Hickenlooper, Blackburn Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Increase Music Tourism

Article Contributed by Youth on Record | Published on Thursday, May 2, 2024

Today, U.S. Senators John Hickenlooper and Marsha Blackburn introduced the bipartisan American Music Tourism Act to support and increase music tourism by requiring the Commerce Department to implement a plan to increase and attract domestic and international visitors to venues nationwide.

“Music venues are keepers of our culture. From Red Rocks to the Grand Ole Opry, and hundreds of small venues across our country, millions visit Colorado and all our states to hear world class musicians and connect with each other,” said Senator Hickenlooper. “Our bipartisan American Music Tourism Act will support these venues by helping our music tourism industry grow and expand.”

“Tennesseans know a thing or two about the positive impact that music tourism has on the economy and culture,” said Senator Blackburn. “The Volunteer State is proud to be home to so many iconic musical landmarks for tourists to enjoy – from Graceland in Memphis to the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, and the Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Bristol. This bipartisan legislation promotes music tourism’s fast-growing industry and ensures fans from all over the world can celebrate the rich history of music for generations to come.”

Music tourism is projected to bring in over $11.3 billion in revenue nationwide by 2032. The United States boasts one of the world’s largest music industries that generates over $43 billion in revenue each year and is one of the main beneficiaries of this international interest in music tourism.

Specifically, the bipartisan legislation would:

    Require the Commerce Department’s Assistant Secretary for Travel and Tourism to implement a plan to support and increase music tourism for both domestic and international visitors.
    Require a report to Congress on the findings and achievements of the Assistant Secretary’s efforts to promote travel and tourism.

This legislation is supported by the Colorado Creative Industries of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, Denver Arts & Venues, the Recording Academy, the Recording Industry Association of America, Live Nation Entertainment, the National Independent Venues Association, the Nashville Songwriter’s Association International, Colorado Music Hall of Fame, Colorado Chamber Players, Youth on Record, Underground Music Showcase, Jazz Aspen Snowmass, Swallow Hill Music, and eTown Music.

“Colorado Creative Industries in the Office of Economic Development and International Trade at the State of Colorado recognizes the critical, far-reaching impacts the music industry contributes to Colorado’s creative economy, to our lifestyle and to our wellbeing. Music industry tourism contributes to our thriving music scene, supporting our music workers and concert venues. The American Music Tourism Act elevates Colorado’s music industry with increased investments that will highlight and promote the transformative work of musicians, technicians, promoters and venues across Colorado and throughout the United States,” said Josh Blanchard, Director, Colorado Creative Industries, Colorado’s state art agency.

“The American Tourism Act is music to the proverbial ears of venues and cultural facilities nationwide. The visits by cultural tourists drive ticket sales, hotel stays, food and beverage spending and dollars spread across the transportation sector. Any effort to extend this sector of the arts economy is welcomed and worthwhile,” said Gretchen Hollrah, Executive Director, Denver Arts & Venues.

“The Recording Academy is pleased to support the American Music Tourism Act and applauds Senators Blackburn and Hickenlooper for their continued dedication to lifting up the music community. Music has long played an important role in our economy and culture. This bill will amplify the music community’s contributions to economic growth and increase understanding of music’s impact on the U.S. and the world,” said Todd Dupler, Chief Advocacy and Public Policy Officer of the Recording Academy.

“From the historic Grand Ole Opry to the legendary Telluride Bluegrass Festival, America’s music story comes alive at iconic venues and landmarks all across the country. We applaud Senators Blackburn and Hickenlooper for introducing the American Music Tourism Act, which will encourage even more music fans to experience the rich legacy of American music firsthand,” said Mitch Glazier, Chairman & CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America.

“From rural communities to city centers, independent stages attract investment and visitors for the artists and professionals that put on shows and the restaurants, retail, and attractions around them. The American Music Tourism Act finally recognizes music tourism as a catalyst for economic development and ensures its growth is a national priority. We applaud Senators Marsha Blackburn and John Hickenlooper for aligning the nation’s tourism strategy with the venues and festivals across our country that the world travels to experience,” said Stephen Parker, Executive Director of the National Independent Venue Association.

“As the executive leadership of Colorado Music Hall of Fame, we wholeheartedly support the proposed American Music Tourism Act!” said Karen Radman, Executive Director, Colorado Music Hall of Fame.

“This legislation has the potential of bringing additional focus and intention to Music Tourism in ways that could benefit the broader ecosystem, including providing much needed resources for independent venues and mission-based music festivals,” said Jami Duffy, Executive Director, Youth on Record and Co-Manager, Underground Music Showcase.

“Our organization would not be able to survive and thrive as we have through decades without the reality of Music Tourism. Yet it remains a fact that this kind of organized government support is irreplaceable going forward. The Music Industry needs this support now. We applaud Senators Hickenlooper’s and Blackburn’s leadership in marshaling this bill through to its hopeful adoption,” said James Horowitz, CEO & Founder, Jazz Aspen Snowmass.

“Music tourism is critical to the economic vitality of many states, including Colorado. Our businesses create meaningful experiences that are highly valued by people – so much so that people are willing to travel all over the United States to see their favorite band, or one that is new to them. This generates income from hotels, restaurants, and airlines, among multitudes of other revenue generation. Recent studies have shown that music tourism is forecasted to reach $11.3 billion by 2032. The American Music Tourism Act would build on existing framework, and further promote music tourism,” said Jessy Clark, CEO, Swallow Hill Music.