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Music Drives These Marketing Plans

Detroit has Motown. Bristol has country. Nashville has, well, everything. For cities that are known for their sound, music becomes a major part of their marketing efforts.

Bristol’s slogan as the “birthplace of country music” isn’t just a catchy marketing ploy — “it’s true,” said Matt Bolas, executive director of the Bristol Convention and Visitors Bureau. The U.S. Congress even recognized the city as such for the 1927 Bristol recording sessions that introduced country music to the world.

The CVB launched about three years ago. Before the website, information about concerts, venues and festivals was scattered and not easy for visitors to find. Now, is a one-stop shop for all things music, including country, bluegrass, jazz and more.

This spring, the CVB will release an album that showcases new recordings of the original 1927 songs performed by artists such as Dolly Parton, Vince Gill and Emmylou Harris. The tribute CD, which national distributers are likely to pick up, will be a “huge marketing pull for us,” Bolas said.

Bolas said the CVB is also working with others to develop a Tennessee music trail from Bristol, where the Birthplace of Country Music Museum opened in August 2014, through Knoxville and Nashville to Beale Street in Memphis.

In 2007, when the Detroit Metro CVB was rebranding, the agency identified five key pillars of the city — cars, culture, gaming, sports and music — that are always featured in the CVB’s marketing efforts, said media relations manager Deanna Majchrzak.

The CVB launched its “America’s Great Comeback City” campaign in 2012 and, in 2013, released a video featuring Allen Rawls, CEO of the Motown Museum, talking about “Hitsville U.S.A.,” where the Temptations, the Supremes, the Four Tops and many Motown sensations recorded.

Today, the city is also a hub for jazz and electronic music. The Detroit Jazz Festival, now in its 36th year, features more than 100 acts every Labor Day weekend, and visitors can check out Movement, Detroit’s electronic music festival, on Memorial Day weekend.

The CVB hosted a media familiarization tour in October with the theme “Lowdown on Motown.” The itinerary included tours of the Motown Museum, the United Sound Systems Recording Studios and the Fox Theater, as well as a performance of “Motown the Musical.” On its website, the CVB has several itineraries, including one for Music Halls and Concert Venues.

In Nashville, country music has grown to encompass all kinds of music, and the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation produced a documentary to showcase the city’s evolution. “For the Love of Music: The Story of Nashville,” which first aired on ABC in 2013 and then again in 2014, will air before the 2015 CMA Awards. The award-winning documentary is also available at

“It allows us to showcase how Nashville became Music City and also the diversity of the music,” said Heather Middleton, vice president of public relations.

The CVC also produces a monthly songwriters show that airs on SiriusXM called “Music City Connections: Heroes Behind the Hits.” The show is a way to highlight Nashville songwriters as well as various venues around the city, she said.

Throughout the year, the CVC puts out seasonal “playlists” for spring, summer, fall, winter and the holidays that feature songs as well as things to do around town. The fall compilation, for example, might feature acts that will perform during the Americana Music Festival and Musicians Corner events, Middleton said.


Rachel Carter

Rachel Carter worked as a newspaper reporter for eight years and spent two years as an online news editor before launching her freelance career. She now writes for national meetings magazines and travel trade publications.