Be it the excitement of a huge open air concert or the relaxed vibe of a local band performing in a bar, both are equally cherished by music enthusiasts. Even the random appreciation for someone singing a song in the corner of a street or the city hosting frequent immersive opera shows gives the place an edge to a music lover.
There is something about a city that understands and encourages music as an art and a culture. It is only a music lover who can truly strike a chord with music played in a variety of venues. If you happen to be someone who falls in this category, here’s a list of the best cities for music lovers to consider moving to.
Top 7 Cities For Music Lovers in The U.S
- New Orleans, Louisiana
- Chicago, Illinois
- Memphis, Tennessee
- Austin, Texas
- Asheville, North Carolina
- Nashville, Tennessee
- Detroit, Michigan
1. New Orleans, Louisiana
There couldn’t have been a more obvious start to this list. The city is known for its music and culture, and is certifiably known as the ‘birthplace of jazz’. The start of jazz happened in the 19th century when drums, dance and singing in Congo square mixed gracefully with the sounds of Europe to develop into the jazz that we know today. To this day, New Orleans remains special, all thanks to the music that has a foot-tapping edge to it, no matter the genre. As the legend from New Orleans Louis Armstrong once said, ‘What we play is life’. It does explain the city’s attitude towards the music that has been a part of its soul for the longest time now.
If we had to talk about the economics of the city, the cost-of-living index of the city is 96.3, which makes it cheaper than the national average which stands at 100. New Orleans is also the centre of the maritime industry, running one of the world’s largest ports. It is the base of Entergy, a Fortune 500 company as well as many other companies like Rolls Royce, AT&T, IBM and more. A few federal and military agencies are based here and a major chunk of the economy is run by the tourism sector. So, there is no dearth of jobs in New Orleans for music lovers or people who wish to pursue music as a career. The city encourages and provides opportunities for both.
- Median Home Value: $244,835
- Median Rent: $1600 (2 bedroom)
- Median Household Income: $41,604
2. Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, the city with every possible feather in its cap, is the place where the blues finally voiced their music. The music scene in Chicago developed around 1916 to 1970, when African-Americans moved north looking for a better life. Eventually, that made room for a lot of people who brought with them the music of the Mississippi Delta. Chicago is not the birthplace of the Blues, but it did take flight here. Other music genres that Chicago has adopted and made its own are jazz, gospel music, house music, Chicago soul, alternative rock, punk and new wave. The city is nothing short of a haven for music lovers.
The cost-of-living of Chicago is 106.9, making it somewhat more expensive than the national average of 100. The United States of America has called the economy of Chicago the ‘most balanced’ in the country due to the high level of diversity. The city is a major financial centre as well as the home to 66 Fortune 500 companies, a number that is only set to grow in the future.
Manufacturing, printing, publishing and food processing are lucrative sectors that employ a large number of people at various hierarchies and the labour pool in the city is the third-largest in the country. To add to that, in a city like Chicago, tourism is bound to be one of the most important sectors of the economy, and its related businesses keep a lot of people employed. A music lover in Chicago will not just be at the centre of constant discovery of new music, but other opportunities as well that enable an individual to live a full life.
- Median Home Value: $292,302
- Median Rent: $1,750 (2 bedroom)
- Median Household Income: $58,247
Also Read: Moving To Chicago
3. Memphis, Tennessee
The birthplace of rock n roll could not be any lower on the list than this. The music of Memphis encompasses rock n roll, gospel, rockabilly, country music, Memphis soul and Memphis blues. This is the city that influenced power pop into what it is today through bands like Big Star, Chris Bell, The Scruffs and Alex Chilton. Music history aficionados would be familiar with the song ‘Rocket 88’, which is regarded as the first rock n roll song. When people first heard it and fell in love with the music, they were probably unaware that the sound was created because the guitarist’s amp malfunctioned. Creation of rock n roll was the happiest accident in the whole of music history and it happened right here in Sun Studios, Memphis.
Now, the cost-of-living index of Memphis is 76, so it stands a lot cheaper than the national average that’s just 100. The economy of Memphis is mainly centred around the transportation sector. Considering Memphis’s geography along the Mississippi river, it is ideal for the growth of the shipping industry. Plus the railroad construction has ensured that it is well-connected to the east and west areas. Along with a few Fortune 500 as well as other companies, the city has also been fairly active in the film and television industry in recent years. The economic diversity is a pleasant surprise for anybody planning to move to Memphis for its music scene.
- Median Home Value: $118,296
- Median Rent: $920 (2 bedroom)
- Median Household Income: $41,228
See Also: Moving To Memphis
4. Austin, Texas
We are now talking about the self-proclaimed, and rightfully so, ‘The Live Music Capital of the World’. The slogan of the city comes from the sheer number of its musicians and the many live music venues, along with the very successful PBS TV concert series ‘Austin City Limits’. The city’s music is more about its nightclubs, restaurants, bars and music venues that render it a very eclectic nature, which are a breeding ground for aspiring musicians. There is an annual music/interactive festival by the name of South by Southwest that is a must-visit on every music lover’s list. The city has music in its soul and its streets, right from the grand Paramount Theatre to tiny nooks and crannies in the streets where musicians are often witnessed running their own show.
The cost-of-living index of Austin is 119.3, so the city is not exactly cheap. Education, technology and defence are the three main sectors of the city’s economy. The graduates of the University of Texas become the employees of the defence and technology sector. In fact, the largest employer of the city is the Austin Independent School District, followed by the City of Austin, US Federal Government, NXP Semiconductors and IBM.
Austin is home to a lot of high-tech companies like 3M, Apple, Amazon, BigCommerce, Oracle, Nintendo and many others, earning it the name of ‘Silicon Hills’. Pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies have increased their stronghold in the city in recent years, and it is an emerging face in the life sciences cluster category. A person with a corporate brain and a heart of music will fit right in in Austin.
- Median Home Value: $526,142
- Median Rent: $1,550 (2 bedroom)
- Median Household Income: $76,925
Also See: Moving to Austin – Relocation Guide
5. Asheville, North Carolina
Asheville, the ‘non-commercial Nashville’, where ‘music is played for music’s sake’ ,as John Stickley puts it, is one of those underrated gems that has maintained the spirit of the different performances of music. The most popular performance would be at a live music venue. Since Ashville’s economy is primarily tourism based, annual festivals, nightclubs and a number of venues offer a chance for tourists and residents to attend the events and maybe even participate. Street performance is big in Asheville and some of the most popular festivals are Bele Chere and the Lexington Avenue Arts and Fun Festival (LAAFF) which bring in a lot of visitors as well. A notable event is the ‘Shindig on the Green’ which takes place during July and August. In case you didn’t know, it’s about informal jam sessions, dance teams and bluegrass bands. Another one would be the ‘Downtown After 5’, which is a monthly event and you will find touring musicians along with some of the local ones performing their songs.
A testament to Asheville’s love for music is the organization of these events. The previous two happen once a year and once a month respectively, but there’s also an event that takes place once a week. It’s a drum circle which everybody attends and is held every Friday. Oh, here’s a fun fact – the first ever ‘Folk Festival’ was held in Asheville in 1928. It was called the ‘Mountain Dance and Folk Festival’ and continues to this day.
The cost-of-living of the city is 106, slightly more expensive than the national average that stands at 100. Some of the primary employers in Asheville are the Mission Health System, Buncombe County Schools System, Ingles Markets, The Biltmore Company, State of North Carolina and the City of Asheville among many others.
- Median Home Value: $345,473
- Median Rent: $1,300 (2 bedroom)
- Median Household Income: $49,930
Read Also: Moving to Asheville NC – Relocation Guide
6. Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville is known as the ‘Music City’ and unofficial ‘Live Music Capital of the World’. The former nickname that it has earned is steeped in the history of the city which, to be fair, is not just a matter of the past but is the living present and future of the city. Nashville was engaged in music since the 1700s, but it was in the early 1800s that its musical potential was noted, due to the popularity of a hymnal called the Western Harmony. What happened next was the recognition of Ryman Auditorium as one of the best in the country and being nicknamed the ‘Carnegie Hall of the South’. On top of that, it also served as the venue for the Grand Ole Opry Show which continues to this day. It is on this particular radio show that the host came up with the name ‘Music City’ which has stuck since then. Nashville’s music is not limited to country music as is often mistaken. In fact jazz, R&B, rock, gospel and literally every possible genre are quite prominent in the city too.
The cost-of-living index of Nashville is 101.4, so it is pretty close to the national average of 100. Music itself is a huge industry in the economy with the presence of the Big Three, and numerous other record labels and their offices in the city. It would come as a surprise that despite the dominance of music in the city’s landscape, the largest industry is healthcare. Other important sectors include insurance, finance and publishing. Unsurprisingly, Nashville has a number of Fortune 500 companies. It is a one-of-a-kind city indeed, for the ambitious, music-loving individual to live in.
- Median Home Value: $331,860
- Median Rent: $1,469 (2 bedroom)
- Median Household Income: $59,828
7. Detroit, Michigan
Dubbed as the ‘Motor City’ for its presence in the country’s automobile industry, Detroit’s contributions to the music industry do come as a surprise to the uninformed. While it is best known for Motown, punk-rock and techno, its contributions range across the development of jazz, hip-hop and country music. The reason for Detroit’s rich history with music definitely lies in the diversity of the city. For the uninformed, Europeans, people from Middle-Eastern, Latin, Asian and African descent have all added and expanded the music tastes of the city.
Live music is huge in the city and concerts both big and small are held across Detroit. The city is also home to artists like Eminem, Big Sean and Danny Brown and that is just proof of the musical inspiration the city carries. On another note, the cost-of-living index of Detroit is 87.6, which means that it is much cheaper than the national average of 100. Detroit is an important city no doubt. Several major corporations like General Motors, Ally Financials and Quicken Loans among others are either headquartered here or run offices from Detroit. This is in addition to the other bustling sectors like healthcare, education, finance, retail and trade.
- Median Home Value: $49,909
- Median Rent: $1,200 (2 bedroom)
- Median Household Income: $30,894
Bonus: Relocation Guide for Detriot
There is a certain appeal to living in a place that is appreciative of our own interests and afford us the chance to probably develop it into a serious career option in itself. So, if you decide to move to such a place, make sure that it suits your current economic status, financial ambitions and career goals, while also being in line with the preferred cost-of-living. You can pursue it further from there, depending upon where your love of music takes you.