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Future Office of Music, Film and Entertainment stirs debate among city leaders

Nashville Skyline
Posted at 6:05 PM, Jun 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-13 20:15:05-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — As Nashville continues to grow and evolve, it's becoming known for more than just music. Now, city leaders are hoping to capitalize on that.

In his recent budget proposal, Mayor John Cooper announced efforts to create an Office of Music, Film and Entertainment.

Metro Council Member Joy Styles said the office could open a new door to Nashville's future.

"Of course everyone knows us as Music City USA for our songwriters and for music, but we have film companies, television production companies, we're doing documentaries, there's video gaming that's being done here, virtual reality," she said.

But Styles argued that a 15-member commission is needed to oversee that office.

"So the way that I'm proposing is that six members would be appointed by council, four by the mayor, and then five by the general industry, and out of that remaining five, one would be a representative from the unions," said Styles.

Council Member Robert Swope has other ideas.

"It's layer upon layer of political hierarchy that historically has failed every single chance that it's had," said Swope.

Instead, he suggests something else under the Chamber of Commerce or Convention & Visitors Corporation. He calls it the Nashville Entertainment Industry Office.

"First off, you should never plant this office in the mayor's office," said Swope. "Case in point, we've been through three mayors in the past four years. There is zero continuity in this."

His commission would be a board of nine professionals in the financing and distribution of TV and film.

"It's not about bringing the next single movie to Nashville just because we could do it, right? Wrong," said Swope. "It's about how do you bring studios to Nashville knowing full well that they're interested in what they're going to release two years from now."

Despite their difference of opinions, they both agree — Nashville has missed out on entertainment opportunities in the past.

"I think people should want to support this because it's more money coming into town and entertainment," Styles said. "As we all know in this city, it's a big revenue generator."

Now, the opportunity could mean big business — and big money — for Nashville's future.

"The proper support of this entire industry will bring, and has consistently brought, hundreds of millions of dollars to our city," said Swope. "Which, now we don't have to tax the taxpayer to achieve the same core services that it's our job to provide: garbage collection, roads, transportation, sewer, the whole nine yards."