That's not based on the breakout success of local bands, though acts like Tennis, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, Trev Rich and DeVotchKa have brought the Mile High City some attention in recent years. And it's not based on an economy generated by big recording studios, music publishers or managers, because those types of businesses hardly exist in town. It's not even based on data from the dominant promoters in the market.
The designation is based entirely on how many Denverites are buying tickets to shows through Vivid Seats, an online ticket re-seller.
"Denver’s residents stole the show this year by attending more concerts per capita than their counterparts across the nation," says Andrew Gretchko, a publicist for the company, looking back at 2018. The secondary seller won't disclose how it culls its data, describing its methods as "proprietary."
Perhaps the Music City of the Year designation just suggests that Denverites prefer to purchase their tickets from secondary sellers. Still, people here are buying.
AEG Rocky Mountain Presents and Live Nation, the nation's dominant concert promoters, have made big moves battling over the market in 2018. AEG is opening a large venue, the Mission Ballroom, in the RiNo neighborhood, and Live Nation bought the Summit and Marquis theaters from Soda Jerk Presents and purchased the independent promoter Emporium Presents, which books national acts at Levitt Pavilion, the outdoor nonprofit music venue in Ruby Hill Park. Both promoters have already announced Red Rocks shows for 2019.
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Denver Arts & Venues, the city's cultural agency, has embarked on a major music strategy, attempting to shift Denver from being a city with a great music scene to a music city — think Austin or Nashville. In a recent report, Arts & Venues confirms that the strength of the local music economy is in the live-music market.
Gretchko says the quality of the acts coming to Denver in 2019 is making it a destination for music lovers, citing the Rolling Stones, Shawn Mendes, KISS, Pink, Ariana Grande, Luke Combs, the 1975 and Kacey Musgraves.
This news comes in the same week that Rolling Stone named Red Rocks Amphitheatre one of the ten best live-music venues in the United States.
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