Thursday, December 15, 2022

North Carolina Launches Music Friendly Communities Pilot Program

Dec 15, 2022

The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources is partnering with Hometown Strong and consultancy firm Sound Diplomacy to develop the North Carolina Music Friendly Communities program. Three North Carolina cities have been chosen to participate during the pilot program’s first year – Durham, Shelby and Elizabeth City. 

The Music Friendly Communities program is currently working with these three pilot cities to develop strategies that will help strengthen their music-based economies. In each of the cities, local partners will establish a committee to steer the program work, inventory local assets such as live music venues and music education programs, engage stakeholders, review relevant policies, and identify key recommendations for the most effective and impactful ways to support the local music economy. Sound Diplomacy, an international music policy consultancy and global expert in developing long-term and sustainable music strategies for cities, will help guide each community’s work. 

The goal is for each city to be designated a North Carolina Music Friendly Community, certifying their commitment to support and develop the local music industry to boost job creation, tourism, and economic growth. They will join a global community of cities that work to promote and celebrate the music industry as part of their unique local culture and economy. 

“Music is universal in North Carolina, regardless of where you live in the state,” said Mary Penny Kelley, director of North Carolina Hometown Strong. “A vibrant music industry can support job creation, attract culturally diverse talent, and enhance tourism across the state. The Music Friendly Communities Program aims to help North Carolina communities leverage their music-related assets for continued economic expansion.”

The pilot program builds on the work of DNCR’s Come Hear NC program, established in 2019 to celebrate, support, and help sustain North Carolinians’ groundbreaking contributions to American music. Over 40,000 North Carolinians currently work in the music industry, and countless more enjoy the art that comes from that work. 

About Hometown Strong
Hometown Strong, Governor Roy Cooper’s rural initiative, engages with small towns and communities in all 80 rural counties across the state. Hometown Strong creates a partnership between state agencies and local leaders to champion rural communities. The initiative leverages state and local resources, identifies ongoing projects and community needs, and implements focused plans to boost the economy, improve infrastructure and strengthen NC’s rural hometowns.

About Sound Diplomacy
Sound Diplomacy is a global research and strategy consultancy, committed to building and supporting sustainable ecosystems that bring economic development to people, places and cities. We provide research and recommendations to businesses and policymakers to help them make informed decisions on the best use of places and how to stimulate economic, social and cultural growth. Learn more at