Why is Nashville, Tennessee called Music City?

Nashville, Tennessee is a city renowned for its exquisite cuisine, beautiful scenery, and exciting nightlife in the downtown area, as well as for its performing arts and entertainment. It is a city with the best music, songwriting clubs, talent shows, well-known venues, and stunning performances. Nashville offers both historical and contemporary musical attractions. 

The Nickname’s Etymology and Musical History

Fiddle playing was something that Tennessee has long been recognized for. The interest in fiddle playing among the earliest inhabitants of Nashville dates to the 1770s. As time went on, the local music scene grew. And in 1871, the African-American chorale named Fisk Jubilee Singers was established. According to legend, Queen Victoria of England was moved by the Fisk Jubilee Singers’ performance in 1873 and remarked, “They are from a music city.” But according to the 2015 interview with Dr. Paul T. Kwami1, the longstanding Musical Director of the Fisk Jubilee Singers, David Cobb, a radio announcer, gave Nashville the moniker when he referred to it as “Music City, USA” on his WSM radio program in 1950. But, regardless of who started it, the location has proven that it is certainly worthy of the nickname. 

Broadway in downtown Nashville

The Musical Genres

While Nashville has long been known as the country music capital, it is now a center for a diverse range of musical genres, including Christian Gospel music (in which Nashville is noted as the world’s top producer of Christian Music), jazz, blues, bluegrass, R&B, hip-hop, heavy metal, classical, and others that are blending in perfect harmony. One of the notable shifts in the entire music business was the emergence of the Nashville Sound, a style of American country music. Smooth tempos, silky voices, and strings are all hallmarks of the Nashville sound, which was linked with classic pop music.

The Musical Venues

And, because Nashville is known as “Music City,” here are some of the numerous iconic music venues to choose from, including outdoor amphitheaters, indoor stadiums, and arenas. These places host concerts and other stunning musical performances by local, national, and world-renowned artists.

1. Nashville Palace

It was first established in 1977. Classic country artists perform here. 

2. Grand Ole Opry House

The Grand Ole Opry started out as a one-hour radio “barn dance” on WSM in 1925. In 1974, it was transferred to the Opry House.

3. Emerson Hall

This is a wedding and event venue. This contemporary and attractive space was built in the mid-20th century. It was originally a church and was restored in 2021.

4. Ryman Auditorium

contemporary and gothic revival-inspired auditorium in dark orange color

The 2,362-seat venue had hosted diverse concerts since 1892. Internationally known as  the “Mother Church of Country Music.”


Live music is available at this large, multi-purpose performance space that has been around since 1971.

Nashville’s Top Recording Studios

The local recording industry has gained international acclaim and generated billions of dollars for the local economy. According to the commerce study, Nashville generates $1 billion in revenue per year,2 owing to the city’s top-notch tracking, editing, and mastering studios. The following are some of the music recording and production centers in Nashville:

1. RCA Studio B

The studio, which RCA Victor built in 1956, is renowned for helping to create the “Nashville sound” and for having recorded some legends of country music.

2. Ocean Way Recording Studios

This recording studio, which opened in 1996, is housed in a 100-year-old Gothic revival greystone church.

3. Blackbird Studio

This was established in 2002, and as of this writing, it houses a complex with nine recording studios and a post-secondary audio engineering school.

4. Studio 19

It was founded in 1964 under the name Music City Recorders and relocated in 2015.

Nashville’s Music Pioneers

Music has evolved over the years.  To appeal to changing times and generations, artists and record producers have become more open to genre mashups. Electronic textures was added to the pioneering fiddle and strings. 

Listed below are a few of Nashville’s early musical pioneers who worked tirelessly to establish the city as a major musical hub. Future developments in music were influenced by their contributions.

1. Elvis Presley

He was dubbed the “King of Rock and Roll,” and he recorded 35 songs in just five days. This session became known as the “Nashville Marathon Session.” 

He was an active singer from 1953 until 1977.

2. Eddy Arnold

He was a pioneer of the Nashville sound in the 1950s and had 147 songs that reached the top 100 on the Billboard country music chart.

He started his musical career in 1937 to 2005.

3. Ferlin Husky

One of his songs was the first country single to reach the pop Top 10 during the Nashville Sound era.

He has been in the music industry for 66 years starting in 1945.

4. Hank Williams

One of the biggest country music performers. He had 12 singles that peaked at number one among his 55 that made it to the top 10 of the Billboard Country and Western Best Sellers Chart.

This multi-genre performer was active from 1937 until 1952. 

5. Chet Atkins

He was Mr. Guitar and The Country Gentleman, a successful head of a record label. He was a key figure in creating the Nashville sound.

He was a performer from 1942 until 1996. 

6. Patsy Cline

She served as the Nashville sound’s core feature. She contributed to the development of the country music genre. 

She had a 15-year stint in the music industry that started in 1948. 

Major Annual Music Event and Festivals

Apart from boosting the economy and fostering community pride, these events are held to showcase the city’s heritage to the rest of the world. 

1. Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville Marathon

Every April, runners from all over the world take part in a marathon through the streets of the Music City.

2. Rites of Spring Music Festival

This two-day music festival is hosted every year in Alumni Hall on the Vanderbilt University campus.

3. CMA Music Festival 

This four-day event is held every June. This is Nashville’s longest-running country music festival.

4. Live on the Green Music Festival

A five-day free outdoor concert series held in August and September.

5. Celebrate Nashville Cultural Festival

It showcases the city’s diversity and is held on the first Saturday of October.

6. Country Music Association Awards

This is a program honoring the accomplishments of country music performers.

Current Statistics

Nashville is presently the best city for music aficionados of all genres, with about 180 recording studios, 130 music publishers, 100 live music venues, and 80 record labels.


Nashville is a melting pot of art, culture, and history. And in this city, the value of its musical heritage is recognized, and music-related events are highlighted as important aspects of its cultural activities. That makes Nashville the Music City.  


1 https://youtube.com/watch?v=KOkaSOu0Ph0 

2 www.city-data.com/us-cities/The-South/Nashville-Economy.html