Or at least, the statistics cited by Richard Florida over at The Atlantic. Florida, the author of The Rise of the Creative Class, was trying to look for, “America’s leading centers for musicians and the music industry.” Florida and a colleague analyzed, “Bureau of Labor Statistics figures on the concentration of musicians and, U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis stats on music and recording industry business establishments, and combined the results into a Metro Music Index.” The goal was to measure the concentration of musicians and music-related businesses, not the “vibrancy or impact or quality of artists” from a regional scene.
So taking that all into account, how did we do? Not good. The top 20 is stocked with go-to scenes like Nashville, New York, LA, Seattle, Portland, New Orleans, etc., and way down past Detroit and Memphis, we sit at #45. It should be noted that the list only includes metro areas of a million people or more, so we’d likely fall even further down if they were included.
Statistically, considering what was looked at, it all makes sense. There’s not much “music industry” going on to speak of, and we’re going to guess most local musicians aren’t counted in those Department of Labor statistics. But still, it hurts to rank below Pittsburgh. It always does.