Website Value Penguin conducted a study that uses a set of 15 different data points in order to determine the “best” and “worst” cities for music in the United States. By looking at data from cities all across the country, the site was able to compile a comprehensive ranking chart based on several different defining factors. Among them were the number of employed musicians per 1,000 residents, number of active radio stations within the city, number of recording studios, number of music or performing arts degrees given to residents of the city, number of music supply stores, and hourly median wage for musicians.


According to the findings, and after comparing all of the data against itself, Value Penguin even came up with a 200-city list determining the overall best and worst cities in which to be a musician. At the very top, surprisingly, were Nashville, TN and Honolulu, HI. San Francisco came in at #10, Boulder, CO at #19, New York, NY at #26, and Los Angeles at #27.

Check below for the top 50 cities in the country, and click here to explore the rest of the study.

01. Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, TN
02. Urban Honolulu, HI
03. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA
04. Madison, WI
05. Austin-Round Rock, TX
06. Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY
07. Tucson, AZ
08. Rochester, NY
09. Pittsburgh, PA
10. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA
11. Salt Lake City, UT
12. Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI
13. Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA
14. Eugene, OR
15. Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA
16. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI
17. Asheville, NC
18. Burlington-South Burlington, VT
19. Boulder, CO
20. Binghamton, NY
21. Wilmington, NC
22. Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA
23. Fort Collins, CO
24. Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL
25. Duluth, MN-WI
26. New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA
27. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA
28. Sioux Falls, SD
29. Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
30. New Orleans-Metairie, LA
31. Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV
32. Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD
33. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
34. Trenton, NJ
35. Colorado Springs, CO
35. Lincoln, NE
37. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT
38. Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH
39. Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN
40. Gainesville, FL
41. Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA
42. St. Louis, MO-IL
43. Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NY
44. Appleton, WI
45. Champaign-Urbana, IL
45. Lynchburg, VA
47. Charlottesville, VA
48. Rockford, IL
49. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV
50. Portland-South Portland, ME


Sources: Consequence of Sound, ValuePenguin