How can cities become music cities?


Communication and cooperation among music cities around the world should be improved by the Music Cities Network (MCN). The network was initiated in summer 2016 by the Hamburg Music Industry Association (IHM) and Sound Diplomacy and founded in early 2017 by the cities of Aarhus, Sydney and Hamburg.

Music cities invigorate the economy, connect cultures across nations and continents, attract talent, promote tourism and branding and are the key to a sustainable music industry. As a melting pot for musical creation and consumption, urban centers are the places where music is produced, performed, advertised and sold. This potential offers unique opportunities to strengthen music cities as thriving and internationally significant centers for music and music production.


  • The MCN is a member-based network that pursues the following four goals:
  • To further develop cities through music funding and community projects;
  • Form larger international networks and create a political agenda for the city of music;
  • To provide and disseminate information and research results on activities and strategies of international music cities;
  • To simplify the exchange and cooperation between the music industry, artists, cultural and educational institutions

The cities of Aarhus, Hamburg and Sydney were the first to join the network. In February 2017, the MCN welcomed Groningen as a new member. On the part of the Hanseatic city, the Music Cities network is pleased about the support of Hamburg Marketing GmbH, the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce, the Hamburg Music Industry Interest Group and the cultural authority.

Timotheus Wiesmann (Managing Director IHM): “For Hamburg and its music, internationalization and cooperation with actors around the world are two major concerns. The formation of an effective network of cities with a focus on music has therefore long been one of the central projects for IHM. We are all the more pleased that we were able to win several institutions as supporters at Hamburg level last year, that we have now founded the Music Cities Network and that cities around the world are now becoming members and cooperation partners. "

Projects & Events
The MCN's first collaborative research project is currently under development. The aim is to optimize strategies for audience development for live music venues and festivals in the member cities, as well as their ongoing exchange.
At this year's SXSW, the network presented an official panel on the possibilities and benefits of global collaboration on the music level. The MCN also presented a “Music Cities Mixer” networking event for all music delegates. At the SPOT Festival 2017 in Aarhus, the MCN is holding a seminar on the strategies and initiatives of music cities on Friday, May 5th, and a showcase on Saturday, May 6th, in which new talents from Hamburg, Aarhus and Bergen will meet Norway will introduce.
One of the important goals of the Music Cities Network is to enable relationships and networks both among artists and on a business-to-business level. For example, at the beginning of 2017, the network members Sydney and Aarhus cooperated to support the Aarhus-born composer and drummer Christian Windfeld on his Australian tour. Windfeld had expressed an interest in holding a recording session on the UNESCO World Heritage Site Cockatoo Island on Sydney Harbor. Then the Aarhus-based music industry association PROMUS contacted the city council of Sydney via the Music Cities Network and asked for support. Through its contacts with the Sydney Harbor Federation Trust, the City of Sydney was able to ensure that Windfeld got the help he needed.

Hugh Nichols (City of Sydney): “The music industry operates culturally and economically on a global level, but it has its roots on the local level. We are doing a lot in Sydney to support our local music industry. To be part of a network of cities that are all doing similar work is immensely rewarding for us. With the Music Cities Network, we can share our own work with international colleagues while keeping up with all the great things other cities are doing. The music industry is dynamic and constantly changing. It is vital that the industry associations and the government agencies that support them are always informed and flexible so that they can adapt their approaches to what the industry needs at the moment.
Beyond these business-related goals, the most recent experience with Christian shows that there is also a very practical, artist-oriented side of the network and, in the end, it is the support of artists that is everything. "