Indy Music Strategy Presents 3 Year Plan

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – Today, the Indy Music Strategy Committee presents a 3-year music strategy to serve as the city’s first economic development initiative focused on Indianapolis’s diverse and growing music industry. International music policy consultancy Sound Diplomacy was hired to support the Indy Music Strategy Committee by providing data, research and insights on the music ecosystem, building up to the creation of the 3-year plan that identifies what to address in policy, stakeholder engagement and strategy. The research also found that Indy’s music ecosystem is responsible for generating a total output of $1.19 billion as well as 8,467 jobs.

“Indianapolis has a tradition of developing meaningful strategies that enhance both our economic development opportunities and our city’s cultural environment,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett. “Our visionary, long-term investments consistently pay dividends across decades. Now, through smart policy and the support of a wide network of partners in the music industry, our city has another remarkable opportunity to expand the impact of an already diverse ecosystem of musicians, industry professionals, and organizations.”

The work first began when Sound Diplomacy hosted a U.S. Music Cities Forum in Indianapolis in 2018, centering the city in the national Music Cities conversation and providing both a catalyst and a foundation for bringing this project to life. Funded by the City of Indianapolis, Visit Indy, the Indy Chamber, Central Indiana Community Foundation, the Arts Council of Indianapolis, and other partners, the study officially commenced in 2019 leading to 17 months of work over 3 project phases and engaged over 1,200 members of the community.

“Indianapolis has a rich musical history, along with a diverse community of artists, venues, labels, and music entrepreneurs,” stated Indy Chamber President and CEO Michael Huber. “The Indy Music Strategy has been an important project for me personally, as Indianapolis’ jazz history and live music venues were two things which originally inspired me to move to Indy. The Indy Music Strategy provides us with a 3-year plan to promote this history and grow Indy’s music economy, and to put the collective power of public, private, and philanthropic communities behind it.”

The key findings from the project include strengths, challenges, recommendations and next steps, arranged across six action areas outlining the strategic opportunity findings from the previous research stages: Governance and Leadership; Music Education; Artist & Industry Development; Spaces and Places; Audience Development; Music Tourism. This plan encourages a more horizontal approach to sector development where Indy’s musicians, industry professionals and organizations are actively working together and advocating for change.

“Looking at our achievements and track record with Indy’s sports strategy, we know our city can mirror this success with music,” said Matt Carter, Executive Director of MusicCrossroads at Visit Indy. “Our MusicCrossroads initiative has helped attract major music events, competitions, and organizations to Indy. The Indy Music Strategy provides a pathway to help us better leverage these assets, tell our story, and strengthen our city’s music brand.”

In fact, Indianapolis was able to leverage the success of the sport’s strategy for the benefit of Indy’s music, arts and cultural community through hosting the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Over the course of 23 days, the Arts Council of Indianapolis, the Indianapolis Cultural Trail, GANGGANG, and a team of curators organized 250 live performances engaging more than 650 artists around downtown in partnership with Indiana Sports Corp.

“SWISH Indy is an incredible example of how we can showcase Indianapolis talent and provide paid opportunities for artists that promote their brand and career while also elevating our city’s reputation as a creative capital,” shared Julie Goodman, President and CEO of the Arts Council of Indianapolis. “We know from our involvement in the music strategy that there is much more work ahead to effectively support the success of Indy musicians through education, funding opportunities, and exposure, and SWISH Indy serves an important catalyst for these efforts. It’s an inspiring and timely example of what is possible when we invest in artists and cultural development strategies as a city.” 

The Indy Music Strategy also considers the pre-existing challenges that have been underscored by the consequences of COVID-19 and leverages the opportunities and strengths that will remain in place after the crisis to ensure Indianapolis emerges as a world-class music city at an accelerated and targeted pace. As a response to the pandemic, the City of Indianapolis and several civic organizations distributed a total of $2.6M of relief funds to musicians, venues, music organizations, and other music businesses. Roughly 48% of these funds were provided by the City of Indianapolis and administered by the Arts Council of Indianapolis, the Indy Chamber, Visit Indy, and Musical Family Tree, while the remaining 52% of funds came from philanthropic and private supporters through the Arts Council of Indianapolis. Several other non-profits also developed funds for the music communities they serve such as the Indiana Independent Venue Alliance, Kheprw Institute and the Indianapolis Jazz Foundation.

The downloadable 3-year plan and a video presentation is available at The video includes a presentation of the Indy Music Strategy recommendations by Sound Diplomacy followed by a panel discussion on the impact of COVID-19 on the music community featuring: Julie Goodman as Moderator (Arts Council of Indianapolis), Oreo Jones (WQRT Radio, Chreece, Oreo Jones Music), Rob Dixon (Rob Dixon Music, Indy Jazz Fest), Richard Anderson (Soundspace), and Debra Silveus (White Rabbit Cabaret, Indiana Independent Venue Alliance).

About Brian Scott

I play on the radio from 7 am -1 pm weekdays on 98.9 WYRZ and Follow me on twitter @WYRZBrianScott or e-mail me at

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