photo of Elizabeth Cawein

Elizabeth Cawein

Founder and Executive Director
Music Export Memphis

Elizabeth Cawein is a music advocate and strategist. After 10 years in music publicity – with her firm Signal Flow, serving roots and Americana musicians primarily in Memphis – she now helms Music Export Memphis, a nonprofit she founded in 2016 that leverages public and private support to function as an export office for Memphis music, creating opportunities for musicians and driving economic development through music and culture. On the momentum of the catalytic growth the organization experienced during the pandemic – distributing more than $400,000 in direct relief to musicians and industry professionals – MEM is on pace to hit $1 million paid out to Memphis artists in 2024. Built on the theory of change that musicians make cities better and should be subsidized as cultural assets, the work of MEM connects directly to Elizabeth’s academic interests: she is currently pursuing a PhD in the School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Memphis, focusing on the experiences of working class musicians in non-industry urban centers. She has also previously worked for international strategic consultancy Sound Diplomacy, leading its expansion in to the U.S. market, and is an adjunct professor of music urbanism at Rhodes College and a faculty adviser to the Curb Institute for Music. In 2015 she was honored by the British Council at its inaugural Education UK Alumni Awards, celebrating outstanding U.S. alumni of British institutions. She is a sought-after speaker and thought leader on myriad issues around music ecosystems and innovative ideas for supporting musicians in cities. Elizabeth has moderated panels, given talks and presented showcases at Folk Alliance International, SXSW, A3C, AmericanaFest, Canadian Music Week, Music Tourism Convention, and Music Cities Convention, and in 2019 she keynoted the inaugural Texas Sounds and Cities conference. She serves as an Adviser on the Recording Academy Memphis Chapter Board and hosts Straight from the Source, a weekly all-Memphis-music program, on WYXR 91.7FM. Elizabeth is dedicated to the belief that smart cities are music cities – her TED Talk on the subject has 1 million views and climbing.

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Events featuring Elizabeth Cawein
Events featuring Elizabeth Cawein