Music Row is a historical district located to the southwest of downtown Nashville, Tennessee that is home to numerous businesses related to music, predominantly the country music, gospel music, and contemporary christian music industries.
Centered on 16th and 17th Avenues South (called Music Square East and Music Square West, respectively, within the Music Row area), along with several side streets, Music Row is widely considered the heart of Nashville's entertainment industry.
In this area, one will find the offices of numerous record labels, publishing houses, music licensing firms, recording studios, video production houses, along with other businesses who serve the music industry, as well as radio networks, and radio stations.
Within media, MusicRow Magazine has been a music industry resource reporting on the location for over 30 years. Lacy J. Dalton had a hit song in the 1980s about one of the streets, 16th Avenue, while the area served as namesake to Dolly Parton's 1973 composition "Down on Music Row".
Sometimes the term "Music Row" is used as a metonymous nickname for the music industry as a whole, just as "Madison Avenue" often refers to the advertising industry. In present years, the district has been marked for extensive historical preservation and local as well as national movements to revive it’s rich and vibrant history. A group dedicated to this mission is the Music Industry Coalition.
Historical sites such as RCA's famed Studio B and Studio A, where hundreds of notable and famous musicians have recorded, are situated on Music Row. Country music entertainers Roy Acuff and Chet Atkins have also been memorialized with streets named in their honor within the area.
The Country Music Hall of Fame was once located at the corner of Music Square East and Division Street, but the building has since been torn down and the museum moved to a new state-of-the-art building eleven blocks away in Downtown Nashville in June of 1999.
One area of Music Row, along Demonbreun Street, was once littered with down-market tourist attractions and vanity "museums" of various country music stars. These began to disappear in the late 1990s with the announced move of the Country Music Hall of Fame. The strip sat largely vacant for a few years, but has been recently redeveloped with a number of upscale restaurants and bars serving the Downtown and Music Row areas.
At the confluence of Demonbreun Street, Division Street, 16th Avenue South, and Music Square East is the "Music Row Roundabout," a circular intersection designed to accommodate a continuous flow of traffic. Flanking the intersection to the west is Owen Bradley Park, a very small park dedicated to notable songwriter, performer, and publisher Owen Bradley. Within the park is a life-size bronze statue of Bradley behind a piano. Inside the roundabout is a large statue called the "Musica".
At the other end of Music Row, across Wedgewood Avenue sits the Belmont University campus, and Vanderbilt University is also adjacent to the area. Belmont is of particular note because of its Mike Curb College of Entertainment & Music Business (CEMB), part of Belmont University and a major program in its commercial music performance division.
How Nashville Became Music City, U.S.A.: 50 Years of Music Row (2006), Michael Kosser