Elizabeth Cawein founded Music Export Memphis in 2015, four years after the launch of her successful music media firm Signal Flow PR and six years after her passion for music and economic development was first sparked.
The concept for Music Export Memphis grew from frustration — Elizabeth was tired of traveling to music festivals and conferences and not seeing her city represented — and innovation — she was learning from top music export offices around the world and felt that the concept could be scaled in a smart music city.
In 2016, with support from the Memphis Chamber of Commerce and the Convention & Visitors’ Bureau, Elizabeth produced the first-ever Memphis Americana Picnic at AmericanaFest in Nashville. The following spring, she took five bands — and a host of Memphis partners — to Austin for SXSW. Between the parties, she was busy landing the Music Cities Convention for Memphis in 2017 and organizing an international songwriting exchange with the city of Liverpool.
Elizabeth believes that music is a driver of economic development, and that artists want to live in cities that provide opportunities for them. That’s her vision for MEM: create opportunities for musicians to grow their fan bases (and their incomes) outside of the city and they’ll keep their roots and the talents inside the city, all while impacting talent attraction, economic development and tourism.
Elizabeth still works in PR and marketing with her roster of Signal Flow clients. She has taught at the Stax Music Academy and Visible Music College, and currently teaches music publicity as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Memphis School of Journalism. She moderated panels at SXSW in 2015 and 2016 and hosts a showcase at Folk Alliance International. In 2015 she was honored by the British Council at its inaugural Education UK Alumni Awards, celebrating outstanding U.S. alumni of British institutions, for her entrepreneurial work.