How new Dallas music office hopes to grow local music industry, build community

Dallas now has its own music office.

Visit Dallas has announced the launch of a new music center designed to promote and support the Dallas music industry. The Dallas Music Office will serve the needs of artists, venues and music lovers through advocacy, education and partnerships.

“Dallas is filled with artists and amazing talent, and we have been for years,” said Dallas Music Office Manager Jonathan McNary. “There’s nothing that can aggregate and amplify it, so our goal is to provide that sound and build a community with musicians and local music businesses.”

McNary will lead the office alongside Kristina Kirkenaer-Hart, director of cultural tourism for the Dallas Tourism Board. McNary is a graduate of the University of North Texas and previously worked as a producer and artist developer at Dallas-based artist development company and record label Creatives Factory.

The office is an extension of the Dallas Tourism and Texas Music Office, which is headquartered in Austin. The Texas Music Office certifies Texas cities that are serious about growing their music industry. Dallas is certified in 2021.

Kirkneil-Hart said the city has been slowly working on developing the office over the years following certification. She spoke with many music industry people during development who said they felt isolated in the community. She sees the Dallas Music Office as the missing piece of the puzzle.

“We definitely had all the pieces of the puzzle, but we just didn’t have the final piece to bring it all together and give people in the industry a sense of community,” Kirknall-Hart said. “Ultimately, we want the voices of the wider community to be heard.”

The Dallas Music Office will use social media accounts to network and collaborate and highlight the city’s music scene. You can find the office on Facebook, Instagram and X under @dallas_sounds.

“The best way right now in terms of contacting us is through social media,” McNary said. “It’s definitely going to be on our radar.”

The Dallas Music Office is working to establish partnerships with KXT Radio, Love Field Dallas, Dallas Entertainment Awards, Downtown Dallas Inc. and DART. While no dates have been set yet, the office plans to host educational panels, workshops, town hall meetings (for community members to express their ideas) and other events throughout the year.

“Educational panels will discuss how to run a successful music business, how to book shows, how to manage finances, start an LLC production and more,” McNary said. “Just providing them with resources.”

This office is also dedicated to music registration. The submission form, which artists or members of the music industry can fill out with information about their work, is still being designed. Community members can access the registry if they need to connect, book, or hire talent.

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

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

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

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

This community-funded journalism initiative is supported by Better Together Fund, Carol & Don Glendenning, City of Dallas OAC, University of Texas at Dallas, Texas Community Foundation, Dallas Foundation, Eugene McDermott Fund Association, James & Gayle Halperin Foundation, Jennifer and Peter Altabef and Meadows Foundation. news KERA retains full editorial control over Arts Access news.

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