In the 1960s, as gentrification took hold of New York City, Jane Jacobs predicted that the city would become the true player in the global system. Indeed, in the 21st century more meaningful comparisons can be made between cities than between nations and states. Based on case studies of Melbourne, Austin and Berlin, this book is the first in-depth study to combine academic and industry analysis of the music cities phenomenon. Using four distinctly defined algorithms as benchmarks, it interrogates Richard Florida’s creative cities thesis and applies a much-needed synergy of urban sociology and musicology to the concept, mediated by a journalism lens. Building on seminal work by Robert Park, Lewis Mumford and Jane Jacobs, it argues that journalists are the cultural branders and street theorists whose ethnographic approach offers critical insights into the urban sociability of music activity.
About the Author
Dr Andrea Jean Baker is the Undergraduate Coordinator and Senior Lecturer in Journalism within the School of Media, Film and Journalism at Monash University, Australia.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Introduction: The Great Music City, Exploring Music, Space and Identity.
Chapter 2: Music cities and the discourse of urban sociability.
Chapter 3: Hierarchies of power & influence in the music industry, (London, New York City and Los Angeles).
Chapter 4: London: music business capital of the world.
Chapter 5: New York City and Los Angeles, the music consumption capitals.
Chapter 6: Marvelous (Music) Melbourne (1835 to 1980s).
Chapter 7: Austin, Live Music Capital of the World, deep in the heart of Texas (1800s to 2002).
Chapter 8: The War and the Wall, Berlin and the divided music city of Exiles (1700s to 1990s).
Chapter 9: Battle for the Melbourne Music Capital title (1990s to present).
Chapter 10: Keeping Austin Weird, creative resistance against homogenization of the music scene (1992 to present).
Chapter 11: Reunified Berlin, battle for the city's music soul (1990s to present).
Chapter 12: Melbourne, live music capital of Australia to world domination.
Chapter 13: Revitalizing Austin as the live music capital of the world.
Chapter 14: Rejuvenation of Berlin, music and technology city.
What People are Saying About This
“This is an ambitious, detailed, and intelligent book. Baker has done the hard yards of research, and social, industry and economic analysis to produce a book that musicians and policy-makers cannot do without. The book marks a major turning point in studies of the contemporary music city.” (Paul Watt, Associate Professor of Musicology and Deputy Head (Research), Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music, Monash University, Australia)
“Andrea Baker, has made a valuable contribution to our understanding of what elements go in to making a great music city. She starts by defining what exactly a great music city is. Is it a numbers game, the number of live venues per head of population? Or is it a place where musicians, writers, producers, and publishers form and reproduce themselves? Or is a great music city a place imbedded in the public imagination? Baker says it’s all of the above they are cities that “deliver significant economic, employment, cultural and social benefits” to their citizens. In her thoroughly-researched book, Baker examines megastar music cities such as London, New York and Los Angeles, alongside smaller vibrant music centers like Berlin, Austin and Melbourne through the lens of what she defines as “Urban Sociability.” She examines the factors by which these cities are, in the face of many challenges and to a greater or lesser degree, able to maintain their pre-eminence as music centers. For anyone interested in understanding what makes a vibrant and creative music culture in a city, a culture that not only generates significant economic activity, but also enhances a city’s social capital and liveability, would do well to read this fascinating and original book.” (Craig Horne, author of Daddy Who? The Rise and Demise of Australia’s Greatest Rock Band (2018) and Roots: How Melbourne Became a Live Music Capital (2019)
“It is very impressive so much research on so many interesting cities. The deep historical detail is very engaging as well. I learned a lot about cities I thought I knew something about, like Berlin. The book is very good on both the histories and the current regulatory and activist environments in which music in these cities finds itself.” (Will Straw, James McGill Professor of Urban Media Studies, McGill University, Canada)
“Too often the strength of a music scene is measured in economic terms, which is wholly inadequate for understanding the significance of these communities. Drawing on theories of urban sociability, Andrea Baker uses her journalistic skills and academic rigour to create a comprehensive and vital new framework for understanding the music city phenomenon, which places the social and cultural value of music at the fore. The Great Music City articulates why music cities around the world are vulnerable to the same pressures of globalisation, and makes it possible to compare cities. This will no doubt become a vital tool for policy makers and people working across the music industries.” (Catherine McGauran, Assemble Papers)
“Music is much more than the soundtrack of our lives, it is the veritable heartbeat of the city. Andrea Jean Baker outlines the role of music in the economy and identity of great cities across the world. From Vienna, Berlin, and Paris to London, San Francisco, New York and Nashville, leading music cities have helped define the frontiers of innovative economies and societies, to cities with smaller, yet renowned music scenes, such as Austin and Melbourne. This is even truer today as music sits at the very centre of the creative economy. The Great Music City will be of great use to scholars and practitioners, musicians, journalists and city-builders all of whom are hard at working building the music cities of today.” (Richard Florida, University of Toronto, Canada)
“As an activity that reflects the power of peoples’ stories, Andrea Baker shows us in The Great Music City how such cities have been around with us for a long time, and how they have generated different responses to different urban conditions. As a media scholar who is interested in accessing music activity in the city, she demonstrates that branding such cities as music cities is a dubious exercise because ultimately, the only significant urban innovations occur as a result of the coordinated effort of the music industry, the media, local government and the community.” (Nezar AlSayyad, University of California, USA)
“In the relations between popular music and urban spaces, this book explores the making, unmaking, and remaking of “great music cities.” Traversing journalism studies, musicology and urban economics, and rooted in historical contexts, the book is critically engaged with industry analyses through three outstanding cases (Melbourne, Austin and Berlin). This is a welcome addition to scholarship unpacking the “machinery” of music cities.” (Brett Lashua, Leeds Beckett University, UK)