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Huntsville looks to strike right note with music export strategy

Published on April 28, 2023

Huntsville is fast becoming a top destination for touring acts, but a new music export strategy could lead to more musicians putting down roots in the Rocket City.

City Council on Thursday authorized Mayor Tommy Battle to enter into a consulting agreement with nonprofit Music Export Memphis (MEM). Per the agreement, the City will work with the Memphis, Tennessee-based initiative to develop new programs that create opportunities for Huntsville musicians to showcase their music outside the city. It will also give artists a platform to grow their careers and elevate Huntsville’s profile as a city of choice for musicians to reside.

“We really see this as a workforce development initiative that will attract musicians to move here, but more importantly, incentivize talent already here to want to stay in Huntsville,” said Shane Davis, Huntsville’s Director of Urban & Economic Development. “Our local artists are in a unique position to share authentic stories about Huntsville to a cross-section of people. If you like what a Huntsville artist is about, it will be a strong motivator for people to come see what Huntsville is about, too.”

Music Officer Matt Mandrella, who previously worked in Memphis, said MEM’s positive impact on musicians and the Memphis music ecosystem has him excited about the Huntsville collaboration. He’s confident programs developed for Huntsville will pay dividends over time.

“Music makes cities better, and Huntsville’s music community makes our city better,” he said. “There is so much amazing music being created in Huntsville right now, and so many of the artists creating it love living here and are proud to say so when they’re playing in a different city. That endorsement may seem like a minor thing, but it creates ripples that positively affect everyone from audience members to other musicians on the same bill. The programs we’re working on are a win-win for the artist because they would receive a financial benefit from simply restating what we already know – Huntsville’s a great city to live in.”

Mandrella’s goal is to implement the Huntsville-based program later this year, but there is no definitive timeline for when it will go live.

To learn more about Music Export Memphis, visit musicexportmemphis.org. For more information about the Huntsville Music Office, visit huntsvillemusic.com.