Music Export Memphis is an export office for Memphis music.

Modeled after an international music export office, Music Export Memphis creates opportunities for Memphis musicians to showcase outside the city, driving talent attraction, music tourism and economic development, and giving artists needed national and international platforms to advance their work.

We do this three ways: experiencesambassadors and the export bank.

Music Export Memphis was founded by Elizabeth Cawein in 2015.

The backstory

We believe music is a key driver of economic development. A thriving music scene can boost a local economy, but it also plays a role in attracting new talent to a city. As we like to say, who needs a recruiter when you’ve got a rhythm section? Our initiative launched at AmericanaFest 2016 in Nashville with an experience: we hosted a Memphis Americana day party featuring a line-up of six Memphis bands, plus Memphis craft beer, Memphis food and lots of Memphis culture courtesy of I Love Memphis and the Amurica photo trailer. The event attracted several hundred music fans and earned Memphis musicians media attention from Paste Magazine, American Songwriter and No Depression, just to name a few.

Simultaneously, we believe that artists choose to live in cities where there are opportunities. In Memphis, we’re lucky to have an incredibly rich musical heritage and a low cost of living, two things that attract artists to move here. We believe that opportunities – like those available through Music Export Memphis – are a key element to keeping them here.

Our mission 

Music Export Memphis’ goals are to promote contemporary, original Memphis music and Memphis music tourism; to offer invaluable exposure for contemporary Memphis musicians on national and international stages; and to impact talent attraction and retention efforts by supporting the music community, retaining a creative class and those who desire to live in creative cities. More specifically, here are our four key areas of impact:


Our vision

Elevate musicians. Elevate Memphis.

Our work will elevate Memphis musicians’ careers, making Memphis a city of choice for musicians, artists and creatives, and elevating our national and international brand as a contemporary music city.

Who we serve

Music Export Memphis creates opportunities for musicians and artist entrepreneurs who reside in Memphis. More specifically, our board will use one or more of these criteria to determine artist eligibility:

  • The artist must reside in the Greater Memphis area, defined as Memphis + 25 miles
  • The artist must record music in Memphis
  • The artist must primarily record and perform original music
  • The artist must be either a permanent resident or a college student with secondary residence
  • For bands, a significant percentage of total band membership should meet residency requirements