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Study: Nashville, New York, L.A. Among America's Most Music-Centric Cities; Detroit, Philadelphia Lag Behind

Ranking the concentration of musicians and businesses in 25 metro areas, a Toronto research group concludes that, when it comes to making music, size doesn't necessarily matter -- and sadly, neither does history.

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Martin Prosperity Institute

Toronto-based research group Martin Prosperity Institute recently devised a Metro Music Index to rank America's most music-centric cities, culling data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis as it relates to a region’s concentration of musicians, music venues and other industry businesses.

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At the top of the heap? Nashville, with its myriad recording and music publishing businesses along with its dense population of musicians, from mega country stars to bands like Kings of Leon and even Jack White, who opened his Third Man Studios there. Not far behind: New York and neighboring New Jersey, the Los Angeles region, the Bay Area and Seattle, the birthplace of grunge, which rounds out the top 5.

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Austin, Texas, the self-declared “live music capital of the world,” comes in at No. 12. Surprisingly, Atlanta, home to Cee Lo Green and hip-hop’s Outkast, T.I. and Ludacris, lands at No. 23, while cities like Detroit (37), home to Motown, Memphis (35), where Sun Records was based, and Philadelphia (45), city of soul, which were so vital to the history of R&B, country and rock decades ago, seem to have lost some of their musical luster. Predictably, the Portland area makes the Top 10, but Rochester, New York?  

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Atlantic Cities has an excellent breakdown of the study’s findings which details noteworthy artists and landmarks of each region and concludes that size doesn’t necessarily matter when it comes to thriving music scenes. Read it here and check out the Top 20 below:

1          Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, TN
2          New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA
3          Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA
4          San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA
5          Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA
6          Las Vegas-Paradise, NV
7          Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton, OR-WA
8          New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner, LA
9          Rochester, NY
10       Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI
11       Orlando-Kissimmee, FL      
12       Austin-Round Rock, TX       
13       San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA         
14       Pittsburgh, PA         
15       Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI
16       Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL
17       Chicago-Naperville-Joliet, IL-IN-WI           
18       Indianapolis-Carmel, IN     
19       Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX
20       Denver-Aurora, CO

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