Indy Music Strategy


About Sound Diplomacy:

Sound Diplomacy is the leading strategic consultancy providing cities, governments, tourism and real estate sectors with the tools to measure, assess and unlock the economic value of music and cultural infrastructure.

Their work has helped define the ‘music cities movement’ and been delivered in over 20 countries and 50 cities around the world.

We are excited to work with Indy Music Strategy Committee on the Indianapolis Music Strategy, an economic development initiative focused on the city’s diverse and growing music industry.

We hosted our first-ever U.S. Music Cities Forum in Indianapolis in 2018, centering Indianapolis in the Music Cities conversation and providing both a catalyst and a foundation for bringing this project to life.

Indy Music Strategy Survey

The Music Strategy Survey is now open! It is a continuation of the research trip that Sound Diplomacy carried out in July, during which over 130 music ecosystem stakeholders were engaged in roundtables and personal interviews. The survey data, along with the rest of findings from Phases I & II, will inform our development of recommendations to support the growth of music in Indianapolis moving forward.

You can access the survey by clicking here. Here are some instructions:

  • The survey is directed at all musicians, music industry stakeholders and music lovers who have engaged in or experienced music in Indianapolis.

  • Depending on your role in Indianapolis' music ecosystem, the survey will take 10-20 minutes on average to complete. If you answer as a music fan, it will take 5-10 minutes.

  • You can save your answers during the survey and return at a later time to complete it.

  • The survey is available in English and Spanish. La encuesta está disponible en Inglés y Español.

  • It will be open until November 24, so you have until then to participate.

We appreciate you sharing the survey link among your music peers, students, fans and friends.

The Sound Diplomacy team is also open to any comments, queries and suggestions about this project. You can find the team’s contact details and more information on the study down below.


What We’re Here to Do

Phase I of the Indianapolis Music Strategy will focus on the creation of a music vision for the city followed by an ecological impact assessment, which will include regulatory assessment – an in-depth exploration of current local policies impacting music – and benchmarking of Indianapolis with like-minded cities in the U.S. and abroad.

Phase II will bring the Sound Diplomacy team to Indianapolis for a week of roundtable conversations, site visits and interviews, which will be complemented with an online survey to involve the breadth and depth of the Indianapolis music sector to better understand, gauge and measure its music ecosystem. We will also identify music-related uses in Indianapolis in a music ecosystem map.

How We’ll Do It

Sound Diplomacy will develop this assessment and action plan through a comprehensive process, including regulatory assessments and extensive comparative analysis.  

1. Music Vision: Outline a vision for the growth of Indianapolis’ music economy

The vision will be foundational, setting out the key objectives of a perspective future strategy. 

2. Ecological Impact Phase 1: Benchmarking & Regulatory Assessment

We will review all local, national and international literature relevant to both the industry profile and ecosystem assessment objectives, benchmarking Indianapolis with other like-minded cities both in the United States and abroad. We will then undertake an extensive review of Indianapolis’ music policy. This will be compared and contrasted with the benchmarking studies completed. This stage will encompass interviews with staff members and desk research, providing Indianapolis with the most comprehensive music policy infrastructure in the area and significant competitive advantage to other cities.

3. Ecological Impact Phase 2: Place Scraping

Sound Diplomacy will identify music-related uses in Indianapolis. This ecological map will aim to identify all music assets in the city, including live music spaces, recorded music spaces, music education facilities, independent and local industry professionals and companies, including labels, promoters, agents, etc. 

4. Roundtables / Expert Interviews / Survey

Roundtables and interviews will be held during a study visit in July 2019. They will engage key focus groups like artists, music industry, music education, government etc. The aim is to uncover the challenges, opportunities and strengths of the music ecosystem to determine what Indianapolis and its leadership can do to improve the situation for developing its music ecology by identifying policy gaps and optimization points. 

After the visit, a survey will be released that will be accessible to professionals and musicians in the local music ecosystem, as well as the general public/audience. The survey aims to gather quantitative feedback from the local music ecosystem, as well as data on the make-up of the Indianapolis music industry, its economic value, and the amount of industry professionals, availability of suitable music spaces, etc., in the city. 

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. If you’d like be kept abreast on the work, please contact us below to get updates straight to your inbox. We will alert you when new pieces of research or participatory surveys are published online.


Overall timeline:


Step 1

Project launch and announcement

February 2019

Step 2

Music vision completed

April 2019

Step 3

Benchmarking and Regulatory Assessment completed

May 2019

Step 4

Study visit

July 2019

Step 5


July-November 2019

Step 6


August-October 2019

All further dates will be updated once confirmed, including future visits, launches or other matters. Throughout this process, we will be collecting data, delivering our comparative analysis & completing the regulatory assessment.


What have we done so far


Sound Diplomacy has written the Vision for the Indy Music Strategy. 

We have also completed an in-depth regulatory assessment and a comparative analysis with best case examples from other cities around the US and internationally.

In July, Azucena Micó (Senior Project Manager) came to Indianapolis to conduct interviews, both in individual and roundtable format, with around 130 representatives from the music sector.


General information

The following Sound Diplomacy staff members will be responsible for the project.
Please contact us if you require any further information:

Project Lead: Azucena Micó, Senior Lead

Azucena is the Senior Project Lead at Sound Diplomacy. She has managed many 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 Muscle Shoals; she managed the design of a two-year project to strengthen the Cuban music industry through the United Nations. 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.
+34 615538874

US Lead: Elizabeth Cawein

Elizabeth joined Sound Diplomacy in January of 2019 to lead the consultancy’s work in the United States. Elizabeth is a music strategist, advocate and publicist. She serves as an adjunct professor of music urbanism at Rhodes College. In 2015 she was honored by the British Council at its Education UK Alumni Awards, celebrating outstanding U.S. alumni of British institutions. Elizabeth has serves as a music mentor at SXSW and has produced showcases at Folk Alliance International, SXSW and AmericanaFest. She is dedicated to the belief that smart cities are music cities – her TED Talk on the subject has 1 million views and climbing.

Project Manager: Paloma Medina, Research Manager

Paloma joined Sound Diplomacy in 2016, working on several national and local music strategies for clients such as the City of Vancouver, the Northwest Arkansas Council, the City of Cardiff, Promperu, MusicTT (Trinidad and Tobago) and St. Lucia TEPA, among others. She has also managed the City of Vilnius’ Night Time Economy strategy for GO Vilnius and developed case studies on the night time economy and music sector for the Greater London Authority and other clients. A specialist in cultural research and its intersection with economic development, Paloma was awarded in 2015 a research scholarship to work at the Department of Cultural Economics at the University of València in Spain. She holds a BA in Media Studies from the same university and a MA in Cultural Management.


The Project in the Press:

The Indy Music Strategy Steering Committee:

  • Indy Chamber: Jim Rawlinson and Susanna Taft

  • Visit Indy: Janet Arnold and Matt Carter

  • Central Indiana Community Foundation: Clayton De Fur

  • City of Indianapolis: Scarlett Martin

  • MusicCrossroads: Julie Burns

  • MOKB Presents: Josh Baker

  • Live Nation: Dan Kemer

  • Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra: David Armstrong

  • Big Car: Oreo Jones and Jim Walker

  • Musical Family Tree: Sharlene Birdsong

  • MIBOR: Zachary Churney

  • Create Fountain Square: Kelli Mirgeaux

  • Chreece Presents: Oreo Jones and Ron Miner

  • Bohlson Group: Andy Wilson

  • Eskenazi Health: Michael Kaufmann

  • Kheprw Institute: Diop & Imhotep Adisa

  • United Way: Alan Bacon

  • Arts Council of Indianapolis: Ernest Disney-Britton & Julie Goodman


Sound Diplomacy Embraces Inclusion, Equity and Diversity

  • INCLUSION - Our policy is to be intentional in engaging all voices, all genres, all styles & all disciplines in our stakeholder engagement process. We will work with our clients, and their constituents, to encourage inclusion of all voices across race, gender, style, discipline, age and vocation.  

  • EQUITY - Our objective is to engage with the widest set of music assets, voices and infrastructure in all the cities and places we work. Music is everywhere and it comes in all shapes, sounds and sizes. We embrace all genres, styles, colours, representations and opinions through the research and auditing process, from start-to-finish.

  • DIVERSITY - Music is our universal language. We all speak it. Our principle is to celebrate diversity throughout our work, in every way it manifests.

More information about Sound Diplomacy

Where We Have Worked and What We Have Done Elsewhere:

For more information, please look at our case studies in Vancouver, Northwest Arkansas, San Francisco, New Orelans, London and elsewhere:  

For example, our work in Vancouver led to the a $400K investment in music. Read here.

“Music BC Industry Association has been a long-time client of Sound Diplomacy as our sole source for market development and music strategies.  As a result of the fantastic work that they conducted on behalf of Music BC with the Vancouver Ecology Study in conjunction with a Music City Forum, we have made huge strides with public policy, locally, domestically and internationally.  Their work has set a benchmark for our organization to take music strategies throughout the province of BC.” – Alex Grigg, CEO Music British Columbia

“Our decision to work closely with Sound Diplomacy on the Vancouver Music Ecosystem paid off in colours. By utilizing their depth in experience engaging in Music Cities events around the globe, their unique insight was clear and apparent in the final report. As a result we were able to influence change in our metro quickly and with confidence that the recommendations were supported by their wealth of knowledge and passion for the sector.” – Rob Calder, CEO, Secret Study (partners on Vancouver Music Strategy)   

We also run Music Cities Convention, the world’s largest forum on music and public policy.