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.

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.

What we are here to do:

  1. GAP ANALYSIS: Map Greater New Orleans’ current music ecology, highlighting the existing gaps

  2. POLICY ASSESSMENT: Assess Greater New Orleans’ existing music and economic policies for deficiencies and opportunities

  3. ECONOMIC IMPACT: Provide an economic assessment of Greater New Orleans’ music industry potential when fully realized

  4. ACTION PLAN: Develop a detailed, critical-path Action Plan with steps needed to fill in the gaps and realize our full economic potential and vision

This work will focus on the wide-ranging IP sector of music, including musicians, studios, rehearsal spaces and other infrastructure, as well all of the supporting jobs (agents, publishers, IP management, financial management, A/V, etc.) that will create opportunity and wealth in New Orleans, while supporting our music and culture.  This work is not focused on live music or regulation, but it will ensure that New Orleans’ diverse live music economy is included in the assessment.

What we are not here to do:

While New Orleans is unmatched as a city for live music and festivals, live performance is just the tip of the Music Economy iceberg.  Our purpose is to gather a wide range of data from across the IP-led music ecosystem and deliver the most robust impact assessment and action plan possible for Greater New Orleans.  As a result, there are some aspects of the music ecology that are not the primary focus of this work. This includes:

  • New Orleans’ live music ecosystem

  • Specific local zoning, planning or licensing ordinances

  • Music tourism promotion or marketing

All these issues will be touched upon in the work, but NOME is an economic development strategy to develop the rest of the music industry right here in New Orleans, where it belongs.  

How We Will Do It:

Sound Diplomacy will develop this assessment and action plan through a comprehensive process, including mapping, regulatory assessments, stakeholder engagement and extensive comparative analysis, to determine the economic impact & design a roadmap to strengthen and grow New Orleans music business ecosystem.  We will involve the breadth and depth of the music industry economy and ecology across all genres, sectors and vocations.

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:



Between March 11-20 Azucena Micó (Senior Project Manager), Brandy Lawrence (Senior Researcher) and Katerina Ivanova (Project Manager) will come to New Orleans to conduct interviews, either in individual, group or roundtable format alongside Holly Hobbs (Local Consultant).


Sound Diplomacy will launch a survey addressed to music professionals, artists & music companies to gather data.

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 - June 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: 

We will keep this section updated outlining what has happened, what we are doing and where we are at with the process.  

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+

  • Sherri McConnell – Creative Industry Policy Advisor

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

  • PJ Morton – Morton Records, Maroon 5

  • William Prieur – 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

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.