With a deep pool of award-winning talent, a variety of recording and production facilities and a booming film, television and digital media infrastructure, Georgia is positioned to support the evolution and expansion of its influential music industry in the digital age. The state’s pro-business climate fosters an environment of entrepreneurship and innovation that has driven the growth and diversification of its creative and technology sectors and increased opportunities for music content, production and performance. In addition, under the Georgia Entertainment Industry Investment Act, which provides transferrable tax credits of up to 30% for qualified film, TV and interactive productions, the costs associated with sound recording and musical compositions are designated approved expenditures for qualified productions.
- Home to GRAMMY® winners in multiple categories and genres
- Over 300 recording studios operating statewide
- Performing rights organizations ASCAP, BMI and SESAC have offices in Atlanta
- Thriving live music industry from arenas to intimate listening rooms
- Over 40 annual music festivals statewide
- Over 50 post-secondary music programs in Georgia, including Music Business programs at
Georgia State University, the University of Georgia and Kennesaw State University
- Research and commercialization efforts at the Georgia Tech Center for Music Technology are successfully launching startup companies
- Atlanta hosts nationally televised GMA Dove Awards & BET Hip Hop Awards
- GMC-TV (formerly Gospel Music Channel) is headquartered south of Atlanta
- Roughly 20,000 individuals work in various aspects of Georgia’s music industry
- Annual economic impact of $3.7 billion according to 2011 study
GLOBALLY RECOGNIZED TALENT
For decades, Georgia has boasted a diverse roster of award-winning musicians, composers and behind-the-scenes figures. Among the Atlanta-based pop, R&B and hip-hop stars are 2 Chainz, Akon, B.o.B., Cee Lo Green, Ciara, Keri Hilson, Lil Jon, Ludacris, Monica, OutKast, T-Pain and Young Jeezy. Country music charts today are dominated by native Georgians including Jason Aldean, Zac Brown Band, Luke Bryan, Billy Currington, Brantley Gilbert, Lady Antebellum and Sugarland. Gospel and Contemporary Christian heavy-hitters headquartered in the Peach State include Francesca Battistelli, Casting Crowns, Jeff & Sheri Easter, Jamie Grace, Canton Jones, LeCrae, Karen Peck & New River, Laura Story, Third Day and Chris Tomlin. Scores of rock bands hit the road from Georgia each year including The Black Lips, Deerhunter, Drive-by Truckers, Mastodon, Of Montreal, the Whigs and Widespread Panic. The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, which was established in 1945, has earned 27 GRAMMY® Awards for its recordings, while the state’s most famous opera singer, Jessye Norman, is recognized worldwide.
Georgia’s musical fertility is built upon a legacy of pioneers and trailblazers including The Allman Brothers Band, Atlanta Rhythm Section, the B-52s, the Black Crowes, James Brown, Dr. Thomas A. Dorsey, the Indigo Girls, Alan Jackson, Gladys Knight, Brenda Lee, Little Richard Penniman, Blind Willie McTell, Johnny Mercer, Mother’s Finest, Gram Parsons, Gertrude “Ma” Rainey, Otis Redding, Jerry Reed, R.E.M., Tommy Roe, Billy Joe Royal, Joe South, TLC, Travis Tritt, Trisha Yearwood and many, many more.
A long-established infrastructure of businesses serving the music industry includes recording studios, labels, publishers, licensing companies, distributors, mastering facilities, manufacturers of instruments, amplifiers and equipment, rehearsal spaces, tour support companies, artist management and support services, entertainment law firms and more.
While Georgia’s entertainment tax incentives apply only to feature films, television series, music videos, commercials, interactive games and animation, the legislation does provide that expenditures excluding license fees incurred with Georgia companies for sound recordings and music compositions are included among the approved “production expenditures” for qualified film, TV and digital entertainment projects. The Georgia Entertainment Industry Investment Act offers a 20 percent transferable tax credit, upliftable to 30%, for companies that spend $500,000 or more on production and post-production in Georgia, either in a single production or on multiple projects.
The state’s emerging digital media industry has launched music technology startups including Khush, Mowgli Games, Mavaru, ZOOZ Mobile, Free All Music, Maestro.fm, Neurotic Media and others. Resources include the Georgia Tech Center for Music Technology and its Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), a startup accelerator named one of the world’s top incubators by Forbes in 2010.
LIVE MUSIC & PERFORMING ARTS
Georgia is also home to a thriving live music and performing arts industry with a variety of venues from the mountains to the coast seating from 100 to 20,000 patrons. Atlanta is headquarters for Live Nation Southeast and Ticket Alternative and concert venues including Aaron’s Amphitheatre at Lakewood, Chastain Park, Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, the historic Fox Theatre, Gwinnett Center, Philips Arena, Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore Park and many more. Signature festivals statewide including A3C Hip Hop Festival, AthFest, Music Midtown and the Savannah Music Festival serve as destination experiences. Other events including the Blind Willie McTell Blues Festival in Thomson and the Gram Parsons Guitar Pull in Waycross showcase the state’s rich musical heritage. In addition to presenting music, Georgia is a popular, affordable and inspiring locale in which to originate a concert or theatre tour with a variety of rehearsal spaces, production companies and tour support services.
EDUCATION & WORKFORCE TRAINING
There are numerous opportunities to study music in Georgia, with over 50 institutions offering post-secondary programs in music business, composition, conducting, education, ministry, performance, pedagogy, production, theatre, therapy and technology. A selection of the programs offering music business and technology concentrations include:
- Joel A. Katz Music and Entertainment Business Program, Kennesaw State University
- Music Business Program at Terry College of Business, University of Georgia
- Music Management B.S., Georgia State University School of Music
- M.S., PhD, Music Technology, Center for Music Technology, Georgia Tech
Photo by Cara Pastore.