The Music Policy Forum’s founders and key partners have been working at the intersection of music, public policy, technological innovation, research, non-profits and government relations for decades. Over that time, we have learned a few lessons that apply to any community looking to strengthen their music ecosystem:

  • Every community is different – but every community can learn from others.

The point of music strategies is not to try to become a replica of another city – the point is to make your city the best possible version of itself. To do that it is important to join into collaborative dialog with other stakeholders in cities across North America who have attempted to solve similar challenges or launch new innovations.

  • There is no five-point plan – but there are lots of experts with different pieces of information.

Effective music strategies grow organically out of true collaboration between government officials, non profit and industry leaders, musicians, venues, scene builders, the business sector, researchers, and technology leaders. Successful communities are able to synthesize these perspectives and agendas into a collaborative and actionable vision for the local music scene.

  • Invest in building your network.

Cities in North America represent a virtual learning lab, where communities, business and nonprofits have invested time, money and resources toward innovative and intentional models and strategies that provide a roadmap toward success. Again, there is not one cookie cutter model that can be adapted for a particular city. However, the emerging field is bursting with experts across all sectors who are eager to share their successes, challenges and even failures creating a massive opportunity to benefit from their earlier work.

  • Research without context and intention is a sinkhole.

It is not possible to make informed decisions about supporting a music community without an effective and intentional research plan. That said, research gathering and analysis can be remarkably time consuming and expensive – in many cases eating up budget that could have been invested in building your networks or building local staff capacity. It is critical to be highly intentional and strategic in determining what kind of research you want, how that research is going to be deployed strategically, who is going to execute the research, how much it is going to cost and where those resources could be otherwise invested.

Music Policy Forum board and Action Network members have applied these principles to create in-depth surveys, action plans, economic impact surveys, and engaged communities to develop new policies in cities and towns across North America. We’ve worked in cities and states including Colorado, Louisiana, Albuquerque, Pittsburgh, Ottawa, and Toronto, and we’d love to talk about what your community may need.