Widely recognized as a center of the music industry, Nashville is given the nickname "Music City." But 200 years ago, none of the residents knew that they were establishing an industry that would be synonymous with the city: one of the first hymnals was produced by a Nashville company; a native composed a popular Civil War song; and a cappella ensemble Fisk Jubilee Singers successfully toured Europe in 1871.
They were humble beginnings. The real beginning of Nashville's legacy as "Music City" didn't begin until the 1920s. Learn more about the history of Nashville below:
The Origins of Nashville's Legacy as "Music City"
Significant prosperity really began when radio was generally embraced as medium for communication in the 1920s. WSM radio station was set up by a local insurance company, National Life & Accident Insurance, for its own promotion alongside public service. Later in 1925, the station's Saturday night "barn dance" became the Grand Ole Opry, throughout which contributed to the popularity of country music in the country. Life & Casualty, another insurance company, also established its own radio station, WLAC. Its rhythm and blues song selection helped the careers of local talent.
In the 1950s, record companies soon opened Nashville offices and started to come after these local celebrities. Nashville's identity as Music City took hold when Elvis started recording in the city. Fans even to this day often visit RCA Studio B to learn more about the King of Rock and Roll.
Music City in the Present
Back to present times, Nashville is home to two cable television stations, namely, Great American Country and Country Music Television. Avid fans turn to these channels for music and artist profiles.
Despite a pleasure of the ear, Music Row (a term coined to 16th and 17th Avenues South) shows that the music of Nashville is also a sightly view. Though much of modern Christian worship and popular music is headquartered here, one can also find publishing houses devoted to country.
Major Music Organizations in Nashville
Various organizations – the American Society of Composers, SESAC, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), and Broadcast Music International (BMI) – have offices on Music Row. They guarantee the rights for performers and music writers to be successful in their career. Nashville is also the birthplace of Country Music Association, when rock and roll music started to dominate over country. Advocating to the people the appreciation for American music traditions is what Americana Music Association and Barbershop Harmony Society strives to achieve. Naxos Music, the largest classic music publishers in the world, is headquartered down the road in Franklin.
Other Industries in Nashville
Recording music is not what Nashville is only about; they create too. Gibson Guitars manufactures its titular musical instrument and invented the archtop guitars. A small record pressing facility known as United Record Pressing is also located here.
Seeing a number of guitars, clothes adorned with rhinestones, and gold records is therefore hardly a surprise when touring the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Together with the music industry, it helps preserve the century-old tradition of country music and more. Their combined endeavors paved the way for about 1,500 entertainment businesses, which provide 20,000 jobs and $700m annual revenue. Tourism adds extra revenue and creates another 14,000 jobs.
Nashville's Best Musical Attractions
Residents enjoy calling Nashville home because there is an array of musical attractions and venues throughout the city—many of which are world-famous. Some of Nashville’s top music-themed museums and attractions enjoyed by locals and visitors alike include:
Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
Two and a half million music-related artifacts are safeguarded within the walls of this museum, including original recordings, stage costumes, priceless instruments and much more.
Historic RCA Studio B
Known amid the music industry as "The Home of 1,000 Hits,” many greats recorded top hits here. A two-hour tour of the inner workings of the studio can be included with a package admission to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
Gallery of Iconic Guitars at Belmont
Known locally as The GIG, visitors have a unique opportunity to get up-close to more than 100 rare, historical instruments. This intimate experience also provides in-depth details about each piece.
The Grand Ole Opry
The place that launched the careers of many country music legends still hosts incredible shows featuring up-and-comers and classic artists throughout the year.
Music City Walk of Fame Park
Nashville’s very own testament to the singers, writers, recording teams and stars representative of the best in the country music industry. It’s fun to take photos with favorites, and the park features special events and live music periodically.
There are many more musical attractions in Nashville to enjoy, as Music City abounds with citywide venues, museums, galleries and studios dedicated to fostering keeping country alive and well across the world.
Meeting Nashville's Celebrities
While Music City does not boast as many celebrities as New York and Los Angeles, seeing a famed artist is a priceless delight nonetheless. But Nashville celebrities do not experience the same extra attention Hollywood celebrities get. You may encounter Kim Carnes leaving her yoga class and Alan Jackson filling his car with gas at the station, but with no mobs disturbing their everyday affairs. They're treated just like ordinary neighbors.
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