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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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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