Tuesday, August 16, 2022
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New Music Census to Find Out DC’s Music Economy


D.C. will be launching a music census for the first time to find out more about the role of musicians in the local district autonomy.

The census will assess the music scene of the city, including the number of people who earn from music and how venues and local artists function.

Few years ago city officials were preparing a Cultural Plan for D.C. when they came up with the idea of census. The officials identified in a catalogue of D.C.’s “cultural creators” that only 360 residents listed their primary occupation as “musician” on their tax filings.

“They went, ‘there aren’t that many working musicians.’ And we were like, that’s crazy, of course there are. We realized they just didn’t have the data,” said Anna Celenza, a music professor at Georgetown University who has been working on a census on city’s jazz musicians.

Officials at D.C.’s Office of Cable, Television, Film, Music and Entertainment will be partnering with Celenza by including the entire city music scene in the census.

Residents from Washington, D.C. area who earn from music in the District can answer the questionnaire which will be available online.

Celenza is hoping that the census results will impact the Cultural Plan of the city, helping divert more resources of the city towards music. The plan is running behind the schedule and is still in the draft stage.

“Until you know what the economic impact is, you can’t justify spending money,” said Chris Naoum of Listen Local First organization that raises awareness about local music scene of the district.

“This is the kind of investment that signals to our peers and our community that we are a cultural city to be taken seriously. This is a big win for the District’s music community, and Mayor Muriel Bowser’s unwavering support of the D.C. creative economy has resulted in this milestone,” said Angie Gates, the director of the Office of Cable, Television, Film, Music and Entertainment.

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