Solving Cities

Top 5 musical cities in America

Top 5 musical cities in America

Posting in Cities

Some cities are known for their music; others are home to it.

Some cities are known for their music; others are home to it. Interested in discerning the difference, Paul Lamare of Music Machinery employed geographic information from the soon-to-be-released Echo Nest Artist API to determine which cities have the highest concentration of artists per capita. His findings might surprise you:

1. Beverly Hills, Ca.

The neighborhood that brought you "Beverly Hills 90210," "The Beverly Hillbillies," and Clueless also served as home to musicians like Shaun Cassidy and Lenny Kravitz. Inspiration for Weezer's "Beverly Hills," the neighborhood bifurcated by Santa Monica Boulevard has the highest musician-per-capita ratio in the country, with 3.14 artists per 1,000 residents.

2. San Francisco, Ca.

In 1967, upwards of 100,000 people from across the country gathered in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury for the "Summer of Love." The Monterey Pop Festival, held just south of San Francisco in June of that year, featured Jimi Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane, and the Who. Moreover, the festival helped popularize the work of Otis Redding and Janis Joplin. The overwhelming success of this festival, coupled with the Free Speech Movement that Berkeley students launched earlier in the decade, secured the region as an epicenter for American counterculture. With 2.26 artists per 1,000 residents, it also provided a launching pad for musicians like Chris Isaak, the Dead Kennedys, and Third Eye Blind.

3. Nashville, Tenn.

In the realm of country music, all roads lead to Nashville. Chet Atkins, Loretta Lynn, Willie Nelson, Carrie Underwood, or Hank Williams Sr. have worked and lived in the Athens of the South. With 1.68 musicians per 1,000 residents, that legacy continues into the present day.

4. Boston, Mass.

With 1.64 artists per 1,000 people, Bean Town holds its own. Long known as the home of Red Sox baseball, Boston is also home to Carly Simon, Rob Zombie, and Linda Perry.

5. Atlanta, Ga.
Long known for producing soul and gospel singers, in recent decades Atlanta has emerged as a power producer of hip-hop talent. The city, which boasts 1.54 artists per 1,000 people, is home to André 3000, Cee Lo Green, Ciara, Kanye West, T.I., and Usher.

[Music Machinery]

Photos: Olivier Bruchez/Flickr, Felix E. Guerrero/Flickr, Janey Henning/Flickr, Doug Kerr/Flickr, and Steve Grundy/Flickr

Share this

Claire Lambrecht

Contributing Writer

Claire Lambrecht has written for the New York Times, Slate, Salon, The Nation, and CBS MoneyWatch. Previously, she taught English as a Teach for America Corps Member and Fulbright English Teaching Assistant. She holds degrees from Cornell University, the University of Hawaii, and the Arthur M. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure