June is already unofficially music month in New York City, but now the mayor's office has declared it five boroughs under one groove, with tons of ways to hear local artists and get inspired to make your own tunes.
Throughout June, the first-ever New York Music Month celebrates the history and importance that getting into the groove has had on the city’s culture and economy, with 30 days of free and ticketed events for both fans and musicians.
“June already has all these incredible music events, starting with Governors Ball this weekend, and it’s the start of Celebrate Brooklyn and SummerStage,” says Justin Kalifowitz of the advocacy group NY Is Music, which co-created Music Month with the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment.
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“Music Month ties in with all the great city programming, but also has original programming; not only concerts, but events teaching musicians about resources, too.”
For the public, there are music-related exhibits at the Museum of the City of New York and the Rubin Museum of Art, and a music-focused stroll of the city. “The walking tours help New Yorkers understand what a musical breeding ground the city was, and is,” Kalifowitz says.
NYC-based musicians, meanwhile, get some much-needed resources, including 2,000 hours of free rehearsal space donated by the community development agency SpaceWorks.
Despite the loss of smaller music venues and the ongoing fight over enforcement of the city’s archaic cabaret license law, Kalifowitz doesn’t see an ailing industry — quite the opposite. “The size and scale is staggering: A study found the city’s music industry generates over $20 billion in output and $5 billion in wages.”
Still, there are problems.
“The live music business is very healthy,” Kalifowitz says. “The music tech businesses is going strong, but a broader view of the business shows some weak areas: The recording industry, for instance — relative to Los Angeles or Nashville, it isn’t as healthy as it once was.”
Besides drumming up new fans with events like Music Month, NY Is Music is also working behind the scenes to support the industry, currently lobbying for a tax credit to help recording artists.
“The music community had no formal engagement with the city before,” says Kalifowitz. “NY Is Music has been advocating for dialog between the industry and officials for a long time.
“It is very challenging for songwriters and musicians to wake up every morning and do what they do in this city,” he adds. “We need to celebrate what they do and support them.”