Music is a primary pillar of Mayor Tommy Battle’s workforce development strategy, commitment to quality of life, and his desire to provide more inclusive cultural and creative offerings for current and future residents of Huntsville.
Huntsville is the first city in America to embark on a comprehensive, data-driven journey to strategically amplify its music economy. This visionary understanding of music’s role in placemaking led Mayor Battle to direct his administrative team to assess how the music industry could further enhance the Rocket City’s economy and quality of life.
Huntsville’s music scene, uniquely and equally inspired by its Southern surroundings and high-tech innovation, plays a leading role in the City’s long-term strategy for smart growth.
With this in mind, Huntsville set out to answer this central question: how could the City known for its stellar rocket propulsion propel itself to the forefront of the music universe? The goal – to create a more dynamic music environment, from education to creation, production and performance, in a way that strengthened Huntsville’s growing economy.
The City partnered with international consulting group Sound Diplomacy in late spring 2018 to find the answers and to create the road map to achieve this goal.
Sound Diplomacy completed its directive, conducting an extensive Music Audit that assessed the strengths and opportunities of Huntsville’s music offerings. Concluded in August 2019, the plan has been called “the most innovative music strategy in the United States.” The Rocket City’s bold commitment to music affirms the role of the arts in supporting a vibrant economy, sustaining a healthy community and building a well-rounded City.
The audit paved the way for the creation of the Huntsville Music Board, a governing body tasked with implementing and prioritizing the road map provided by the audit to nurture the City’s growing music industry.
The implementation of the multi-year music plan is still in its infancy, but work is already under way.
One of the first steps in the plan was for Mayor Battle to appoint the Music Board, a first-of-its-kind in Huntsville and the State of Alabama. To ensure the board represented the varied interests and needs of the music community, the Mayor asked for candidate recommendations from music industry leaders and Council Members, and he opened up nomination process to allow interested candidates to self-submit applications. The inaugural nine-member Music Board was officially appointed by Mayor Battle at the January 23, 2020 City Council meeting.
The Music Board held its first meeting in March of 2020. One of the Board’s first priorities is to create the position of Music Officer to serve as a resource for the local music scene and to assist in the marketing and recruitment of music-related jobs. The Board looks forward to collaborating with the community as it builds the processes and structures to grow the City’s music industry over the coming years.