Two Tall Twins
Two Tall Twins

Is Pittsburgh’s music scene making enough noise?

Last fall, the city’s Office of Nighttime Economy joined forces with the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership and 91.3 WYEP to form the Pittsburgh Music Ecosystem Project. With guidance from Sound Music Cities founder Don Pitts, an Austin, Texas-based advisor, the group will study the city’s after-dark music offerings.

Don Pitts founded Sound Music Cities, LLC to help cities across the U.S. reinvigorate or grow their music economies.

“We announced the project last October and since then, Don has made three trips to Pittsburgh and conducted more than 80 one-on-one meetings and focus groups with city officials, music industry professionals, musicians and venue operators,” explains Abby Goldstein, WYEP’s general manager.

Earlier this month, project leaders launched the Pittsburgh Music and Nightlife Industry Audit, an in-depth, online survey designed specifically for full- and part-time entertainment industry professionals.

This group includes musicians, artist managers, agents, studios, audio engineers, DJs, music retailers and equipment manufacturers, as well as event production services, producers and employees of local bars and nightclubs.

The survey, which is anonymous and takes about 10 minutes to complete, is available at through March 31.

The data collected will help Pitts, who conducted the 2015 Austin Music Census, establish a benchmark to support regulatory changes and make recommendations for best practices in things like sound ordinances, complaint mediation and music tourism. It will also gauge impact down the road.

Pitts, who was hired with support from The Heinz Endowments and the Henry L. Hillman Foundation, will present his final report in June.

What has he gleaned from his research so far?

“We’ve learned that there is a greater sense of urgency on the key issues, and also a greater commitment from respondents who are in it to win it,” he says. “Very little apathy, which gives us all something to build from.”

Kristy Locklin

Kristy Locklin is a North Hills-based writer. When she's not busy reporting, she enjoys watching horror movies and exploring Pittsburgh's craft beer scene.