Developing an advanced
music policy for Huntsville

Sound Diplomacy is the global expert in developing long term and self sufficient music strategies. We have worked in over 40 countries and with over 100 clients, spanning public, private and third sectors, such as the Greater London Authority, City of Vancouver and UNIDO. We are proud to be working with the City of Huntsville.

This website will be updated regularly, with reports on what has been done, what is planned, key dates, and an opportunity for you to comment on the process. Email with the Subject line 'SUBSCRIBE HUNTSVILLE' to get updates straight to your inbox, and to get an alert when new pieces of research or participatory surveys are published online.


What we have done:


Katja Hermes, Director of the German Office and Head of Projects, and Azucena Micó, Senior Project Manager, spent a week in the city in June, conducting a series of roundtables and interviews with local stakeholders and visiting some of its main music spaces.

In June, we conducted nine roundtable sessions and several interviews, as well as an open discussion. Overall, we met around 150 people, and the Meet & Greet Open Discussion was attended by 200+ people.

We published a survey asking for your opinion on various aspects of Huntsville’s music landscape. The survey was online for six weeks and closed September 10. Over 1000 of you participated! We are currently analyzing the results.

On October 3, Shain Shapiro conducted two roundtables and a second Open Forum in which he showed the first findings of the survey and the ecosystem mapping. Thank you all for coming!

In November we analysed the music ecosystem survey, started gathering economic data on the value of the music ecosystem, and submitted the first audit deliverables, including a regulatory assessment and music asset mapping. In addition, we spoke to more stakeholders throughout the Huntsville music ecosystem.

Between December and March we have been analysing the results of all the pieces of research, that will conclude in the final draft of the report in April. There will be a revision period after that.

In May 2019, Sound Diplomacy presented a first draft of the Music Ecosystem Study and Strategic Recommendations. The study will be made public towards the end of June.


Watch Mayor Tommy Battle’s #StateofCityHsv video on December 4, 2018:

Overall timeline:


Step 1

Stakeholder Database Development

Comparative Analysis & Benchmarking

April-May 2018

May-Aug 2018


step 2

Survey & Interviews

Jun-Sep 2018


step 3

Data Capture & Economic Mapping

Aug-Oct 2018


step 4

Economic Impact Analysis

Presentation of Draft Strategic Plan

Jan 2019

Jan 2019


step 5

Music Strategy & Action Plan

May 2019

General information:

Please contact us if you require any further information:

Katerina Ivanova, Research Manager -

Azucena Micó, Project Lead -

Nadia Niakossary, Local Consultant -

Katja Hermes, Project Director -


Katja Hermes, Project Director

Katja Hermes is the Head of projects at Sound Diplomacy. She founded the Sound Diplomacy Berlin office in October 2013. In this role Katja has consulted several cities on their Music City strategy, gave lectures about Music Cities at events over the world and initiated the Music Cities Network together with the Hamburg Music Business Association (IHM). She worked on the development of several funding projects for German institutions and has consulted with the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, GIZ, Adam Mickiewicz Institute Poland, Nordic Embassies Berlin and many other institutions. Katja has been working in the music business for more than 12 years. She has worked in various fields in the industry including at Mutek Festival, Ableton and Initiative Musik, the German funding organisation, where she was responsible for the export projects. Katja holds a diploma in Geography and Economy, with a focus on urban planning and creative industries.

Azucena Micó, Project Lead

Azucena is Senior Project manager at Sound Diplomacy. She has managed some of the company's biggest projects, including music market analysis and music strategies for cities, countries and spaces. At the moment, she is working in music city strategies for the City of San Francisco, The City of Huntsville (Alabama) and the region of Northwest Arkansas; she is coordinating an economic impact analysis of a festival in Mallorca; she is managing the design of a two-year project to strengthen the Cuban music industry through UNIDO; and is the coordinator of Fabra i Coats Creative Factory Music Committee, among others. She holds a Masters Degree in Cultural Policies and Management and a Masters Degree on Cultural Production and Communication. She is an academic researcher in the field of social value of music in the urban environment and guest lecturer at Universitat Blanquerna Ramon Llull in Barcelona.

Katerina Ivanova, Research Manager

Kat is a project manager and researcher with six years of experience in market research and cultural industries management. She’s passionate about music, night-time culture, and urban planning. At Sound Diplomacy since 2016, Kat works on music and music tourism strategies for cities and countries (Armenia, Brisbane, Peru), as well as programming & management of events (Music Cities Convention, Reeperbahn, BIME, German Haus at SXSW).