New Orleans Music Economy Initiative (NOME)

About Sound Diplomacy:

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, Walton Family Foundation, Arup, the Cities of Vancouver, San Francisco, Cardiff, and the United Nations.

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We are proud to be working with NOME to deliver a Music Industry Economic Impact Assessment for the Greater New Orleans Region (GNO).

The confluence of technology that has disrupted the old music business models, new state financial incentives for permanent job creation, and intellectual property production, market growth, and the strong New Orleans brand as a center for innovation, technology and entrepreneurship makes this the right time for this initiative.

The vision for the New Orleans Music Economy initiative (NOME) is for the New Orleans Region to have both the brand of America’s premier music city and a thriving music economy by focusing on the development of the Intellectual Property (music copyright) value stream. The NOME initiative will grow the local economy by capturing and adding to the value of its music creators, attracting investment and creating new jobs.

We’re grateful to the sponsors of this initiative:  Greater New Orleans, Inc, The Helis Foundation, IBERIABANK, New Orleans & Company, The City of New Orleans, New Orleans Downtown Development District, Kevin M. Lin, Louisiana Entertainment and New Orleans Business Alliance.

We want to hear from YOU!

As part of the work we are carrying out, we're releasing a survey to assess the city’s music ecology, evaluate the economic and social impact of its music and determine its strengths and weaknesses. We want to hear from YOU.

You can acess the survey by clicking in the link below.

Here's some instructions:

  • Depending on your role in the New Orleans music ecosystem, the survey will take between 10 and 25 minutes to complete. If you are a music fan, it will take between 5 and 10 minutes.

  • You can take the survey on a mobile device, but it is easier to use a computer if you have access to one.

Letter from the Steering Committee of the New Orleans Music Economy Initiative (NOME):

NOME is a project of Greater New Orleans Inc. (GNO, Inc.), the region’s economic development nonprofit.  GNO, Inc. is led by Michael Hecht (CEO) and Rachel Shields (Chief of Staff). 

We’d like to offer some background on why we were embarking on this project and why we need your input to be successful. First, we’ve all heard the stories about the many great New Orleans musicians who had to leave the city to take their careers to the next level because “the music industry doesn’t exist in New Orleans” or “you need to move to New York or Los Angeles or Nashville to get a management, booking or record deal.” Second, we all know someone who has had their music used (and got paid) in HBO’s Treme or CBS’ NCIS New Orleans.  These are the types of issues the NOME initiative is attempting to address:  How do we grow the music businesses to support our local talent?  This will allow the income generated by managers, lawyers, record labels, music publishers, etc. via the work of our artists to stay in New Orleans, contribute to our economy and employ locals who wish to work in the music industry.

We think everyone can agree that we have one of the best live music scenes in the world, especially having just gone through the busiest few weeks of festival season. And our live music scene is a great incubator for artists to sharpen their craft. But - there are at least 45 different income streams for music creators, and live music only taps into a couple of those possibilities. Further, the live music income streams are a one-time income source (pay from that one gig, merch sold that night, etc.), whereas growing opportunities in the composing/songwriting/music publishing areas (including sync licensing your music to movies, TV and advertising) creates long-term income possibilities.

With this in mind, with the NOME initiative, we have identified two primary goals:

  1. For musicians to make money from their original compositions and recordings (intellectual property or “IP”).  In other words, create new sources of revenue for musicians beyond what they are paid for live performances

  2. To develop the “business of music” that supports music creators of all genres. This includes artist and IP management, production, publishing, booking, law, finance and beyond 

NOME will produce an Action Plan to achieve these goals.  Our Action Plan will focus on ways for a musician creating original music (in any genre) to have that music generate money directly for them.  It will also focus on creating opportunities for residents to get great jobs in the music industry, broadly defined.

In order to do this, we need to determine the economic impact of music in New Orleans, and also map the music businesses already operating in our city.  Our first step was to hire a consultant, Sound Diplomacy, to assist us. Sound Diplomacy is a global music consultancy who has worked in over 40 countries and has committed to base their US operations here in New Orleans.  Our second step was holding roundtable discussions with over 150 musicians and music industry people from the music community of New Orleans and have them tell us their hopes and concerns.

Our next step is where we need your help at this point in the process:  we will be conducting an important survey about the music community. 

This will allow us to:

  • Calculate the amount of money music adds to the economy of Greater New Orleans (recorded, live, and music business)

  • Develop ideas for government policies that will help drive the infrastructure needed to support musicians’ original songs, compositions and recordings

  • Continue to demonstrate the economic value of music to New Orleans to the wider community (business, tourism, policymakers, investors, culture-bearers and everyone in-between)

  • Map where music businesses are in New Orleans, so we can partner with organizations to better serve them

  • Develop the Action Plan in order to support our goals of new revenue and business development

That’s what we are doing. 

Here's what we will not do: 

  • Share your data with anyone

  • Highlight anyone specifically within our findings, without prior consent

  • Advocate for any one type of music over any other

  • Form an opinion or tell anyone what they should or shouldn't be doing with their content

If you know other musicians, please just send this website to them so they can also get an introduction to what we're doing.  We'll be sending the survey in the coming week or so that asks for information about music in New Orleans from your perspective. We'd greatly appreciate your response to the survey, which you are welcome to fill out anonymously if you want, and look forward to hearing from you throughout the coming year. 

If you'd like to contact us, visit

With appreciation, 

The NOME Steering Committee 

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.


Key upcoming dates:



Sound Diplomacy has launched a survey addressed to music professionals, artists & music companies to gather data. You can answer the survey here.

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.


Overall timeline:


Step 1


January 2019


Step 2

Stakeholder Engagement and Needs Assessment (including survey)

March - July 2019


Step 3

Knowledge Mapping

February - September 2019


Step 4

Economic Impact and Ecosystem Analysis

October & November 2019


Step 5

Development of the Music Industry Strategy

November & December 2019

What we have done so far: 

Between March 11-20 Azucena Micó (Senior Project Manager), Brandy Lawrence (Senior Researcher) and Katerina Ivanova (Project Manager) came to New Orleans to conduct interviews, either in individual, group or roundtable format alongside Holly Hobbs (Local Consultant). The Sound Diplomacy team met around 120 people from the local music sector during their time in New Orleans.

General information:

Please contact us if you require any further information:

Project Director: Azucena Micó, Senior Project Manager

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

Project Assistant: Katerina Ivanova, Research & Project Manager

Kat is a project manager and researcher with six years of experience in market research and cultural industries management. Kat holds a Bachelors Degree in Sociology and a Masters Degree in New Media Studies. At Sound Diplomacy since 2016, Kat has delivered music and music tourism strategies for cities, regions and countries. Most recently she has worked on the Music Ecosystem strategies for the City of Brisbane (AUS), City of Huntsville, AL and the region of The Shoals, AL. Prior to that, Kat was managing the online creator research platform at SoundCloud in Berlin. She’s passionate about music, night-time culture, and urban planning.

Local consultant: Holly Hobbs, Local Consultant

Holly Hobbs earned her PhD in Ethnomusicology from Tulane University in New Orleans in 2015. In 2012, she founded the NOLA Hip-Hop Archive, a digital archive of rap and bounce music and oral history housed at the Amistad Research Center. Hobbs has worked as a music consultant in a number of capacities over the years, including work in documentary film and for various musically-based projects, including the Santuri Project based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and as a contract fieldworker for the State of Louisiana. Her writing has appeared in numerous publications, including Music Rising, the KNOWLA Encyclopedia of Music and Culture, Smithsonian Folkways, Southern Spaces, Louisiana Cultural Vistas, Uproxx and more. She currently works as a Corporate Development Specialist for NPR/WWNO in New Orleans, Louisiana.
+1 573 864 9276

The New Orleans Music Economy Initiative

The New Orleans Music Economy Initiative is spearheaded by a group of regional business and music leaders, including:  

  • Michael Hecht – Greater New Orleans, Inc.

  • Tara Hernandez – JCH Properties+

  • Jim McCormick – Staff Songwriter, BMG Rights Management; Music Industry Studies Instructor, Loyola University New Orleans

  • PJ Morton – Morton Records, Maroon 5

  • Todd Johnson – IBERIABANK

  • Raj Smoove – DJ, Producer, and Audio Engineer

  • Jay Weigel – Composer; Music Director; Producer; Loyola University New Orleans Film Scoring Instructor

  • Reid Wick – The Recording Academy; The Grammy Awards

  • Bill Sabo - NOLABA

The Project in the Press

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, 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.