To Nashville with love: How unity can help the music biz survive tough times

Country To Country

Country To Country week, traditionally, is when Nashville comes to London.

The festival has become a focus for showcasing everything great in country music, from the artists to the passionate executives who come to London in droves. That's why Music Week's country special has become an annual fixture as we celebrate the best that that Music City has to offer.

Yet last week’s destructive Tennessee tornadoes that killed more than 20 people and caused great devastation, including to many music businesses, means that this year, we’re also looking back the other way.

Because Nashville is a music community like no other. Anyone who’s been to Music City – as many in the UK music scene will have done in recent years – will have marveled at the spirit of togetherness you find everywhere from the Bluebird Café to Music Row.

That’s the reason people were so distraught at the destruction of popular venue Basement East and the losses for musicians in a city that probably has a higher proportion of professional musos than anywhere else.

However well things seem to be going at the top end, for many, music remains a fragile business

Music Week

But it’s also the reason that Nashville will rebuild. Even from this side of the Atlantic, it’s been impossible not to notice the community raising funds and rallying round those most in need.

That will no doubt also be in evidence at C2C this week, but it’s also a reminder that – however well things seem to be going at the top end – for many, music remains a fragile business. Add in the threat of a global coronavirus pandemic – which has already seen South By Southwest cancelled and seems likely to prevent some Nashville execs from travelling to The O2 extravaganza this week – and its effect on touring and the financial markets and these are increasingly uncertain times for many in the biz.

The British default position is always, of course, to keep calm and carry on. But if things get worse, the entire international biz could do worse than to look west for inspiration. The spirit of Nashville will see us through.

* The 2020 Music Week Country Special is available now. To subscribe to Music Week and never miss a vital music biz story, click here.

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