Growth of Recording Industry Helps State; the Recent Increase in Production Has Been Music to Georgia's Ears, Wallet
Eckenrode, Vicky, The Florida Times Union
Byline: VICKY ECKENRODE
ATLANTA -- When Doppler Studios opened in the 1970s, it was a jingle factory back when jingles were a more popular way to advertise.
"There wasn't a lot going on in the music area," said Bill Quinn, studio manager for the Atlanta company. "There really wasn't anything like there is now."
The transformation for the studio and the city's recording scene came nearly two decades after Doppler formed when some young, ambitious producers moved to Atlanta to record young, ambitious groups, particularly in the R&B genre.
"We've been busy ever since then," Quinn said. "The producers who were successful got more people to come."
Today, the halls of Quinn's studio, which still does some commercial and television recording business, reflect the rise in music work. Gold and platinum records line the wall from a string of albums ranging from Boyz II Men to Pearl Jam, who recorded their songs there.
The recording industry might have its main foothold in Los Angeles, Nashville and New York, but the Atlanta market has grown its own reputation to the point where state officials are now considering the economic benefits.
"For most of our history, it's been the Georgia film and video office," said Greg Torre, director of what is now the state's Film, Video and Music Office. "In 2002, it became very clear that we have a significant music industry in Georgia, it would be to everyone's benefit if we could, somehow or another, be a part of its promotion. It's not like we need to create a music industry; there's already an amazing one here."
This year, the state agency put out its second annual music production sourcebook, an industry phone book listing production studios, record labels, designers, manufacturers and promoters working in the state.
The publication stemmed from a similar industry book the agency has been putting out on film production for the past 15 years.
Though much of the activity has been building on its own, Torre said state officials do what they can to help add to the base.
A study done earlier this year by Georgia State University researchers estimated that there are 417 firms working in the music industry in the state.
Those companies working with musicians, composers and recording studios currently employ about 2,700 people and generate sales of $286 million. That was a 42 percent rise in jobs and 35 percent growth in economic activity from a similar report done several years ago, the study showed.
The figure did not include another $190 million spent at manufacturing and wholesale and retail music sales, such as instruments.
"Clearly, primary music production is a rapidly growing sector," researchers Michael Ruston and Marcus Thomas wrote. …