Music Export Memphis was founded on two core beliefs.
About Music Export Memphis
First: music makes cities better. It drives economic development, it attracts new talent, it creates vibrant communities.
Second: musicians 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. And when they stay, our city – everyone in our city, not just those in the music community – stands to benefit.
Music Export Memphis creates opportunities for Memphis musicians to showcase their music outside the city, driving tourism, talent attraction and economic development, and giving artists a needed engine and platform to grow their careers and elevate Memphis’ profile as a contemporary music city.
Here are our four key areas of impact:
Elevate musicians. Elevate Memphis.
Our work elevates Memphis musicians’ careers, making Memphis a city of choice for musicians, artists and creatives, elevating our national and international brand as a contemporary music city.
In 2018, Music Export Memphis paid out more than $15,000 to Memphis musicians across all of our programs (Ambassador grants, Experiences and our Export Bank opportunities). Our goal is to double that figure in 2019.
Since our work began in 2016, artists showcasing at our Experiences have been featured in leading national music media including NPR, Paste Magazine, American Songwriter and No Depression.
Since the launch of our Ambassador grants in July of 2018, MEM has awarded more than $10,000 in grants to Memphis artists for doing what they already do so well: tour the world, play great music and rep our city. Ambassador grants are unrestricted, and our artists have spent their funds on everything from filling the gas tank to renting a van to booking a hotel room.
Our Highlight Reel
Our day-long Memphis parties at music festivals and conferences like SXSW and AmericanaFest put the best of Memphis on display, and use live music as a centerpiece – augmented by Memphis cuisine, craft beer, culture and kitsch – to start a conversation about the Bluff City as a vibrant, exciting place to plant roots. Sometimes, we create experiences within the framework of an existing opportunity like SXSW, AmericanaFest or Folk Alliance. Other times, we’ll create more bespoke experiences for audiences from 1 to 1,000 – in August 2017, our songwriters’ exchange gave two emerging Memphis artists the chance to pair with two Liverpool artists for a two-week intensive experience on both sides of the ocean.
Our export bank helps companies and organizations hosting Memphis-centric events across the U.S. include live Memphis music in their recruitment of talent to the city.
We know that artists living in Memphis are already touring the country - sometimes the world - and sharing the Memphis music story. So why not mobilize them as paid brand ambassadors? Artists approved for the Ambassador grant receive content creation support to tell their own Memphis story, and unrestricted funds based on the amount of dates they’re playing and geographic reach. There is no better way to elevate Memphis than through their authentic voices and stories.