Sacramento Music Census finds music community committed to Sacramento but needs more opportunity

The City of Sacramento today has released the results of its Sacramento Music Census, a survey to better understand the present lived experience of people in the music community and their contributions to the creative economy in the capital region.

Nearly 1,400 people from the music community responded to the survey, which was open October through November 2022.

The census, administered by Sound Music Cities, an Austin-based provider of music ecosystem studies and music census work, was carried out in partnership with the City of Sacramento Department of Convention & Cultural Services, the Office of Arts & Culture and more than 50 local community engagement partners.

Among the study’s overall findings:

  • Music creatives dominated the census, representing 78% of all respondents, followed by music industry representatives at 15% and venues/presenters at 7%.
  • 87% of music creatives plan to stay in music and 78% plan to stay in Sacramento.
  • Music creatives are calling for more gigs and more opportunity – 86% cited fewer than four local gigs per month.
  • Musicians spend an average of $9,251 annually on industry services, with 50% of that spent locally, but many still cite difficulty finding local industry support services and end up doing a lot themselves.
  • Venue/presenter data illustrates that Sacramento is specifically lacking in venues with capacity between 101 and 500 – those venues that typically cater to local musicians.
  • Regulatory barriers dominated concerns of venues and presenters, with the cost of conditions, city communications, and entertainment licensing process topping the list.

“The findings of the Sacramento Music Census reinforce a lot of what we’ve been hearing anecdotally from the music community in recent years,” said Megan Van Voorhis, Director of Convention & Cultural Services for the City. “But it also gives us a concrete direction for where our energies are best spent to support the local music industry’s recovery – and thankfully there are resources available to act on the findings.”

The City of Sacramento allocated $10 million of its American Rescue Plan Act resources to support the Creative Economy in Sacramento, including $250,000 to support arts journalism and $1.75 million for creative businesses.

Mayor Darrell Steinberg will be hosting a panel discussion as part of his 2023 State of the City from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 21 that will provide an in-depth look at the results of the Music Census and what it will take to grow the live music industry in Sacramento. This will be live streamed on the Mayor’s website.

“This Music Census provides a roadmap for what we as a city can do to create more opportunities for artists and make it easier to host live music here,” said Mayor Darrell Steinberg. “We need to build on the success of large festivals like Aftershock and Golden Sky to foster an ecosystem that nurtures our homegrown talent.”

The City expects to refine its approach for creative businesses to reflect the findings of the music census and other recent research.

This work complements a broader City initiative to support the development of the nighttime economy, led by the City’s Office of Nighttime Economy and the Responsible Hospitality Institute.

Find the full report on the City’s website here:

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