The Mayor's Music Business Council Talks About Nashville's Future ... Sort Of



Do you remember when Mayor Karl Dean announced that he, along with the Nashville Chamber of Commerce, would be putting together a “Music Business Council” featuring Kix Brooks, Emmylou Harris, Jack White and more? Of course you remember … Pitchfork reported on it. The council was apparently cobbled together with the intention of attracting “creative” types to town, as well as expanding the CMA Fest, enhancing music education and “creating a new, non-country music festival” … which I guess is like Next Big Nashville, but different somehow?

So, what is perhaps the first discernible fruit of the Music Business Council’s labors is the above video. It features sound bites from several of the council’s members — Kix Brooks, Emmylou Harris, Next Big Nashville’s Jason Moon Wilkins, Vector Management’s Ken Levitan and more — as they discuss the diversity of genres within Nashville’s music community, the potential for “cottage industry,” how technologies are important and how magic happens on the floor. Organically. Right. So here’s the thing:

I’m all for this Music Business Council. Sounds great. I’m eternally grateful to Jason Moon Wilkins for doing what he’s done with NBN, Emmylou Harris is pretty cool, Karl Dean is wonderful for throwing any sort of momentum behind a Music City endeavor that isn’t purely new country, we all know Jack White is a savvy hustler … and really, I do think it’s possible that these folks could come up with something good for the city, or at least help us finally slay that whole “Nashville’s just country!” myth that’s been bugging the shit out of us for eons.

But some problems arise when you concoct a plan of this nature. First of all, it’s a bit of a high-profile endeavor. That means Pitchfork and Nashville Cream and all sorts of new-media outlets are going to pick it up and run with it immediately. (“Hey! Jack White and some other celebrities and industry bigwigs are talking to the mayor about music! Novel! Neat!”) But then? Well, I’d imagine it’s pretty difficult to get this many important people together in the same room or Skype session or whatever-the-hell, and once you do, then what? Then it takes about a year to produce a video featuring some of the people on the board talking about how the board is going to be cool … talking about reclaiming past technologies and melding them with future ones. And stuff.

Of course, it’s entirely possible that the MBC has already come up with all sorts of ideas they just haven’t unveiled yet. Or maybe even ideas they have unveiled that we just missed. I can’t speak for everyone, of course, but I feel like I’m not the only one who’s had the following series of thoughts regarding the council:

1) Oh, cool idea. Mayor Dean, Emmylou, Jack White and J-Moony Wilkins are getting their think-tank on? Wonder what they'll come up with.
2) Whatever happened to that thing with Mayor Dean, Emmylou, et al.?
3) Oh, cool. A video.
4) I still don't know what's happening.

When I was in sixth grade, I was selected to be on the mayor's special youth council in Hendersonville. (Don't be impressed ... I was selected because I lost the race for class treasurer at my school.) For a long time, all we really did was design T-shirts for the council, and then make a video about the council for the local public access channel. The only business the council attended to for a long time was confirming that we were, in fact, a council. But then, one week I suggested that the mayor have the curb painted yellow in front of my church, because my grandparents had driven into it a couple of times. He had it done, and Mawmaw never bottomed out on that pesky bit of concrete again. At least, not as far as I know. So I suppose I'm saying you never know. It's entirely possible that the council will eventually come up with something awesome. Shall we give them the benefit of the doubt?

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