Huntsville amps up goal of becoming a music city

By Huntsville Business Journal, May 31, 2018

Sound Diplomacy, the consultancy firm hired by the city of Huntsville makes their first trip to the Rocket City to inventory local musicians, venues, festivals, and music education. The firm aims to turn the Rocket City into a ‘Music City’ by helping identify ways Huntsville can nurture and develop a thriving music economy.

Katja Hermes, Global Head of Projects, and Azucena (Azu) Mico, Senior Project Manager at Sound Diplomacy, will be in town the week of June 4 -8 to conduct field research and meet relevant stakeholders across the public and private sectors. Over the next 14 months, the company will inventory local musicians, venues, festivals, and music education; and in turn, help to identify ways the City can nurture and develop a thriving music economy.

“Music plays a vital role in our health and well-being, but we haven’t been as intentional about supporting music as we have in other aspects of quality of life. This audit is our first step in strategically creating a direction,” said Huntsville’s Mayor Tommy Battle.

The Mayor and his leadership team believe a vibrant music component is essential in attracting a talented workforce to Huntsville.

“Look at the most dynamic cities today, and you’ll likely see an exciting music and cultural scene,” said Shane Davis, Director of Urban Development for the City of Huntsville. “When we go after the best and brightest workers and the most innovative companies, entertainment is a major item on the checklist. This work will help us understand what we are doing well, what we need to do better, and to develop a set of strategies so that music can be integrated into our growing economy.”

Shain Shapiro, CEO of Sound Diplomacy, said his firm focuses on expanding the ‘music cities’ model, which sees music strategies incorporated into cities’ economic development, tourism and industrial expansion plans. Sound Diplomacy emphasizes the importance of inclusion of all music genres and the buy-in of local artists.

Alabama-based real estate firm RCP Companies, developer of MidCity Huntsville is assisting in the endeavor.

Open Forum – Huntsville Music Audit

Wednesday, June 6
5:30pm to 8p.m.
Yellowhammer Lost Highway Bierhall
Campus No. 805

Huntsville’s musical path

Sound Diplomacy has posted a section on their website detailing their firm’s plans. –

Plans are for the section to be updated regularly, with reports on progress, upcoming key dates, and an opportunity for you to comment. Email with the Subject line ‘SUBSCRIBE HUNTSVILLE’ to get updates and to receive alerts when new information is published online.

Projected Timeline

Stakeholder Database Development – April-May 2018
Comparative Analysis & Benchmarking – May-Aug 2018

Survey & Interviews – June-Aug 2018

Data Capture & Economic Mapping – May-Aug 2018

Economic Impact Analysis – Oct-Nov 2018
Presentation of Draft Strategic Plan – Oct-Nov 2018

Music Strategy & Action Plan – tbc Q1 2019