How the new Dallas Music Office hopes to grow the local music industry, build community

dallas now has its own music office.

Visit Dallas announced the launch of a new music hub designed to promote and support the Dallas music industry. The Dallas Music Office will cater to artists, venues and music enthusiasts through initiatives, education and partnerships.

“Dallas is chock full of artists and amazing talent, and we’ve had this for years,” Jonathan McNary, Dallas Music Office manager, said. “There’s nothing aggregating it and amplifying it, so a goal for us is to provide that voice and establish a community with musicians and local music businesses.”

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McNary will be leading the office alongside Kristina Kirkenaer-Hart, director of Cultural Tourism for Visit Dallas. McNary is a graduate of the University of North Texas and previously worked as a producer and artist developer at Creatives Factory, an artist development company and recording label in Dallas.

The office is an extension of Visit Dallas and the Texas Music Office, which is based in Austin. The Texas Music Office certifies Texas cities that are serious about developing music industry growth. Dallas was certified in 2021.

Kirkenear-Hart said the city had been slowly working on developing the office for years after it was certified. She spoke to many music industry folks during development who said they feel siloed in the community. She sees the Dallas Music Office as the missing puzzle piece.

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“We literally have all the puzzle pieces, we just don’t have that final puzzle piece to bring it together and give the industry people a sense of community,” Kirkenaer-Hart said. “Ultimately, we want to hear from the broader community.”

The Dallas Music Office will use social media accounts for networking and partnerships, and to highlight the city’s musical landscape. The office can be found under @dallas_sounds on Facebook, Instagram and X. It will also post facts about Dallas’ music scene, highlight venues and spotlight artists and bands.

“As far as getting in touch with us, the best way at the moment is just through social media,” McNary said. “That will absolutely get our attention.”

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The Dallas Music Office is working on building partnerships with KXT Radio, Dallas Love Field, Dallas Entertainment Awards and Downtown Dallas Inc. and DART. While there are no set dates yet, the office plans to host educational panels, workshops, town hall meetings, which will allow community members to voice their ideas, and other events throughout the year.

“Educational panels will be something like how to run a successful music business, how to book shows, how to manage finances, starting an LLC production, on and on,” McNary said. “Just providing resources for them.”

The office is also working on a music registry. It’s still in the process of designing a submission form that artists or music industry members can fill out with information about their work. Community members will have access to the registry if they need to network, book or hire talent.

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“For example, if a venue wants to hire them, they’ll be able to go to our website, do a search like, ‘We need this type of band,’ and that type of band will pop up in our system,” McNary said.

To help with these initiatives, the Dallas Music Office formed the Dallas Music Office Committee. It is composed of industry leaders, including artists, music managers and venue owners that help brainstorm ideas. The office and its committee will work together to find new ways to cater to Dallas’ diverse music community.

“There’s a lot of talent, and we’re there to support the talent, but there’s also talent that doesn’t really know how to access support,” McNary said. “We’re here for all of them.”

Arts Access is an arts journalism collaboration powered by The Dallas Morning News and KERA.

This community-funded journalism initiative is funded by the Better Together Fund, Carol & Don Glendenning, City of Dallas OAC, Communities Foundation of Texas, The University of Texas at Dallas, The Dallas Foundation, Eugene McDermott Foundation, James & Gayle Halperin Foundation, Jennifer & Peter Altabef and The Meadows Foundation. The News and KERA retain full editorial control of Arts Access’ journalism.

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