Does a song come to mind when you think of the music industry? It may, but the music industry means big business and particularly in Georgia. The state has been a hotbed of musical talent and it brings in $600 million per year. Tommie Storms, director of music entertainment at the Art Institute of Atlanta, thinks she know why. The talent is here along with the necessary infrastructure such as studios and producers. It also helps that the cost of living in Atlanta is lower than in other places such as Los Angeles. Doug Paul, president of Catspaw Productions, says Atlanta rivals Nashville as a music capital. Atlanta-based LaFace Records under the direction of Antonio “L.A.” Reid and Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds helped launch the careers of many artists including TLC, Toni Braxton, and Outkast. Artists on that record label have had platinum albums and won Grammy awards. Radio station 99X sponsors LiveX concerts that give artists and groups exposure. There are many opportunities for artists in Atlanta. Erik Bennett, a songwriter and composer, took advantage of the 1996 Olympics being held in the city and wrote a closing song for the games.
Teacher tip: Georgia has a rich music history. Ask students to explore the different types of music in the state by visiting the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in Macon. If they cannot actually go to the museum, assign a virtual online visit. Small groups can choose a particular music style or artist to research and report back to the class.