Music Export MEM presents The Memphis Picnic at SXSW 2017

Music Export Memphis presents: The Memphis Picnic

Brush Square Park East Tent // March 14 // 3 to 7 PM
Open to all SXSW badge holders

The Memphis Picnic at SXSW 2017 will bring a taste of Memphis music, food and culture to Brush Square Park on Tuesday, March 14 from 3 to 7 PM. Enjoy a line-up of the best in contemporary Memphis music – from blues to Americana to R&B and alternative – plus Gus’s Fried Chicken, swag from I Love Memphis and New Memphis Institute, a photo opp you’ll never forget in the Amurica photo trailer and enter to win a trip for two to Memphis courtesy of the Memphis Convention & Visitors’ Bureau. The Memphis Picnic is hosted by Music Export Memphis – whose mission is to create showcasing opportunities for Memphis musicians around the world to drive talent attraction, business development and the music tourism economy – with co-hosts StartCo and EPICenter, two organizations whose work is at the heart of Memphis’ thriving entrepreneurial and start-up community.

Emi Secrest
Chris Milam
Marcella & Her Lovers
Dead Soldiers
Southern Avenue

Music Export Memphis partners with Sound Diplomacy to bring Music Cities Convention to Memphis in 2017


Conference to focus on equity, access in Music Cities

(MEMPHIS, TN) – Music Export Memphis is excited to announce a partnership with London music policy consultancy Sound Diplomacy that will bring the Music Cities Convention to the Bluff City in 2017.

The convention, launched in 2015 at the Great Escape Festival in Brighton, UK, will convene twice in 2017: first in Berlin in April, followed by its Memphis iteration in October. The formal title for the Memphis event is Music Cities Convention Memphis: I’ll Take You There (Music, equity and access in cities).

The conference is being made possible by generous support from the Memphis Music Initiative and the Soulsville Foundation.

MMI Executive Director Darren Isom expressed the organization’s enthusiasm about plugging in to the growing international conversation around what makes a “Music City.”

“We are thrilled to help bring Music Cities Convention here to Memphis, one of America’s oldest and most important music cities,” Isom says. “And we are particularly excited that as we engage in the important conversation of ‘What makes a city a music city?’ the Memphis iteration of this conference will focus on issues related to equity, access and inclusion. These concepts are core to MMI’s mission and our work to create meaningful opportunities for minority youth to engage in quality music experiences in and outside of school. While Memphis’ musical legacy is world-renowned, our contemporary identity as a music city often goes unrecognized. We look forward to sharing this dynamic identity and our work here in Memphis with next year’s Music Cities Convention’s international attendees.”

Music Export Memphis will serve as the local partner to Sound Diplomacy in producing the 2017 event.

“Ever since I attended MCC in Washington, D.C., last fall, I’ve been working toward bringing the conference to Memphis,” says Music Export MEM founder Elizabeth Cawein. “I was truly energized after that experience, and particularly invigorated by my broadened understanding of what makes a Music City. With the energy in Memphis right now, I knew I wanted to bring this conversation here. I’m thrilled that the countdown is on to Music Cities Memphis.”

Cawein worked closely with the Memphis Convention and Visitors’ Bureau to land the conference.

“The Music Cities Convention is an example of the strength and importance of the Memphis brand know around the world, Memphis music,” says MCVB CEO Kevin Kane. “The economic value and brand recognition has sustained us for decades and will continue to serve us for many years to come.”

Shain Shapiro, CEO of Sound Diplomacy, called Memphis a natural fit for Music Cities Convention.

“Memphis is one of the world’s most interesting music cities,” he says. “American music history is framed on a few places and spaces, and many of those are in or around Memphis. It was a natural choice for us. Terrific heritage, amazing alternative scene, active industry and a willingness to facilitate a global discussion, Memphis makes sense. We’re thrilled to be bringing Music Cities Convention to town.”

The Convention will take place at a downtown location to be announced on October 26, 2017. It is expected to draw attendees and presenters from around the world, and convention activities will include visits to Memphis music sites.

Learn more about past Music Cities Convention events here.

Music Export Memphis is a not-for-profit initiative focused on exporting Memphis music to the world. By creating opportunities for Memphis musicians outside the city, Music Export MEM will drive impact in talent attraction, business development, tourism and the music economy. As we export one of our greatest assets, we’ll create invaluable national and international showcasing opportunities for our musicians (empowering them to be our city’s strongest ambassadors) and give outsiders a taste of the personality of the Bluff City designed to entice them in for a short trip or a long stay.

Sound Diplomacy is the leading global advisory on music cities strategies and market development. As strategists for cities, developers, large private sector organisations and governments, Sound Diplomacy provide cutting edge research and market expertise in placing music and music business strategy in city, urban and development plans.


Music Export Memphis launches with AmericanaFest showcase

New initiative to focus on exporting Bluff City’s sound

Beginning this fall, the Memphis sound is shipping out. Meet Music Export Memphis, a new initiative that will create opportunities for Memphis musicians across the U.S. and abroad as an export office for Memphis music.

Music Export Memphis will launch officially in September at AmericanaFest, the Americana Music Association’s week-long conference and festival in downtown Nashville. The Memphis Americana Picnic on Saturday, Sept. 24, will feature a line-up of Memphis Americana bands and give attendees a taste of the city’s beer, food and personality.

September’s showcase is both the culmination of 18 months of planning and the beginning of the real work of the initiative. In January of 2015, Memphis music publicist Elizabeth Cawein (Signal Flow PR) began to develop an idea. She was tired of attending music events across the country where she felt strongly that a Memphis presence was needed.

“To consistently see other cities marketing their music scenes and to consistently not see Memphis in the mix was frustrating,” Cawein says. “Primarily because I knew that none of these cities could hold a candle to what we have here.”

And so, the idea for Music Export Memphis began to take shape. Cawein approached the Greater Memphis Chamber with the concept because they seemed like a natural partner. She saw the initiative not just as a tool to promote contemporary Memphis music and music tourism, but having the potential to impact talent attraction, retention and business development efforts by presenting Memphis as a creative city with a vibrant, eclectic music community.

“Music Export Memphis will assist in our economic development efforts, using the sound of Memphis as we promote the great reasons to do business in the Bluff City,” says Greater Memphis Chamber President & CEO Phil Trenary. “This initiative will also be a vital tool in our efforts to recruit and retain talent who desire to live in creative cities.”

Music Export Memphis’ tactic toward that end is singular: to create opportunities for Memphis musicians outside the city. Festival showcases, like the inaugural event at AmericanaFest, made sense as a core element of the strategy because of the opportunity they present to create Memphis “experiences” alongside the music. Cawein hopes there will be evidence to support expanding the number of showcases presented year on year, and to explore more targeted opportunities, like international artist exchanges.

“By exporting one of our greatest assets, we’ll create invaluable national and international showcasing opportunities for our musicians, empowering them to be our city’s best ambassadors,” Cawein says. “We’ll also give outsiders a taste of the personality of the Bluff City designed to entice them in for a short trip (tourism) or a long stay (talent attraction and business development).”

Music Export Memphis launches with significant support from the Chamber and the Memphis Convention & Visitors’ Bureau. For more than 25 years, the CVB has marketed Memphis around the world using music as a centerpiece of the city’s story, making them an essential partner in any effort to showcase Memphis music globally.

“Memphis Musicians have always been instrumental in showcasing the Memphis brand around the world,” says MCVB President and CEO Kevin Kane. “Today’s active and touring musicians as well as the legacy of so many others that came before, help keep Memphis in the minds of potential visitors. The Music Export Memphis event is another effort to help us not only support Memphis Musicians but accomplish our goal of marketing Memphis to potential visitors.”

The Americana Picnic will take place at The Filming Station at 501 8th Avenue South from noon to 6 p.m. on Sept. 24, and will be open to AmericanaFest badge and wristband holders. Attendees will enjoy a taste of Memphis food and beer, giveaways from I Love Memphis and have a chance to experience the Amurica photobooth.

If you can’t make it, you’re in luck – Memphis’ own internationally syndicated radio program Beale Street Caravan will record the showcase for broadcast at a later date.

To learn more about future projects of Music Export Memphis, follow @MusicExportMEM on Facebook or Twitter.