwald
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Chicago: The new mu$ic capitol?
Cultural Policy Center study findings spur panel discussion

Jan. 22, 2008

In response to the University of Chicago Cultural Policy Center’s study, “Chicago: Music City,” the Chicago Music Commission will convene a diverse panel of experts for a public conversation on the economic opportunities being generated by Chicago’s growing music industry. The event on Thursday, Jan. 24, will take place at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance at Millennium Park, 205 E. Randolph Street at 6 p.m., and is open to the public and free of charge.

The panel is a direct response to the publicity surrounding the publication of the economic impact study “Chicago: Music City.”

The 2007 study exposed the strengths and weaknesses of Chicago’s music industry in comparison with those of other North American cities. Along with co-authors Dan Silver and Sarah Lee, Lawrence Rothfield, Director of the Cultural Policy Center, and Associate Professor of English and Comparative Lit., will summarize the study’s findings to open the event.

Panelists will address the steps Chicago must take to be recognized as a world-class music city.

The panel of experts will include industry leaders representing many facets of Chicago’s music economy, including media, promoters, venues, performers, educators, government, urban planners, record label owners, trade associations, recording studio executives and music industry unions. Dan Lurie of the CMC will moderate the discussion.

“Chicago: Music City” is the first serious comparative study of music industries and music communities in the 50 most populous metropolitan areas in the U.S. The study provides an accurate portrait of music’s power in influencing Chicago’s economic health and will serve as a benchmark for measuring the future growth of the city’s music community. The authors found that Chicago’s music community is a significant economic engine:

  • Chicago has the third largest number of music businesses among its peer national competitors
  • Chicago has the third largest music-related workforce, with over 53,000 people generating over $1 billion in payroll
  • Chicago’s live music scene generates $80 million in revenues — dwarfing better known scenes such as Austin (known as the “Live Music Capital of America”)
  • It is an “omnivore’s paradise” with affordable and diverse music offerings, and an aggregate concert capacity larger than any other city besides Los Angeles

The Chicago Music Commission is a non-profit organization founded in 2005 by a group of Chicagoans dedicated to heightening the local, national and international visibility of Chicago music; nurturing Chicago’s vibrant music community; and organizing and advocating independently on behalf of the Chicago music community in the government and private sectors.

The Cultural Policy Center at the University of Chicago was founded in 1999 as a joint initiative of the Harris School of Public Policy Studies and the Division of Humanities. The Cultural Policy Center at the University of Chicago is an interdisciplinary research center and nationally recognized leader in the emerging field of cultural policy research and education. Its mission is to provide research and inform policy that affects the arts, humanities and cultural heritage.

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Last modified at 10:30 AM CST on Tuesday, January 29, 2008

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