Musical tourism: 2 truly fantastic days at TIIM (Music Tourism & Industry)

TIIM Turismo Musical Tourism Valencia 2023

Musical tourism

As I mentioned in my earlier post, musical tourism is valued at over 11 billion dollars annually. I live in an area that depends highly on the tourist dollar. Altea is the gastronomic capital of the Marina Baixa, in the Alicante region. Altea also has a long history of visual art and resident artists.

When it comes to music, however, Altea lags behind.

I think it’s about time that changed! But, it’s not going to happen by accident. Maybe I can be the one to move such a project forward?

Not one to sit on my laurels, and ever a dreamer and schemer, I decided that a visit to the TIIM Musical Tourism Days would be a chance to learn, and to network. I was right on both counts! I found out about the Music Cities Network and other music tech initiatives that assist musicians, promoters, travel agencies, and ticketing agencies in enhancing their business profits and viability.

Altea is not that big, so I was inspired by the smaller music cities (like Aarhus in Denmark).

As the main talks were live-streamed, you can watch the replay of TIIM 2023 on YouTube. Here, I will give you a run-down of some of the people I met and the cool projects I encountered.

Music Cities Network

The non-profit network is a worldwide collaboration of cities seeking to enhance and develop their music ecosystems. Music Cities Network has ten member cities; the newest MCN member is our very own Valencia!

What is a music city?

What is a Music City?

Being a Music City is a concept
For example, it can be… :
A community of any size with a vibrant music economy
Beginning with artists and musicians
A home to a broad range of professionals who support artist- and music entrepreneurs in their career development.
Offering spaces for education, rehearsal, recording and performance
Fostering a live scene with an engaged and passionate audience that provides artists with a fertile ground for developing their craft.

Who’s Who in MCN

The network was founded in 2016 by various members. I was honored to meet a few:

Lena Ingwersen

Hailing from Hamburg, Lena is a DJ as well as founding member and Managing Director of Music Cities Network. She collaborates with Keychange, a movement fighting for a sustainable music industry, supporting underrepresented artists and urging organizations to pledge for gender equality. Lena and I chatted quite a few times. She seems super focused but really personable. I would love to hear her mix a set.

Debra King

This cool lady is the Director of Brighter Sound, a music development organization based in Manchester, Sector Lead at Manchester Music City, and wearer of some very funky boots.

Jesper Mardahl

Aardhus-based Jesper is a MCN founding member and was in attendance at the TIIM event. He is the Managing Director of Promus, the community and networking center for the music industry and musicians in Denmark. Jesper seems like the kind of guy who has seen it all and still gets a kick out of it.

Sjoerd Vriesma

Sjoerd, an artist development professional, collaborates in running Lake Woozoo studios in the Netherlands. Groningen is a member of the Music Cities Network. He seemed like a super cool dude, even though we only had a brief conversation. He invited me to join their team supper. Sadly I could not accept as I already had arrangements with my talented friend, Ana Higueras. Thanks anyway, Sjoerd! Next time.

The Valencia Team

There were a number of presenters and members of the public from our own backyard. Here are the ones that I was lucky enough to meet in person.


Paula Simó, PhD

Dr. Paula Simó is an expert in communication and strategy. She teaches at the University of Valencia in their Department of Tourism Studies. Her extensive research on the music city ecosystem in Valencia is evidenced by her numerous published academic papers. Congratulations to Paula! She played a vital role in making Valencia known as a music city and gaining recognition for its music ecosystem.

Beatriu Traver

The fabulous Beatriu Traver is a musicologist and art historian, and journalist and studio manager. She presented the final talk, about AI and the future of the music business. Beatriu is the manager of Banjo Soundscapes, a studio that excels in sonic branding and sonic strategy.


Oscar Carrió

Oscar is from Pedreguer. He has just launched Huming Pro, a Spanish-language SAAS program for the music industry. The app has loads of functionality and could bring real benefits to both artists and bookers. Oscar and I are meeting up next week, so watch out as there is more to follow.

Xavi Aspenbass

Xavi runs a music representation and booking agency called Xavi Aspenbass Produccions. We had a long and lovely talk about Neuromusic, my current focus.

Summing up

Was it a good way to spend two days? Yes! Was it well-organized and informative? Yes! Would I return next year? Absolutely.

What was the main takeaway: treat music like a business, not a charity. Far too many people see things like booking bands as an expense.

Music events and ecosystems must be seen as an investment. Investment in art and culture can yield big returns. As Felix Barros from Evento Medido demonstrated with his amazing event measurement technology, music events have more than a monetary impact. They influence travel, overnight stays, food sales for attendees, environment and sociocultural concerns.

Music Cities are urban areas that support and nurture music, music venues, and musicians. This is done through the cooperation of both the private sector and public sector.

What do you think: if your city became a Music City, would you feel a sense of pride?

Post Script

Design Elements for this post

Peach Fuzz – does it scream “Musical tourism”?

Pantone has designated the color “Peach Fuzz” as the color of the year 2024. Its HEX code is #FFBE98. As a soft pastel tone, I don’t immediately get a rock and roll vibe from it. Peach fuzz suggests a downtempo, warm, cuddly kind of music. Trigger Hippie by Morcheeba sounds a bit Peach Fuzz to me.

Staying contemporary, I decided to use some peach fuzz in the header image for this post. I chose some complementary colors from this “Muzli” color palette. #B38A6A is the light brown of the shadow, while #6AA7B3 is the outline.

I struggled, initially, to integrate this color into my design. As you can see from my blog, I tend to use popping colors, strong tones of purple and pink and black. After a while, I noticed that the gradient I used in my logo actually has a peachy tone. So, I am right on point for some serious branding this year! haha, 😛

Music Tourism: Trip to the tune of a cool 11 billion annually

Music tourism: trip to the tune of 11 billion annually.

What is Music Tourism?

Music tourism involves travelling to a place to experience a live music event. A person, or group, may go solely for the event, or the music event may fit alongside other activities.

The importance of quantifying the value of music tourism cannot be overstated. Many people perceive music as an expense. If one stops and thinks about the cost of promoting cultural events, it sure can seem like a lot of money to spend. But, when one then calculates the ROI, what appeared to be an expense suddenly shows itself to be an investment.

The Value of Music Tourism

Future Market Insights predicts the music tourism market to grow to 14 billion USD annually by 2033. The value of the sector is currently estimated to be 11 billion USD.

Music tourism moves people – and money.

Live music is a “scarce” event. Supply and demand is the basis of capitalist economic theory. When there is scarcity, prices increase.. In real life, this means that people are willing to spend time and money on “once in a lifetime trips” to see and hear their favourite musicians play live.

The recent Taylor Swift “Eras” tour is a case in point. Swift made so much money from her tour that she could pay a 100,000 USD bonus to each of her truckers.

If you live in one of the 20 locales Swift, 33, performed at in the last five months, your city has likely seen a boost in revenue from the hundreds of thousands of attendees who traveled from near and far.

Another case in point is Madonna’s “Celebration” tour, her latest jaunt around the globe, which Billboard estimates may generate upwards of 100 million USD. Pop stars of this caliber draw people from a huge radius. These fans fork out not only for tickets, but for food, accommodation, transportation, and souvenirs.

Classical music is also an enormous attraction. In countries like Italy or Germany, aficionados will spend significant sums for a seat. La Scala in Milan is known for its atmosphere and the exceptional quality of its performances. It is a must-visit destination for classical music tourists. But, to enjoy an opera at La Scala, fans must spend €165-210 for a single ticket.

Who’s Who in Music Tourism?

There are increasing numbers of projects dedicated to promoting destinations to music fans. Here is a small selection.

Music and Tourism: On The Road Again

Published in 2005 by Chris Gibson (Australia), this scholarly book is considered to be the first one about music and tourism. Describing music tourism as a “niche”, which it is, the authors look at the phenomenon from various viewpoints. Historical and contemporary analyses, financial and cultural, plus the politics of copying and identity. This looks like one that I ought to get my hands on.

Sound Diplomacy

This consultancy works with the economics of culture, music, leisure, hospitality, policy, planning, and placemaking.

Shain Shapiro is the main person here. He has just published his second book, “This Must Be The Place.”

Music Cities Events

Music Cities Events is a platform that aims to educate on the value of music. They organize events all around the globe. These conferences showcase music tourism, music policy and, of course, music cities.

TIIM – Turismo Amplificado

The Valencian government has created an initiative to promote music tourism. I will be in attendance at the Jornadas TIIM on 13 & 14 December 2023, in Valencia. Will you be there? Let’s connect!

Estaré en la Jornadas TIIM en Valencia el próximo 13 y 14 de diciembre. ¡Me encantaría conectar contigo!

Music “pilgrimages” to specific cities.

Places like New Orleans, Nashville, Seville, or Berlin are magnets for music lovers. Trips to these emblematic places are akin to pilgrimages; such is the passion that music arouses.

Each city has its allure for music enthusiasts, whether it resonates with the smooth sounds of jazz, the vibrant energy of rock and roll, the passionate rhythms of flamenco, or the pulsating beats of techno.


Famous street parties are found worldwide and most are raucous celebrations of music, dance, and color. Rio de Janeiro, in Brazil, has its famous samba parades. The Notting Hill Gate Carnival in London features soca and reggae music. The Cádiz “Carnavales”, in Southern Spain, features flamenco singing and dancing.

Music Festivals

These exemplify a form of music tourism. Music festivals abound in the summer months in both the northern and the southern hemispheres. Festivals can last from one day to over a week. Longer festivals require, logically, a bigger investment of both time and money. Whether festival goers are camping on-site or staying off-site, they will need to pay for travel, accommodation, food, and tickets. In Spain, the average person spends 300€ per festival, according to TIIM.

Music festivals are music tourism exemplified.

Holiday Entertainment

We have all been there: on holiday, in an unfamiliar place, and hungry or thirsty. How do we choose where to sit down? Google Maps or TripAdvisor can help, but even with these aids, we will use our specific criteria to choose. The music filtering (or blaring, depending on your taste) will determine to a large degree whether you sit down or walk on by.

Some people may save all year for their holiday, and they want to savor every moment of their much-deserved break. Investing in some form of musical entertainment is crucial for bar and restaurant owners as it greatly enhances the overall guest experience.

By the way, if you ever visit Benidorm, I DJ at the Caiman Beach Bar and the D-Vora Sky Bar. So make sure to come and say hello.


As I study Neuromusic more, I become increasingly fascinated by the connection between music and our daily lives. Music tourism matters – it moves people and it moves money.

After my visit to TIIM, I will give you an update. Watch this space. Meanwhile, keep on moving, don’t stop, no.