20 Reasons Why Atlanta is America’s Music Capital

Nashville, NYC, LA, Austin—bless your heart

May 2018

Atlanta is the best city for music
Migos

Illustration by Alex Fine

Atlanta is the best city for music. It’s a bold claim, we know. But we’re tired of reflexively stepping aside, obscuring our greatness in a show of Southern hospitality. It’s not that we don’t appreciate what New York City, Los Angeles, Nashville, and Austin have to offer. We hear them when they tell us their cities are the best, the coolest, the most cutting edge. But, bless their hearts, we know better.

Check out the Billboard 100. You’ll see singers, songwriters, producers, and engineers who either hail from Atlanta or moved here because they know what’s undeniably true: Atlanta is America’s music capital.

We don’t follow trends; we set them. Why is our city the perfect place to nurture talent? It’s not just the warm weather, or the fact that our houses actually have garages for garage bands to play in. Our studios are home to some of the most innovative behind-the-scenes badasses in the business. Our festivals rock. Our artists are mentors and entrepreneurs. Our colleges are revolutionizing the way music is made. We enjoy a unique intersection of cultures.

We’re singers, players, writers, creators. We’re DIY. We’re different. And we’re the best. Here are 20 reasons why.

Edited by Christine Van Dusen with contributions from Mustafa Abubaker, Jerry Grillo, Christina Lee, Allison McCallum, Austin L. Ray, Betsy Riley, Mara Shalhoup, Thomas Wheatley, and Jewel Wicker

  1. We are trap
  2. We are Migos
  3. We mentor new talent
  4. We have a chokehold on the charts
  5. We might have perfected the hip-hop beef
  6. We get outdoors
  7. We have one of the country’s best punk bands
  8. We are the future, and the future is female
  9. All roads lead to Outkast
  10. We are a cappella nerds
  11. We have radio
  12. We use MARTA
  13. Our garages aren’t just for bands—they can be for makers, too
  14. We build beats
  15. We write music
  16. We are home, sweet home
  17. We have musicians who feed us
  18. We lift voices
  19. We have tech, and we have Tech
  20. We give back