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Georgia Music Incentives?

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By Guest Columnist TAMMY HURT, co-president of Georgia Music Partners

Georgia’s internationally-known music industry is big business, and our creative community is unmatched. Based on 2009 data, there were 19,955 jobs in the state because of the music business. “Economic and Fiscal Impact Analysis of the Music Industry in Georgia,” recently published by noted Ph.D. in Economics, B. William Riall, also put state and local government tax receipts at $314 million.

Sounds like a nice contribution to the state’s overall economy, so what is the problem?

1. Other states, such as Louisiana, are doing a far better job attracting and growing music businesses. For example, Louisiana’s music credit incented our own R.E.M. to record in New Orleans, rather than in Athens or Atlanta. This is only one example of business we have lost that should have been here.

2. The way music is produced, recorded and distributed has changed the traditional model. Music technology is now one of the fastest growing segments of the music business in the world. That means businesses in Georgia have to invest in technology to stay current or risk losing even more business.

3. We have more music talent and music business graduates from our university system than we have jobs. Kennesaw State University, Georgia State University and University of Georgia’s music business program graduates are likely to leave the state for jobs elsewhere. Georgia Tech offers a masters and PhD in music technology, but according to the staff, the majority of their recent graduates accepted in jobs outside Georgia.

4. The Georgia Entertainment Industry Investment Act, responsible for $1.5 billion of economic impact last year, does not accurately address music production. The act has been a flash point for attracting film and TV production to the state; however, the benefits for the music business were written so narrowly that it has little practical application.

The state’s music business has grown to this point in large part because of the robustly diverse music base, which includes most forms of popular music: rock, country, gospel, urban and symphony.

Georgia has dozens of first-tier performing artists, such as R.E.M., Cee Lo Green, Usher, Sugarland and Zac Brown Band as well as a plethora of accomplished songwriters, producers and engineers like Sean Garrett, Brendan O’Brien and Phil Tan in addition to a thriving new music scene. The Atlanta Symphony alone garnered 27 GRAMMY® Awards.

Georgia Music Partners and The Recording Academy® Atlanta Chapter (aka GRAMMY organization) are working together to protect and grow the state’s music business. There are a number of strategies under consideration and a number of opportunities for growth.

Here are a few:

a) For businesses that operate recording studios, we’re recommending a “retooling” credit so they can outfit their studios with the most up-to-date, state of art technology, which will help them stay competitive. We also want to look for ways to incent recording artists to come to Georgia to record their music, which will ultimately bring studios more business.

b) For musicians and songwriters, the more projects we attract, the more opportunities there are to work, to play and to be published.

c) Digital music technology companies such as Shazam and Spotify are a segment of the industry we want to attract to the state. The film and TV tax incentives currently in place are directly responsible for bringing 20 supply chain companies to Georgia. We believe that now is the perfect time to promote a similar campaign to attract global investment dollars to Georgia for music-based technology companies.

d) Positioning Georgia as a leader in music ultimately increases tax revenue and creates jobs. We’ve had preliminary discussions about the possibility of creating economic empowerment zones for music businesses in the city of Atlanta and around the state.

Georgia has earned the right – and deserves to be on the list of top music centers along with Los Angeles, New York City and Nashville. We believe we have a tremendous opportunity to make Georgia a global leader in music.

Now is the time for the Georgia music community to unite. Together, we can create a more sustainable music environment – one that is culturally rich, where existing and new businesses can flourish in an ecosystem that will spur innovation and create growth.

For more information about Georgia Music Partners, please click this link.

Artists to Watch

Cry With Us! Puddles Pity Party in Orlando

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Ange Alex

I owe him a poem:

Here’s a story of a sad clown who one night in February was traveling through O-town. 

He brought a suitcase and a lot of gum, he brought music and videos and tons of fun.

He sang high but mostly he sang low, and he put of one hell of a good show.

He gave a bearded guy a cupcake and danced with a lady, a wolf he would make

There is no doubt he is a boss sir, he even got love from Kevin Costner.

Fans filled the plaza for a night of delight as the 7 foot clown gave us some real insight.

He sang Bowie and Queen and even some Who, also Cash, Lorde and “Let it go” too

Videos played of pets and babies crying, also beautiful artwork and people smiling.

Last night Orlando was anything but mad as we showed much love for a clown that is sad.

Ok, I’d cry too after that poem. Here’s some more info:

If you haven’t been to see a Puddles Pity Party show, you are missing out. 

The show had me smiling and laughing so hard my stomach hurt, but I was also moved so many times by the range of Puddles voice. True entertainment never gets old and I have a feeling he is going to last forever.

I loved the interaction he had with the crowd. He pulled numerous people up to help him on stage and all of them were good sports, one man even singing the entire song, “All by myself” karaoke style! The show was so well thought out and planned but with room for some hilarious improv. Especially at the end when he pulled the 3 fans from the audience dressed like clowns. At the end of them performing together, Puddles suddenly remembers that he is scared of clowns! Genius! 

Hands down one of the best performances I’ve seen in years.

 

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Holiday Fun

Kingsized Holiday Fun! Big Mike is Back at the Variety Playhouse!

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Big Mike Geier and his Kingsized Rock ‘n Roll Orchestra, along with the Dames Aflame Dancers, Lil’ Santa and other special guests, bring tidings of comfort and joy with their signature glitz and glamour in what has become a tinsel-time tradition at the Variety Playhouse. The all-ages 90-minute show features your Holiday favorites by the likes of Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Andy Williams, Heat Miser, The Grinch and more!

Photo: Emily Butler

We caught up with Big Mike to ask a few questions.

TBB: Big Mike! It’s been a couple years since we had the pleasure of seeing you perform live. We are so excited to be back in Atlanta and we are ready for this show. What can you tell us about this years event?

Big Mike: Welcome back to Atlanta, Ange! We’re also excited to be in town for another wild and wonderful Holiday Jubilee. We like to honor the tradition that the Jubilee has become and don’t mess too much with the format. You can expect the always magnificent sounds of the 12-piece Kingsized Rock ‘n Roll orchestra performing your favorite holiday classics and the dazzling Dames Aflame dancers providing the glamour. The show is all about holiday nostalgia, whatever that means to you: Bing Crosby, Andy Williams, Donnie Hathaway, The Grinch, Rankin Bass, Peanuts, the Dreidel Song? It’s all in there.

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Music Gallery

Turkuaz at Aisle 5

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Brooklyn based funk band Turkuaz played at Aisle Five in Atlanta last week and here are some shots from the show!

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