It Aint Over Till It’s Over… Save Home Studios Lawsuit Makes It to TN Supreme Court!

Edit: The court hearing went great! Now we wait for the ruling…

New Home Business Occupancy Ordinance:

In July 2020 Music City finally made home studios and other home businesses legal. The Metro Council voted to adopt a d new version of the home business bill that would allow residents to serve customers at their homes. For businesses like home recording studios, this was a huge win since recording a local musician with a microphone requires inviting that artist over to the home studio to work. And this of course applies to all sorts of home businesses like piano lessons, hair styling, braiding, school tutoring, etc. We need customers to make a living.

But the win in 2020 didn’t come without a caveat… Metro Council included a provision called a sunset clause that would cause the bill to expire three years later unless they vote to keep the law active in January 2023. If the council votes yes to continue the new law in 2023 then it will become a permanent law and home Nashville residents will be able to continue to work from home if they choose. But if the council votes no in 2023 then the new home business ordinance will expire and will revert back to the original law which will make home recording studios and other home businesses illegal again in Music City.

Our Lawsuit Against Nashville Metro:

In 2017 I filed a lawsuit against Nashville Metro (with co-plaintiff Pat Raynor, a semi-retired self-employed hairdresser, and the help of The Institute For Justice, and The Beacon Center of TN) to defend our constitutional right to work from our home. We lost our first hearing in the Chancery Court of Nashville.

Because the new home business law passed in 2020 but set to expire in 2023 only created a temporary solution for residents of Nashville, we chose to continue our lawsuit beyond the local Chancery court, and take it all the way to the top. Next, we went to the TN Appellate courts where the judge once again ruled in favor of Metro disregarding the indisputable facts that we have a right to work from home especially when we cause no harm to our neighbors. But we have finally made it all the way to the top!

On January 26 our case will be heard by the TN Supreme Court which means that they consider our case to be worthy of a new hearing and that the previous judgments are up for debate. This is a huge opportunity for me and for all of Nashville to support themselves at a time when it’s critical for anyone to be able to work from home if they wish.

Wish us luck and a compelling argument!


Lij Shaw

Fox 17 did a nice news piece on this:

If you would like to watch the court hearing live please join us at this link: Livestream: Elijah “Lij” Shaw Et Al. v. Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County – YouTube

WE WON!!! For now… Home Studios Now Legal In Music City until Jan 2023

We won last night in an epic Metro Council meeting that ran through the night. 

On July 7 at 1:30 am after lengthy deliberation, the council voted 25-14 in favor of home studios to adopt the new bill that allows home studios and other home businesses to finally be legalized. The final step to making this official law is when the Mayor signs the new bill.

Thanks to your tireless efforts to support and share this petition we have now made history in Music City and around the world! There are so many grateful musicians here in Nashville this morning as we wake to a beautiful summer day and a new era of thriving independent music.

The music community has been very vocal about the long term detrimental effect of COVID and the quarantine on the music industry as we knew it before 2020. But now the ability to legally work from home and rebuild music from the grassroots will keep the flames of creativity alive so that the music community can thrive again. 

We have all been fighting to Save Home Studios in Music City since the beginning of 2020 when the new bill BL2019-48 was proposed and we launched this petition. And neither tornadoes nor COVID nor quarantine nor home studio haters could stop us from seeing it through!

I have personally been fighting for our rights to work from home for five years since the city shut down my home studio in 2015 with a cease and desist letter and threats of steep fines and legal action.

My crime? Inviting other musicians to record in my residential home studio for money so I could support my family.

I am still in shock that I was able to go from being singled out as a bad guy five years ago to helping pass legislation that makes all of us good guys today.

It’s the power of perseverance that has seen us through. But it takes a village…

It has been a long journey with so many people reaching out to me to offer support along the way that has allowed me to stay the course and see this through to the end. And it is only the huge wave of support that allowed the Nashville Metro Council to recognize us.

I have had incredible help along the way from The Institute For Justice and The Beacon Center Of Tennessee who has given me the strength to take this issue both to the courts and to the Metro Council. 

Five years ago I got a call from the young visionary lawyer, Keith Diggs who encouraged me to fight this and stand up for my rights. We teamed up with Braden Boucek and an incredible legal force to navigate a process that would have been impossible for me on my own. I like to refer to those folks as the “League Of Justice”!

I have since received countless emails and messages of support. This petition received many many signatures and shares. And so many have emailed the Metro Council and spoke publically at the meetings that our voices have been heard on a worldwide scale.

I have given more interviews with the press than I can remember. Our story has been in more newspapers, magazines, blogs, and on more tv stations, radio stations, and podcasts that I could possibly have imagined.

And now we have won…

Edit: With the caveat that the sunset provision in the bill means we will need to vote this through again in 2023 or it will disappear! See you here again in a few years…

A huge thank you goes to council member Dave Rosenberg for having the foresight, vision, and clarity to create this bill along with the many council members that helped him carefully shape the bill. Those 25 council members who voted yes for this bill listened to the voices of the Nashville community and understand our need to work from home.

As for the rest of the 14 council members who voted against the bill… It’s up to you to ask them why they didn’t vote for what you wanted in your neighborhood.

I am more excited to start making records again than I have been in a long long while. And I hope you are too.

Let’s remember July 7 in Nashville as Save Home Studios in Music City day. What do you say?


Lij Shaw

Wanna say hello? 

Wanna learn more about recording music yourself? Check out my podcast

Thank you also to these incredible folks without whom this win never would have happened: Jeff Syracuse, Dave Pomeroy, Kevin White, Sasha Lassiter Mullins, Jillian Reed, Tayor Dawson, Andrew Meleta, Paul Avelar, Hannah Cox, Christina Walsh, Dean Tomasek, Mike Farris, Daniel Walker, Joe V McMahan, Kevin Gordon, Carrie Mills, BigFoot Is Real, Dave Coleman, Bobby Owsinski, Bjorgvin Benediktsson, Matt Boudreau, Chris Graham, Mathew Fuller, Sarayah Shaw, Brian Carter, Jeff Rose, Rek Lecounte, Isaac Reese, Justin Owen.

The Save Home Studios Vote Is Tonight – Email The Metro Council NOW!

Tonight July 7, 6:30 pm the Nashville Metro Council will vote on your right to work from home in Nashville TN.

Ask them to vote “YES” on BL2019-48 

Email now with this easy link:

Watch the meeting live tonight July 7, 6:30 pm here:

(Look for BL2019-48 in the meeting agenda.)

Learn more about the home business bill that will Save Home Studios and other home businesses in Music City: 

Home business haters are busy right now trying to stamp out your right to work from home.

In fact, they are calling you… “Toxic for Nashville”!

Will you stand for that?

So thank you for sending your email and for sharing this update.

Make sure to include “Vote YES for BL2019-48” in the subject line and add your name and address in the email body.


Lij Shaw

Got questions?

Save Home Studio Vote Tomorrow – Send Email Now…

Tomorrow night on July 7, 6:30 pm The Nashville Metro Council will vote to finally legalize home studios and other home businesses in Music City.

EVEN IF YOU ALREADY EMAILED BEFORE… The Metro Council needs to hear from you again now for this meeting.

Email now with this easy link:

If you live in Nashville email the council and ask them to vote “YES” on BL2019-48 

Or email directly to

Make sure to include “Vote YES for BL2019-48” in the subject line and add your name and address in the email body.

Watch the meeting tomorrow night live July 7, 6:30 pm here:

(Look for BL2019-48 in the meeting agenda.)

Learn more about the home business bill that will Save Home Studios and other home businesses in Music City: 


Here is my personal email that I sent the Metro Council:

Your email does not need to be this long…

“Dear Councilmembers,

I am a homeowner and music producer with a Grammy-awarded home recording studio. I need to be able to work from home with other musicians and songwriters in my home studio to support my family and be a good parent.

I am not alone… 
There are many others all across Nashville in other professions who need to be able to work from home as well.

We are already here and have been your great neighborhoods for decades. But we have had to keep our heads down to avoid being noticed for our work. 

There is a risk that despite being a great neighbor we could get singled out due to Nashville’s discriminatory home business prohibition and “Don’t ask. Don’t tell” policy.

This is not fair and does not promote growth in the arts.

Often we are the reason why our neighborhoods have improved since we moved in and started working from home.
We care about where we live and build strong relationships with our neighbors.

A house in my neighborhood just sold for nearly half a million dollars. That’s five to ten times what a house cost here in 2000.
The new owners (whom I know) told me that a deciding factor in their purchase was the comforting thought that I was already here in the neighborhood so it must be a good neighborhood.

The cost of living in Nashville has gone up significantly over the twenty years since I bought my home.
Food that used to cost two or three dollars twenty years ago now costs ten dollars or more.

But income in the music industry has gone down considerably…

The first commercial studio I started working at in 1995 was charging a record label $600/day for the studio and more on top of that for the engineer and assistant.

And that was a discounted rate!

A decade or two later the studio was lucky to charge half that rate. 
That studio is in Berry Hill and zoned commercial.

The cost to purchase or lease a commercial studio space is typically greater than the perceived opportunity to pay for it.

For many music producers, the home studio is an environment that offers affordability, comfort, and creativity where independent musicians can create with limited means.

A home studio is a place where Nashville’s music is historically born. 
Songwriting, rehearsing, recording, mixing, and mastering are all things that have traditionally taken place in homes.

Most artists launch their own career on a small budget from the safety of a home studio. Then later, when they are successful they hope to have the budget for a commercial recording studio on the next record. 

Or they might choose to start a record in a commercial studio for a larger recording session and then move the rest of the process of overdubs and mixing to a smaller home studio.

In fact, in the 1990s many home studios started appearing throughout Nashville to fulfill the need for a lower cost for overdubs and mixing. Artists just didn’t need to book a large expensive studio setting for some of the simpler recording tasks.

More recently COVID and the quarantine have shut down the music economy. We will now see a greater need for home studios than ever before.

Nashville is Music City and one of the few places left in the world where world-class musicians still get together in from of microphones to record great songs. This is a beautiful thing…

I moved here from Boston in 1991 to get a degree at MTSU and chose to stay here for 30 years. When I was in school they taught us how to record musicians with microphones that required big studios.

But even that is changing with technology. MTSU, Belmont University, and SAE Institute have students from all over coming to Nashville to learn how to produce and record music.

These accredited schools now teach young producers how to make the music that the kids want to listen to today. That is music is often created with a computer and a microphone. It doesn’t require a massive recording studio.

But Nashville is telling these students that they are not welcome to create their music here in their home studio. And so the young producers will choose to move away rather than stay where they can’t create their music.

And more recently COVID and the quarantine have devastated the music industry. Grammy-winning producers whose voices I respect are saying that it will be a long time before we see the music industry bounce back in a way that we were familiar with.

Let’s send a message that it’s ok to create music in Music City to rebuild the music industry from the grassroots level. Don’t extinguish the light of creativity here in Nashville.

If people can’t create new music together professionally from the safety of their own home studios…

Then I guess you had better get comfortable listening to your oldies station. Because that’s all that will be left.

Please vote “YES’ on BL2019-48 to allow us to work from home with customers.


Lij Shaw
2407 Brasher Ave
Nashville TN 37206″


Thank you for your help and for sharing this update!


Lij Shaw

Got questions?

PS in case you missed the article in Forbes magazine explaining more about this historic fight to Save Home Studios in Music City:

Save Home Studios – All Nighter No Vote – Deferred To July 7

JUN 17, 2020 — 

Thank you everyone for your support and for hanging in there. It was another epic Metro Council meeting last night to try and save home studios in Music City!

The Metro Council pulled an all-nighter session for 10 hours (with no real breaks) debating the Nashville budget that included new tax hikes among other items.

At 4:30 am the home business bill finally came up for discussion and the Metro Council recognized that the home business bill BL2019-48 would need more time for discussion before voting.

So they deferred the bill until the next meeting to make sure it gets a fair opportunity. It looks like the next meeting may be July 7.

Please remember to send in more emails just before that meeting on July 7:

See you all at the next one!

Thanks for all your support and for sharing this.


Save Home Studios Won Last Night!! We are almost finished…

JUN 11, 2020 — 

Tuesday night we had an incredible turnout for the Metro Council public hearing with many voices of support from the Nashville community for the new home business bill BL2019-48!

There were many home studio owners, teachers, hair-stylists, cooking classes, and others who showed up in person or called the phone lines to ask the Metro Council to vote “YES” for the home business bill.

You can watch the replay here:   (The Metro Council deserves a HUGE thank you. Would you believe the meeting went until 1:30am, and that was considered a short meeting?) 

Last night was the second reading of the bill and the council voted YES with a landslide to move the bill on to the third reading!

33 yes – 6 no – 1 abstain.


But we’re not out of the woods yet…

Next week will be the third and final reading of the bill: Metro Council meeting Tuesday June 16 at 6:30pm

The Council will vote one last time, and if they vote “YES” then the bill will become law. 

The good news is we only need a majority of “YES” votes (21) to win! 

But… our bill is at the tail end of a long agenda for the third meeting which could mean that the Metro Council will be voting on this very late at night after an exhausting budget discussion. Much respect!

If we win this next round then home studios and other home businesses will finally be legalized in Music City.

We will have Saved Home Studios in Music City! How cool is that?

Stay tuned for more info coming soon. You may need to contact specific Council members to help them understand the importance of this bill and encourage them to vote yes at the third reading.

Please remember to thank your Council member for all their hard work and for staying up way past their bedtime for make sure we can work from home!

Honestly, if we win this it would be cooler than mom and dad pretending to be Santa Claus all night so we can wake up in the morning to presents under the tree. Know what I mean?

Thanks for your support! Let’s win this thing.

Lij Shaw

PS Got questions? Email me:

Save Home Studios Wins First Round At Nashville Planning Commission!

Save Home Studios won the first round last week at the Nashville Planning Commission public hearing! On Feb 27, 2020, the commission considered the new Home Business bill BL2019-48 that would finally allow home studios to be legalized in Music City.

It was an exciting event that had us all on the edge of our seats as the Metro Planning Commission discussed and deliberated at length concluding with a tie vote to approve the bill and move it forward to the Metro Council. The commission was split right down the middle with three votes for and three against, but due to the rules of government this means that the bill will be considered “no recommendation” essentially being considered “approved” by the commission as it moves on for vote at the Metro Council. This is a huge win for us!

The evening was highlighted by inspired and thoughtful presentations by Council Members Dave Rosenberg and Jeff Syracuse and multiple speakers in support of the need for Nashville to allow residents to successfully work from home without fear of reprisal for simply inviting customers over to the home.

Join us for round two “the big one!” as we take the bill to Metro Council for a public hearing. Mark your calendar for Thursday, March 5, 6:30 pm at the downtown Metro Historic Courthouse. Bring water, snacks, posters (8.5″x11″), and patience as we become part of history being made in Music City. Get up and speak if you want or simply raise your hand in support when the council asks.

Metro Council Meeting:

Get ready to Save Home Studios and other home businesses in Nashville this week!

Here’s what you can do now!

Save Home Studios In 3 Minutes Or Less – How To Contact Your Metro Council Member

I made a short video to show you how to easily and quickly contact your Nashville Metro Council member to show your support for home businesses Bill BL2019-48.

Watch the video here:


Find your Metro Council Member here:

Or use the online contact:

Want to make even more of an impact? Then please also contact the Vice Mayor and the five “At Large” Metro Council Members since they represent all of us:,,,,,

Do you have feedback and suggestions about the Bill? Bill BL2019-48 then contact the sponsor of the new bill directly:

Below is some helpful text you can use for your email or phone call


Please Support Bill BL2019-48 to allow Home Businesses in Nashville

–Email Body–

To: Council Member [Name]

I support Bill BL2019-48 which creates reasonable guidelines for non-invasive home businesses, that already exist now in Nashville’s residential areas, including allowing limited customers to visit the home.

I support this bill because [add your reasons here.]

From: [Your name and address]

Thanks for being an action taker and making a difference in Nashville!
Lij Shaw

Save Home Studios Awareness Show Feb 23

Show your support by coming to the free awareness show to help #SaveHomeStudios in Music City featuring artists performing songs recorded in home studios. 

Grammy-winner Mike Farris, Tommy Womack, Seth Timbs, Dave Coleman, Joe McMahan, Bigfoot Is Real, and Lij Shaw will be playing music that literally would not exist without home studios! 

When: Sunday, February 23rd 6-11p 

WhereDee’s Country Cocktail Lounge Madison TN

How much: Free show 21+ 

Find out why this is so important for Nashville:

Facebook Event:

Show Link at Dee’s:

Thanks for your help!

Lij Shaw

Here are many great articles already published about my battle to save home studios in Music City

Please join our petition to save home studios in Music City!

Channel 2 Local News:

Reason Magazine did a great article:

Here is a great new article from Billboard: