The states that produce the most musicians, and more!
America’s undisputed music capital is Tennessee, and it has been since the state bridging the musical hotbeds of Appalachia and the Mississippi Delta snatched the title from Nevada in the 1990s. And, of course, there’s exactly one reason for that: Nashville.
The Music City metropolitan statistical area has twice as many working musicians, relative to the size of its workforce, as the runner-up, New Orleans, according to our analysis of Census Bureau data from 2012 to 2021.
States that produce the most musicians include South Carolina, Tennessee and New York. But when you take all of them together, an interesting trend arises. The places in America that produce the most working musicians tend to be the states with the largest Black populations. It’s not always true, but it’s one of the few clues we have.