May 10, 2024 | From City of New Orleans

New Orleans Music Census Launches Today, Calling All Voices to Shape the Future of New Orleans Music Policy

NEW ORLEANS — Today marks the kickoff of the New Orleans Music Census, an ambitious endeavor spearheaded by the Mayor’s Office of Nighttime Economy to collect comprehensive data about the local music ecosystem. With the aim of delving deep into the heartbeat of our city, this initiative promises to be a game-changer, harnessing data to amplify the voices of those who shape our musical landscape. The census will be accepting responses at starting today, May 10 through May 31.

The goal of this study is to collect information that will assist with data-driven policy change so that we can better understand and support the local music ecosystem. The census will look at everyone from musicians to venue owners to sound engineers to festival buyers to vinyl manufacturers and everything in between.  

“As the birthplace of modern music, we recognize how important our culture bearers are to keeping New Orleans vibrant," said Director of Nighttime Economy Howie Kaplan. "This study will serve as a roadmap for how the City can best support them.” 

"It is critical that we hear from as many individuals as possible, from all corners of the local music scene," said Nighttime Economy Policy & Outreach Manager Julia Heath, emphasizing the importance of community participation. "Our office is committed to driving meaningful change that will support what our city is the most known for: its music." 

In partnership with Sound Music Cities, a renowned firm known for its expertise in music ecosystem studies, the New Orleans Music Census joins a prestigious cohort of 20 cities nationwide, including iconic music destinations like Nashville, TN and Washington, D.C. This collaboration ensures that our efforts are not solitary but part of a collective endeavor to elevate the status of music as a cornerstone of our cultural identity. 

By teaming up with community partners, including the Ella Project, Offbeat Magazine, StayLocal and Sinking City Records, the New Orleans Music Census will a cast a wide net, engaging with local venues, musicians, music non-profits and other stakeholders that are instrumental in our city's vibrant musical tapestry. Through interviews and surveys, Nighttime Economy aims to capture the nuanced realities of those who contribute to our nightlife economy, shedding light on both the triumphs and tribulations they face. 

"The music census is a vital tool for gathering and publishing data that will inform the public and provide a pathway forward on how best to align resources that benefit the members of our art and music community and strengthen our creative industries and cultural ecosystem for all who live in and visit New Orleans,” said Co-Founder of the Ella Project Ashlye Keaton.

To learn more about the New Orleans Music Census, please visit


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