Madison and Milwaukee: Better spots for music fans than the Twin Cities and Duluth?


The Twin Cities is a worse place to be if you're a music fan than:

  • Madison ...
  • Milwaukee ...?
  • Honolulu ??
  • Salt Lake City?!?!

And about 11 other cities.

That's according to new rankings from the website ValuePenguin (which bills itself as a "personal finance" website), that looked at 200 metropolitan areas and ranked them on "Best Cities to be a Music Fan in 2016."

Minneapolis-St. Paul didn't actually do that badly, coming in at 16th overall, with Duluth not far behind at No. 25. And both the Minnesota representatives are behind some obvious staples like No. 1 Nashville, and No. 3 Seattle.

But having Madison 4th, Albany (New York) 6th, Tucson 7th, Salt Lake City 11th, Milwaukee 12th – that might raise a few eyebrows.

How did they come up with the rankings?

It's all about how things are measured.

In this case, ValuePenguin split 15 different qualities into three different variables – "the band," "the crowd," and "the intangibles.

"The band" is: The number of musicians, singers, musical groups and artists (relative to the population); number of recording studios, record labels, and hourly median wage for musicians.

"The crowd": Number of radio stations, music supply stores, and bars; top venues based on some other lists; and "tape, CD and record stores" per 1,000 people.

"The intangibles": This looks at how rainy a city is, when bars close, top music schools, people with arts degrees, and what percentage of the population uses public transportation.

So looking at that list, the Twin Cities could get punished for people biking (which we're known to do) instead of taking the bus or train. Or, since the number of musicians is based on Census data, if people in Duluth don't list that as their job but still perform, that won't help the city's ranking. Or what if a music festival is held outdoors, at a place that isn't a venue?

The specific rankings

How'd the Twin Cities do in each category?

The best finish was in "the band" category, where they ranked 15th. As for "the intangibles," the cities were rated 26th (even though bars close at 2 a.m.). As for"the crowd" – basically in the middle of the 200 places ranked, at No. 94.

Duluth had its highest ranking for "the crowd," finishing 2nd overall (behind only ... Sioux Falls). It placed 70th in "the band," and 104th for "the intangibles."

Consequence of Sound picked up the ranking, and the comments on their Facebook post aren't super thrilled with the results. Here's a short sampling:

Destination Duluth didn't mind it though:

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