If you’ve been reading Now I’ve Heard Everything for a couple of years, you probably have noticed that a good number of the New York City based musicians covered here have moved out of the area. Misty Boyce and Harper Blynn moved to Los Angeles, Aaron Lee Tasjan and Michaela Anne moved to Nashville, and Kristin Diable moved to New Orleans. And the list goes on.
I’ve spent some time thinking about why New York City has a musical brain drain. I’ve also tried to come up with ideas that perhaps could minimize this outflow of talent. I’ve been told that perhaps if we treat music business the same way we treat television and movie production, particularly by giving music related businesses tax credits, we could create incentive for musicians to stay in New York City. I’m not sold on that idea.
But recent census data makes one thing clear: it’s not just musicians that are leaving New York; it’s everybody. Over 650,000 people have moved from New York State to someplace else in the U.S. between mid 2010 and mid 2015. In fact, New York State has gained population during that time only because of immigration and the number of births exceeding the number of deaths occurring here.
Therefore, the issue is not really how do you keep musicians from leaving New York. It’s bigger than that. The bottom line, it seems, is how do you keep New Yorkers from leaving New York.
But there is one bright spot in this data. Not only are people leaving New York City, so are bed bugs. According to Terminex’s list of bed bug infested cities, over the past year, Detroit is number 1, with New York City dropping from number 3 to number 15. And to those musicians who are still thinking about moving out to the coast, note that Los Angeles is 4th on the bed bug list.