Sour note

Amazon HQ2 rival disses Austin’s status as Live Music Capital of the World

Amazon HQ2 rival disses Austin’s status as Live Music Capital of World

Austin City Limits Festival ACL Fest 2017 Weekend 1 Flags
Denver dissed both Austin and Nashville during a recent bid for Amazon HQ2. Photo by Daniel Cavazos

In the fight for Amazon’s second corporate headquarters, Denver is dissing Austin’s status as the “Live Music Capital of the World.”

Officials in Colorado have released some of the details of the Denver area’s bid for the $5 billion Amazon HQ2 project, including a letter from the state’s governor, former Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper.

In the letter, Hickenlooper throws some shade by boasting that the Denver area is home to more live music venues than either Austin or Nashville. The governor cites the Denver area’s wealth of venues as contributing to the “perfect work-life balance” that Amazon employees would enjoy in the Mile High City.

Visit Austin, the city’s convention and visitors bureau, brags that Austin offers more than 250 live music venues, which are bursting with activity during annual events like SXSW and the Austin City Limits Music Festival, as well as throughout the year.

In celebration of the city’s musical roots, the Austin City Council in 1991 — four years after the first SXSW — proclaimed Austin the “Live Music Capital of the World.”

While it’s debatable whether Austin still lives up to that title, the city wears it with pride. And Austin still earns respect from music fans — more respect than Denver gets, in fact. Here are just a few examples:

  • Travel + Leisure magazine puts Austin at No. 3 on its list of America’s best music cities. Denver sits in 19th place.
  • Condé Nast Traveler magazine gives a nod to Austin as one of America’s top cities for music lovers. What about Denver? Nowhere to be seen on this list.
  • Personal finance website ValuePenguin ranks Austin the country’s fifth best metro area for music fans. Denver’s rank: No. 33.
  • The Culture Trip, a website that promotes culture and creativity around the world, crowned Austin one of the 12 best U.S. cities for music lovers. Denver failed to make the list.
  • In grading the world’s — not just America’s — 10 top music cities, hotel website Oyster.com hails Austin as the fourth best. Denver doesn’t make the grade. 

Amazon HQ2 could be music to Austin’s or Denver’s ears, as it’ll eventually create 50,000 high-paying corporate jobs. Seattle-based Amazon is expected to make a decision about HQ2 next year.