While the goals of Nashville’s top three music trade groups are closely aligned, each has issues and objectives specific to its genre. The Country Music Association, Americana Music Association, and International Bluegrass Music Association work tirelessly to promote the music they represent to consumers and the industry.
A recent poll on MusicRow.com posed the following question: “Would Music City would be better off if the CMA, AMA and IBMA merged and became one large trade organization?” Our readers responded with an overwhelming “no.” The results were 77 percent “No,” and 23 percent “Yes.” The feeling is shared by the leaders of the three groups.
IBMA leader Dan Hays explains, “As genres of music…Bluegrass, Americana and Country music have important and interrelated connections with one another, but they’re three distinct communities. Each of the organizations listed, functions as the ‘chamber of commerce’ for their community and each has its own unique culture, economic climate and professional development needs. I believe both Music City and the music industry around the world benefit from having healthy organizations devoted to each. We work together with AMA and CMA whenever mutual opportunities arise (in addition to many other music trades), but having ‘one large trade organization’ would be akin to suggesting one Chamber of Commerce to serve New York, L.A. and Nashville.”
“While there are some artists and industry employees whose work crosses between them, Country, Bluegrass and Americana are three distinct genres of music,” agrees CMA CEO Tammy Genovese. “Each format is better served by having a specific trade association to represent them and their unique needs instead of one combined organization. However, we highly respect both the other organizations and all that they do.”
“I think the missions of each of these three organizations are very different as are the expectations of their respective memberships,” says Jed Hilly, Executive Director of the AMA. “While I believe in change and in collaboration, I don’t believe such a merger into one large trade association would make sense. As far as Nashville goes, the IBMA feels like a brother, CMA a cousin, but today, the cute girl at school is the NSO, and I am looking forward to that first date!”
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