Memphis Means Music. Music Means Business.

The Memphis Music Foundation is dedicated to working with the community to cultivate a viable economic engine for Memphis by providing musicians and the music industry with resources and opportunities for growth and independence.

About the Memphis Music Foundation

Around the world, there’s one town whose name is synonymous with music:  Memphis.  The home of the blues and birthplace of rock-n-roll is a cultural mecca, and draws people from all over the globe to pay homage to our musical history and heritage. Music is embedded in the Memphis story, along with an unrelenting spirit of independence. From Elvis Presley to Justin Timberlake, from the blues clubs on Beale Street to Sun Records and Stax, creative musicians have blazed trails in the music world all while calling Memphis home. The music tradition continues as time-honored styles have found modern translations. You can feel it in the clubs, concert halls, and warehouses of this city every weekend.  Memphians unite across racial and social divides to to rock, groove, move and bounce to powerful sounds that echo with individualism, hope and creativity. Memphis Means Music.

Once again, Memphis can take the lead.  While the music industry business model is feeling the upheaval of social networks and internet music sales, the raw talent means Memphis is positioned to become a contemporary music capital. In the new music market, artists garner more control to mold their own careers, perfect their craft and find success on their own terms. Musicians and artists are becoming entrepreneurs operating their own small businesses.  Instead of waiting for their big break, artist can grab the industry by the horns, and make the world take notice.

To help them prepare for this new world, they need leadership training, marketing and promotional opportunities, and strategies for growth, exposure and capital investment. The Memphis Music Foundation exists to educate the music community about music business systems and trends, help artists develop plans for future business growth, and create dynamic marketing and promotional opportunities for Memphis music. The Memphis Music Foundation is creating solutions to the obstacles and challenges facing Memphis’s independent music industry.

We believe that Music Means Business and if properly supported music can make a substantial contribution to growing the Memphis economy. We are dedicated to supporting, assisting and encouraging the creativity, entrepreneurship and spirit of innovation that is alive and well in today’s Memphis music community. The Music Foundation is bringing together business, government and the music community in Memphis to help place Memphis’s talent firmly on the road to success in a highly-competitive, international market.

Supporting the Memphis Music Foundation is an investment in the entrepreneurs around the city whose business is music. The Foundation’s anchor program, the Memphis Music Resource Center is an interactive, living library and workspace that offers a dedicated staff, tools and resources to help area musicians and music professionals be successful in the ever-changing music industry. Other programs present unique, innovative options for business planning, marketing, networking and mentoring. We also partner with organizations throughout the city to create education program elements that complement existing music events and increase the use of Memphis music at local events.

The Memphis Music Foundation is supported by public and private funds and is a part of the Memphis Economic Development (MemphisED) Plan, designed to ensure that Memphis/Shelby County has a strong and diverse economy. The Foundation also depends on donations from individuals, corporations, and private foundations.

Our History

In 2003, The Memphis Music Foundation was founded to assist the Memphis Shelby County Music Commission, a division of City and County government. The Commission partnered with the University of Memphis to create the Get Loud, survey of the music industry. It documented music’s careers, income, economic contribution to the city and talked with artists and industry about the needs to help the community move forward. Get Loud resulted in a strategic plan to help redevelop Memphis’s music industry into a powerful economic engine in the city once again.

As the plan was being implemented, it was determined that the Commission and Foundation needed to be focused on different strategies to advance Memphis’s music industry. In 2007, the groups split to pursue objectives within their areas of resources and expertise. The Music Commission was eager to move within the functions of government to promote music through advocacy, PILOT programs, and historical designations, event sponsorship, and musician’s health insurance via the Memphis Church Health Center.

The Memphis Music Foundation, however, developed a detailed plan to support Memphis music. As a direct result of the Get Loud survey, it set out to educate, offer guidance, connect and publicize the local music community. The Foundation’s success will be measured and tracked by aggregate increased revenues for local artists and music professionals, and the creation of new jobs within the local music industry.