Music Industry Network - Music Industry Advisory Group


What's going on before the record, behind the stage, and during a tour? What does it take to succeed in the business side of the music industry? Want to know what's really happening in the Nashville Music Industry?

Then you'll want to get to know the folks in the Music Industry Advisory Group. MIAG logo

The music industry is one of the region’s most significant economic drivers, fueling our hospitality and tourism sectors as well as our creative economy. While there are great online groups for networking, like Music Biz Besties and co-working spaces to get your work done like H.O.M.E., where do those in the know go for a deep dive into the business side of music and to learn more about the music industry network?

Ole Red people

That's where the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce’s Music Industry Advisory Group comes in. MIAG provides connections with other music-related businesses while providing insights on how the Chamber can best support and attract these members and the music industry as a whole.

Denise Hoolhorst

We chatted recently with Denise Hoolhorst, Member Relations Manager of the Nashville Chamber of Commerce and the driving force behind the Music Industry Advisory Group. 

Give us the scoop on the group. I suspect you are the brains behind getting it launched!

I can take credit on starting the group, but the success has really come from the members. In 2015 when I became part of the membership team at the Chamber, I realized we didn't have a lot of members that represented the music industry. Since I had a background in music, it was especially noticeable. I thought "Wow, and we’re supposed to be Music City? But where are all the music members?"

At that time, 3% of our members businesses focused on the music industry. So I recruited a dozen music industry people, formed a small focus group to determine what is needed and what gap the Chamber can help fill. That was the unofficial launch of the Advisory Group.

I know the Nashville Chamber has been around a long time, and is very active in the local business scene, but the Music Industry Advisory Group is still fairly new. So dumb question... what took so long?

Good question, and not dumb at all! The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce has always served all industries. We didn't realize it at first, but there seemed to be a disproportionately small amount of music members. Once we looked at the data and saw that the impact of the music industry was nearly 10% of GDP for the region, we knew we needed to provide resources specifically to target the success of that demographic, and target music membership to that level.

How's that going? 

MIAG Victor

Fantastic, actually! Music industry members now represent 8% of the Chamber, and we anticipate hitting the 10% mark in 2020. What began as a dozen members has now grown to 180+, and represent every aspect and demographic of the music industry. From young professionals to tour managers, established corporations to start ups, artists to executives. Our group is diverse, yet focused.  

What kind of commitment does it take to be a part of the group?

We make it super easy to be a member in this amazing group. First - you must be a Chamber member. As part of the membership, you are invited to three lunches each year, usually March, July and November. We hope members can attend all of them - the time together is well spent and always results in new education, new connections and new opportunities. Having said that, it's not a requirement to attend, just highly beneficial. We always say, the right people are there each time.

How can an individual or a company benefit from being part of the group? 

Jazz on the Cumberland

Being a part of the group lends credibility to both existing and potential relationships. For example, Victor Chatman, producer of Jazz on the Cumberland, has cited MIAG as a source of opening up partnerships with venues and corporate groups. Through the group, he's been able to identify new opportunities to bring jazz to Middle Tennessee, in areas that people traditionally only think of country music. 

Our 90-minute working lunches are really brainstorming sessions. Between the music-related businesses and the music industry pros, we have a lot to talk about! That's a lot of brainpower, all in one room at one time. Like Victor, being part of the group provides others with a different perspective of an industry they've known for years. You can't help but benefit from the collective experience and knowledge. 

In addition to your own listing in our online business directory, member businesses are also listed on our Music Industry Resources web page.  Members can connect directly through our closed Facebook group as well.

So where did your passion for the industry come from? 

In addition to loving all things music personally, I have worked in the music industry previously, managing a singer/songwriter for 8 years (Jana Stanfield) and was also an intern at Global Songwriters. I am excited to be able to support others that share my passion.

Can you share a recent success story?

Yes, definitely! It was a huge honor for us to catch the eye of Consul General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Atlanta, Ard van der Vorst. He hosted a "Nashville to Netherlands" luncheon to discuss bringing together the music industries of our area with the music industry of his country. A small group of us attended, including the Cultural Attache of the Kingdom of Netherlands, Bob Raines, Executive Director of the TN Entertainment Commission, Jason Padgett, Executive Director of the Nashville Film Festival, as well as artists, artist managers and several of us from the Chamber. It was such an honor to be there, and exciting for our group. 

What's on the horizon for the group? 

The Research Center is revamping our Nashville Music Industry Impact Study in 2020. The original study was done in 2013, so we are excited to gain new insights and see how we can support the growth in this market. This time around, there will also be a specific focus on Music Row. 

Denise, thank you so much for talking with us, and sharing so much information on the Music Industry Advisory Group. See you at the next lunch! 

High Road is a proud member of the Nashville Chamber and an active participant in the Music Industry Advisory Group. For more information on MIAG, please check out their website - Nashville Chamber of Commerce / Music Industry Advisory Group 


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