(AllHipHopNews) There’s good news for Detroit, the city home to rappers Eminem, Big Sean, Royce Da 5’9″, Danny Brown, Doughboyz Cashout, and many more can now boast that music is once again one of its largest industries, due in part to a strong independent rap scene.
Despite a bankruptcy filing by the local city government, a study conducted for the business journal, Crain’s Detroit Business by Anderson Economic Group LLC, inventoried the number and types of music businesses and employees in Southeast Michigan found about 6,000 people employed in the local industry, earning a total $162.5 million in 2012. The number of establishments in the industry came out to be 486, with an average of 12 workers per establishment and total sales volume of $1.15 billion.
In addition to recording studios, the team also looked at bars and restaurants that host live music and music education. The biggest business category by employment size was by far the music venue category, with 3,500 workers, followed by music schools, which had 800 employees. Music supply stores and the artists themselves were other categories with substantial representations.
Howard Hertz, known as metro Detroit’s go-to lawyer for music industry matters, said the number sounded right. “We should shoot to double and triple it,” he said, through more concerted promotion efforts. Hertz and others said artists aren’t lacking for most of the resources they need — such as studios and talent — in metro Detroit. “Agents and major labels are scarce here, though,” he said.
Patrick Anderson, CEO of AEG also thinks the value of the industry is also driven by the value of the area’s brand — something that’s easy to forget about. “Music is part of Detroit’s brand. It’s easy for us here in Michigan to forget, but if you go to Europe or Asia and have a Detroit D on your shirt, they have a recognition that’s sometimes deeper than we have.”
The local industry is larger still, considering the large underground hip-hop scene that wouldn’t make appearances in most federal data, said Tom Gelardi, a marketing and promotions representative for Detroit rap artists. The scene supports independent retailers in Detroit such as Shantinique Music and Damon’s Record Center that still do good business despite the national near-obliteration of independent record stores since 2001.