Sound Diplomacy will open a U.S. office in 2019 to be headquartered in one of the country’s most revered music cities, New Orleans, it was announced today via an exclusive story in Billboard Magazine.
The international consultancy, which has offices in London, Berlin and Barcelona, has already begun working with diverse U.S. cities to develop strategies for growing the economic impact of music, including historic music regions like Muscle Shoals and emerging music cities like Indianapolis and Fort Worth. The U.S. office – which will open a brick and mortar location later this year – brings with it the growth of Sound Diplomacy’s U.S. team and myriad exciting music and strategy projects from coast to coast.
"The U.S. is one of the most diverse music markets in the world and for us, where we've seen interest in our music cities work since 2015,” says Shain Shapiro, Founder and President of Sound Diplomacy. “Since we staged our first Music Cities Convention in 2015 in Georgetown, to launching our first strategy in Huntsville, Ala., last year, the U.S. has shown us that city leaders are open to music's role and keen to see its value increase. It was a no-brainer for us to choose the U.S. as our next outpost, and something we're very excited about.”
In January, Greater New Orleans, Inc., announced the launch of the New Orleans Music Economy Initiative, a comprehensive music strategy which will be led by Sound Diplomacy.
“New Orleans is without a doubt, a global leading music city,” Shapiro says. “But it's also one that's emerging, through its burgeoning tech and entrepreneurial community. It's diverse, rich in culture and unique. It also has a direct flight from London and benefits from a progressive incentive scheme provided by the State of Louisiana that directly targets music-focused businesses like ours. The business community there, from Greater New Orleans, Inc., to the Recording Academy, has been incredibly welcoming, helping us identify space, partners and alliances. We can't wait to put our boots on the ground there later this year, in addition to us working with them on the New Orleans Music Economy Initiative (NOME).”
Leading Sound Diplomacy’s expansion efforts in the U.S. is Shapiro, with the support of Elizabeth Cawein, a long-time music publicist turned strategist and advocate based in Memphis. Cawein brings to the role eight years’ experience in music publicity and expertise on music ecosystem strategies gained through her work with Music Export Memphis, an innovative nonprofit that leverages public and private funding to act as an export office for the city’s music culture.
“As a passionate believer that smart cities are music cities, I’m thrilled to be leading Sound Diplomacy’s work in the U.S.,” Cawein says. “We know that when music ecosystems thrive, our cities thrive. I’m particularly excited to connect with leaders across government, tourism, and economic development, to illustrate the immense value of music, in quality of life, in talent attraction, in civic identity and civic pride.”
In addition to previously announced projects in San Francisco, New Orleans, Huntsville and the Shoals Region, the story in Billboard today also mentions Sound Diplomacy North American projects in Indianapolis, Fort Worth, Northwest Arkansas, and Vancouver, Canada.