Future of Music in Los Angeles: 2017-2019

Future of Music in Los Angeles: Three Events in 2019

Question in 2022/23

Where are Creative Industries “going” in terms of futures, emergent change, and the role of “places” in 2022 and beyond?

Baselines in 2019

We can look to 3 events and research that many organizations and creators connected across Los Angeles for in 2019 for a baseline before the pandemic.

Thanks to the hosts for:

  • the Feb. 2019 Future of Music in LA Symposium, including the UC Digital Humanities Institute, Los Angeles Dept. of Cultural Affairs, UCLA Libraries, The Broad, and the Bootleg Theater.  See detailed information below and links to recorded sessions.
    • Listen to the Feb. 2019 Symposium Audio via Google Drive (and see panel links below)
  • the Amplify Music in LA May 2019 Conference with UCLA Libraries,
  • the Future of Music on the West Side Symposium in October 2019 in Santa Monica, with the City of Santa Monica and the Santa Monica Public Libraries, and

Read the related Music Cities and Music Geography research from around the world

You also can engage with the Interactive Map below from 2019 of Venues and Communities in LA — click arrows on the upper left of the map below for the legend and to zoom in

40 Interviews in 2017 – What is Music in Los Angeles?

UCLA undergaduates began this project in 2017 with an eight-student project to explore music in Los Angeles,  They interviewed and recorded 40 music professionals, ranging from club owners to long-time performers to artists new to LA to songwriters.  Each held view of a very different Los Angeles.

Their core question started as how was changing technologies, esp. the growth in streaming, affecting live performance and communities.  Gigi Johnson, then teaching at UCLA, became intrigued by the many Music Cities projects and conferences with other cities around the world. She spoke with music cities researchers and public policy folks in many cities, and spent a fair bit looking to the North with the people up in San Francisco, where gentrification has taken a large cut at their performing arts spaces and lifestyles.

She began to ask “what about LA”?

What is LA? What is happening in its diverse music cultures?  How does technology impact clubs vs. large venues vs. festivals — and who is using changing tech well to embrace and remind its audiences?  How are the various local music communities changing and embracing connecting technologies? How is our quirky confluence of music supervisors, co-writers, influencers, labels, and other power brokers affecting our new clubs, popups, and communities?  LA is the city. Or is it the county? Do people in LA even know which LA they are in, or in LA at all? What is happening in West Hollywood vs. DTLA vs. the beach cities? Where our people migrating to as rents increase?

Heading into 2023, we are asking groups to join the conversation of  “whose LA?” and “whose futures?” — and how we make take actions to work together to help more than just the main players in the space

We will look at different arts, media, genres, have/have not issues, socioeconomic challenges, immigration and racial opportunities and frictions, generational changes, and live/work cultures, and even impacts of traffic and increasing traffic and car services

Core Topics

The issues in Creative LA’s Futures lead into different lenses and questions.
  • What is “Los Angeles”? — rich history and narrative of LA in creative arts
  • Major forces of change
  • Map of Los Angeles – geography over time
  • LA’s changes in comparison to other great Music Cities
  • Future Trends
    • Big Trends — Projected Drivers Overall for 2030 and 2040
    • Big projected trends in recorded music
    • Future real estate and economic trends for LA County and California
      • Populations and Migrations
  • Roles of “The Business”
    • Role of LA in Recorded Music Taste-making and Community-building
    • Music, Arts, and Culture in the Heart of Motion Pictures and TV
  • Live music trends
    • Big Venue – trends
    • Small venue – trends
    • Cultural and Popular music contrasts
    • Futures of Genres
    • Ages and Demographics
    • Transportation Trends
    • Pop-Ups and Non-Traditional Spaces
    • Roles of Festivals in the Local Market
  • Life and Role of the Local Artist and Community
    • Lifestyle and community trends
    • Role of collectives and communities
    • Ecosystems of managers and professional support
    • Migration in as The Place (or one of The Places)
    • Social support as artists get older in the community
  • Organizations as Catalysts for Change
    • Public Policy – organizational efforts
    • Communities as catalysts
    • Future Role of Schools and Universities as Community Hubs
  • Role of Technology in Social Change and Futures of Live Events
    • Role of VR and Immersive Media
    • Silicon Valley, Silicon Beach, DTLA, and points beyond as tech hubs
    • Music 3.0 — systemic change under streaming music — and LA’s role
    • Role of the future Olympics and arts cooperation

Music x Ideas x Space = Compose LA

The Future of Music in Los Angeles

A Symposium for the Music Scene of Los Angeles

Wednesday, February 6, 2019
12 noon – 6 pm
The Bootleg Theater – 2220 Beverly Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90057


2019 marks the rise of Los Angeles as an unprecedented leader in music composition and performance. While streaming music has expanded to 75% of recorded revenue, live music communities are where we explore, live, enjoy, and create.

This symposium pushed the questions of how we can support live and robust music community(s) in Los Angeles that benefits all parties. Other cities are struggling with economics and the health of live music, while some cities are creating massive, city-wide musical support systems to stave off displacement and drive the economy. How can Los Angeles’ music scene(s) be supported and work together to continue to create something robust, diverse, and dynamic in this changing era?

The Future of Music in Los Angeles Symposium was planned in conjunction with the inaugural presentation of COMPOSE LA 2019 occurring throughout the month of February 2019. With the theme What is Human, What is Race? as inspiration, the first edition of this festival will surface and address a unique myriad of topical issues as they relate to the future of the City of LA and its thriving music scene.

Symposium Schedule (Link to Full Recording)

12 noon – 1:00 pm

Welcome: Danielle Brazell, General Manager, Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles

Special Presentation: The Future City

Conni Pallini-Tipton, Senior City Planner Citywide Planning and Policy Division, Department of City Planning (link to recording) (link to PDF of slides)

The City of Los Angeles will experience massive changes over the next 20 years. Come hear from City of LA Senior Planning Official, Conni Pallini-Tipton on how the city of LA will be tackling the most difficult issues in the years ahead and its impact on the music and cultural landscape of LA. Using the latest in trends in forecasting and data analysis, you will see how the city is dealing with issues of environment, space, permits, density, aging, housing, growth, noise, diversity, and employment. This fascinating presentation will offer insights on how the City of LA is planning for our musical future.

1:00 pm

Symposium Overview: Dr. Gigi Johnson, Executive Director, Center for Music Innovation, UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music

1:15 pm

Provocations: The DNA of New Music in LA

In the spirit of a multi-faceted and diverse Los Angeles, the opening “provocations” will offer six brief interpretations of the varied influences and histories that make up today’s music scene.


  • Josh Kun, Director, Annenberg School for Communication Professor and Chair in Cross-Cultural Communication;
  • Gloria Cheng, Award-winning pianist and recording artist; Adjunct Professor of Performance, Herb Alpert School, UCLA;
  • Dexter Story, Musician, composer, music director, producer and Artivist in Residence / Event Producer at Community Coalition of South Los Angeles;
  • Judy Mitoma, President, Foundation for World Arts and Emerita Professor, Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance, UCLA;
  • Kristen Martinez (Yaqui / Yoeme / Chicanx) M.A. student, UCLA American Indian Studies
  • MJ Brown aka Miss Barbie Q, Drag Performer /Speaker/Storyteller/ Event & Radio Host/Producer/Programmer/Actor/Writer

2:00 – 2:55 pm

Panel 1: COMPOSE LA ROUNDTABLE: A Candid Conversation about Composing and Music Making in Los Angeles (link to recording)

Making and composing music in Los Angeles is filled with many unique challenges and opportunities, but ultimately LA has emerged as one of the most exciting music cities in the world. Several composers featured in Compose LA 2019 will offer their candid experiences and observations about what it means to be an “LA composer” working in the music scene today.

Moderator: Leigh Ann Hahn, Grand Performance

Featured composers:

  • Andrew Norman
  • Astronautica
  • Bapari
  • Derrick Spiva Jr
  • Howard Ho
  • James H. Leary
  • Juan Pablo Contreras
  • Linafornia
  • Maral Mahmoudi
  • Reena Esmail

3:00 – 3:55 pm

Panel 2: LA Night Time Economies — New Models in Music Programming and Festivals (link to recording)

The models for festival production, venue programming, and music distribution have radically changed over the last 10 years. Los Angeles, in many ways, is leading the way in reinventing the models that make music happen and thrive across our city. This panel will explore the latest trends, technologies, and influences on how music is being programmed and how artists are being supported.

Moderator: Fabian Alsultany, RChain Cooperative


  • Eui-Sung Yi, Director, UCLA IDEAS Architecture Lab/The NOW Institute
  • Kristin McElwain, Red Bull Music Academy
  • Devin Landau, Paradigm Talent Agency
  • Ed Patuto, The Broad
  • Erika Nuno, Champion City
  • David Peterson, This Is Who We Are Now
  • Marie Kellier, Los Angeles Carnival

4:00 – 4:55 pm

Panel 3: LA is NOW: Music Cities and Music Venues (link to recording)

Los Angeles is now at the forefront of the musical world. The city is filled with music venues, concert halls, festivals, underground spaces, backyard parties, and incubators, and all of them contribute vibrancy to our quality of life. This panel will examine what the City of LA needs to put into place to sustain and grow our music community and will investigate what other international cities are doing to ensure that music will continue to be an important part of the creative economy.

Moderator: Gigi Johnson, UCLA Center for Music Innovation


  • Ross Gardiner, Black Circle Media
  • Vickie Nauman, Cross Border Works
  • Michael Rogers, Eventbrite Music/Ticketfly
  • Liz Garo, Spaceland Presents/EchoPlex/Stories Books and Cafe
  • Elizabeth Peterson-Gower, Founder/CEO, Elizabeth Peterson Inc.
  • Alejandro Cohen, dublab

5pm – 5:55 pm

Panel 4: Space Control: Conversation with LA’s Incubator Spaces about Surviving in LA (link to recording)

Los Angeles is a land of DIY new music spaces and creative activation, but at the same time, many venues are being lost to gentrification, lack of affordable live/work space, and rampant displacement. This panel will focus on the critical issues facing some of LA’s leading artist-run music spaces and will offer creative strategies for survival and perseverance.

Moderator: Alison De La Cruz, Japanese American Community & Cultural Center


  • Dwight Trible, The World Stage
  • Julia Meltzer, Clockshop
  • Andrew Young, the wulf.
  • Alicia Adams, Bootleg Theater
  • Betty Avila, Self Help Graphics & Art
  • Addy Gonzales Renteria, 11:11 Creative Collective
  • Rob Simonsen, The Echo SocietyMasato “Maz” Baba, TAIKOPROJECT


The Future of Music in Los Angeles Symposium was planned in conjunction with Bootleg Theater, The Broad, and the Center for Music Innovation – UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music.

Compose LA was a city-wide new music, new ideas festival planned in conjunction with Department of Cultural Affairs – City of Los Angeles (DCA), American Composers Forum of Los Angeles, University of California Humanities Research Institute, and the Center for Music Innovation – UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music. 

The Department of Cultural Affairs recognizes Tongva peoples as the traditional land caretakers of Tovaangar (Los Angeles basin, So. Channel Islands) and is grateful to have the opportunity to work for the taraaxatom (indigenous peoples) in this place. As a City municipality, we pay our respects to Honuukvetam (Ancestors), Ahiihirom (Elders), and eyoohiinkem (our relatives/relations) past, present and emerging.

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