Alaska Trends


ne for the money, two for the show, three to get ready, now go census go!

The importance of music to Alaska’s economy and culture has long been assumed, but nobody tried to quantify it until last year. Vanessa Orr’s article “Alaska Music Census: The bottom line of show business” explains why the Alaska Independent Musicians Initiative sought to gather the data and how the nonprofit hopes to use the findings.

So far, numbers have been crunched for Anchorage and Juneau in a report published last October by global consulting firm Sound Diplomacy. This edition of Alaska Trends illustrates some of those findings. To understand the enumeration of “music assets,” the report defines the five “links” in the “music ecosystem value chain.” Those are: creation (music makers themselves), distribution (broadcast and sale of recorded music), exhibition (everyone involved in performance spaces), production (local recording and sound publishing), and transversal (business affairs and support services).

The report notes that Juneau’s music scene has a bigger impact per capita than Anchorage’s, if only because the capital city has fewer capitas. However, Anchorage weathered the COVID-19 pandemic better, losing 29 percent of economic output while Juneau decreased 58 percent.

The report recommends creating an independent music office (like the erstwhile Alaska Film Office), establishing a cultural funding agency akin to the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation, offering financial incentives for recording and production, launching a Music Entrepreneurship Accelerator, and partnering with tourism to develop Alaska’s musical brand.

Some of those aspirations might be more realistic than others, but then again, there’s always an aspect of dreamweaving when musicians sing for their supper.

Source: Music Strategy in Alaskan Communities – Sound Diplomacy Report 2023
Bar graph chart with the tile Music Ecosystem Total Employment showing two charts Music Employment and Percentage of Local Employment between anchorage and juneau
Inforgraphic of a large record with Anchorage and 232 music assets written on it. Five music icons with different colors extend to illustrate different amounts.
Inforgraphic of a large record with Juneau and 72 music assets written on it. Five music icons with different colors extend to illustrate different amounts.