Will The Real 'Music City' USA Please Stand Up
RENEE MONTAGNE, host:
For now the music industry spotlight may be on Austin, but officials from other cities are attending the South by Southwest festival to promote their own cities' musical reputations.
Blake Farmer reports from Nashville member station WPLN.
(Soundbite of Web commercial)
Unidentified Person: It is Music City USA for a reason.
BLAKE FARMER: This new Web commercial isn't talking about Austin. It's Nashville, and Janet Miller of the Nashville area Chamber of Commerce says she's in Austin playing defense.
Ms. JANET MILLER (Nashville Chamber of Commerce): Its very clear from seeing how aggressive some of these other cities are working on this that we cant just sit back and say we are Music City and thats that.
FARMER: For the first time this year, Nashville flew a formal contingent to South by Southwest. The group is collecting surveys about perceptions of Nashville and its country music roots. Members are also plugging a new study that found the city has the highest concentration of music jobs in the country.
But Nashville is late to the game. Seattle has been sponsoring events in Austin since 2001. Memphis and Chicago were also there, along with entire states like Hawaii and Louisiana.
Ms. SHERRI MCCONNELL (Louisiana Official): Weve kind of taken our music for granted for centuries, really, but we haven't made a business out of it.
FARMER: Sherri McConnell is the director of Louisianas entertainment office. She's in Austin putting the hard-sell on a new tax break.
Ms. MCCONNELL: Its 25 cents on every dollar that you spend recording a sound in the state of Louisiana you will get back from the state.
FARMER: McConnell says the rebate is modeled after Louisianas film tax credit that has lured productions away from Los Angeles.
The chairman of the Austin Music Commission says hes not offended by recruiting efforts in his own backyard. He says the industry will decide for itself the best location for making music.
For NPR News, I'm Blake Farmer in Nashville.
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