Inside Music Row: Your Guide to Nashville’s Music Magic!

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From the Author: I've lived and worked in Nashville for 12+ years. I'm heavily involved with the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum, so when you visit, you might find me giving the odd tour or helping out wherever possible. If you have any questions, I respond quickly to comments. Come in and say hi!

Welcome to Music Row, the heartbeat of Nashville’s music scene! This iconic stretch of streets is where legends like Elvis Presley and Dolly Parton made history. From the historic RCA Studio B to modern recording spaces, it’s where Nashville's nickname “Music City” truly comes to life.

Music Row isn’t just for the pros. Snap a photo at Owen Bradley Park or explore the nearby music-themed cafés. Whether you're a die-hard fan or just love a good story, Music Row gives you a taste of Nashville's music magic. Ready to explore? Let’s go!


What is Music Row?


Music Row is a quiet, tucked-away neighborhood in Nashville, Tennessee, yet it holds immense significance in music. It's the lifeblood of “Music City,” home to historic recording studios, publishing houses, and record label offices.

This famous strip has witnessed countless hits and nurtured generations of musicians, producers, and songwriters. You'll find studios like Elvis Presley's former recording space among iconic landmarks.

Don't mix it up with Broadway, though! Music Row is different but close by. It's like a suburban neighborhood where homes double as recording studios. Safe, walkable, and full of charm, it's a paradise for music lovers.

Visitors can join guided tours of Music Row to hear fun stories and see where big names recorded their hits. The Country Music Hall of Fame offers tours of RCA Studio B, where the “Nashville Sound” was born. The studio features interactive exhibits and historic recordings. Learn more here!


How to Experience Music Row


Musica Statue Music Row

To kick off your Music Row adventure, park on Broadway and stroll past the “Musica” bronze statue. Most folks have strong opinions about it, but hey, it's a landmark marking the entrance to this legendary neighborhood.

If you want to park closer, there's public parking on Music Square itself. This handy map will help you find a spot.

Walking through the area, you'll find it's a quiet, safe neighborhood, perfect for exploring. Or, if you prefer a more guided experience, hop on the Hop On Hop Off Trolley Bus. With over 100 stops across Music City and live commentary, it’s an affordable and fun way to see Music Row.

Whether you're a music fan or just curious about the industry’s rich history, Music Row is a must-see on any Nashville itinerary. Enjoy!


History of Music Row Nashville


In the 1950s, several recording studios, record labels, and radio stations opened on 16th and 17th Avenues, which eventually became Music Row. 

Fun Fact: There is a life-sized statue of Chet Atkins located at the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum. Chet was a native of Tennessee, and after he died in 2001, the Bank of America commissioned a sculptor to make a bronze statue. It sat for decades on the corner of Fifth Avenue North and Union Street. Finally, on June 9th, it was moved and unveiled at its new location at the Museum. Visitors can take their photos with Chet and sit in the chair beside him.

RCA Studio B, opened by music producer and guitarist Chet Atkins in 1957, was one of the first studios on Music Row. It became a recording hub for legends like Elvis Presley, Dolly Parton, and the Everly Brothers. Studio B's success attracted a wave of music businesses, and by the end of the 1960s, Music Row was home to hundreds of recording studios, publishing houses, and agencies representing artists and songwriters.

Contrary to popular belief, Nashville isn’t just about country music. Over the years, Music Row embraced a range of genres, from pop and rock to gospel and Americana, showcasing the city's diverse music scene.

Despite challenges like the rise of digital music and the 2008 recession, Music Row adapted and thrived. However, rapid urban development threatened its historic charm, prompting the National Trust for Historic Preservation to add Music Row to its list of America’s Most Endangered Places in 2019.

Today, Music Row stands as a testament to Nashville’s rich musical heritage, blending tradition and innovation while remaining a key player in the city’s music production.


Early Days of Music Row


Music Row was originally the site of several stables and carriage houses converted into recording studios and offices in the 1950s. The first recording studio on the Row was Castle Studio, which opened in 1947. The area quickly became a hub for the country music industry, with record labels, publishers, and other music-related businesses setting up shop in the area.


The Golden Age of Music Row


Music Row was focused on 16th, 17, and 18th Avenue in its heyday with numerous studios. However, in the below video, Butch Baker, a Nashville songwriter, artist, and publisher, says, “With the advent of digital, you can have ProTools in your house, so the need for big studios wasn't as much.”

Before the advent of Digital, stars like Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Elvis, and more came to record in the studios on Music Row and recorded many hit records.


Decline and Resurgence of Music Row


Music Row started to decline in the 1980s and 1990s as the music industry changed. 

Many of the more prominent record labels and publishing companies moved out of the area, and the remaining studios struggled to stay afloat. 

In recent years, Berry Hill in Nashville has become the new epicenter of music recording in Nashville. As a result, Berry Hill became what Music Row was in the '60s and '70s.

Even though music has become more digital, artists still cut tracks and write and record songs together in studios.


Must See Music Row Attractions


RCA Studio B Nashville

RCA Studio B
RCA Studio B is a legendary recording studio that’s been a cornerstone of country music since 1957. Iconic artists like Elvis Presley, Dolly Parton, and Roy Orbison recorded their biggest hits here. The studio is open for tours, where you can see the original equipment and instruments used to create some of music's greatest hits. If you’re an Elvis fan, don't miss the chance to snap a photo in his recording room!

Quonset Hut
The Quonset Hut, part of the former Columbia Studio A and B complex, was a recording hub for Columbia Records. Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, and Patsy Cline all laid down tracks here. In 2006, Belmont University’s Mike Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business took it over for educational purposes.

While you can't tour inside, you can still drive or walk by this historic building. For a guided experience, hop on the Hop On Hop Off Trolley Bus for live commentary and a tour down Music Row.

Owen Bradley Park & “Musica” Statue
At the entrance to Music Row, you'll find Buddy Killen Circle. Buddy started as a bass player on the Grand Ole Opry. In the center of the circle stands the “Musica” statue, a universally disliked landmark. Right next door is Owen Bradley Park, named after the influential producer and music executive. His statue, sitting at a piano, is a perfect photo op.

ASCAP
The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) has protected the rights of songwriters, composers, and music publishers since 1914. You can't miss its office as you stroll down Music Row.

BMI
You'll also come across Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI), the largest performing rights organization in the U.S., representing songwriters, composers, and publishers.

Curb Records
Founded in 1963 by Mike Curb, Curb Records remains an influential independent label today. Mike Curb, inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum, helped launch the careers of LeAnn Rimes, Tim McGraw, and many more.


Where To Stay Near Music Row


Virgin Hotels – Music Row

Virgin Hotel Nashville

Housed within the vibrant Music Row neighborhood, Virgin Hotels Nashville presents a striking fusion of chic elegance and laid-back Southern charm. The hotel’s aesthetic is a delightful blend of modern design and Nashville's rich cultural history. Each of the 262 “chambers” (as they call their rooms) offers an intimate yet spacious haven featuring ergonomic designs, plush amenities, and floor-to-ceiling windows that offer sweeping views of the city's lively skyline.

Placemakr Music Row

One of the most popular hotels in Nashville, it has quickly gained a reputation as a hub for creative energy and artistic collaboration. Its spacious, modern design merges functionality with inspiration, offering a versatile workspace that caters to the diverse needs of the city's music community.

Hilton Garden Inn

Hilton Garden in Nashville

Hilton Garden Inn offers a comfortable and convenient stay for both business and leisure travelers. The hotel is renowned for its exceptional customer service and comprehensive amenities, making every guest feel right at home. The rooms are spacious and well-appointed, equipped with modern comforts like a flat-screen TV, mini-fridge, and complimentary Wi-Fi.


Where to Eat on Music Row


The Row Kitchen & Pub
The Row Kitchen & Pub is as close to Music Row as you can get for southern-style eats and live music. This American pub honors Nashville’s music industry with walls covered in photos of legends like Johnny Cash and Roger Miller. Their menu is packed with southern favorites like burgers, slaw, fries, BBQ, and cold, local beer. Learn more here.

The Catbird Seat
For an upscale experience, head to The Catbird Seat at 711 Division St. With only 22 seats and a unique tasting menu, it's one of Nashville’s hottest dining spots. Learn more here.

Hattie-Bs-Hot-Chicken

Hattie B's Hot Chicken
In Nashville’s hot chicken scene, Hattie B's and Prince's Hot Chicken are top contenders. If you're pressed for time, these two are must-visits for a spicy bite. Want to explore more? Check out this full guide to Nashville’s hot chicken. Learn more here.

Adele's
Adele's, located in the Gulch, offers southern comfort food, cocktails, and a highly praised brunch menu. It's just a short walk from Music Row and lower Broadway. Learn more here.

Velvet Taco
Velvet Taco in Midtown, right next to Music Row, serves unique creations like the Angus Brisket Taco and the chicken and waffle taco. Learn more here.

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