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Louisiana Music Commission

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The following is a broad overview of activities, issues and contacts. The LMC participates in a variety of events, requests for assistance, communications and related matters. This report, though long, is not comprehensive, since many of the day to day requests for information and assistance are relatively minor. It does contain major unresolved issues and significant contacts as well as a partial listing of state wide developments. This report is designed for reading by government personnel who may be unfamiliar with the music industry. We publish this report on our website in the interest of openness and public awareness of our activities. If you have any questions about this report or care to discuss issues or events that may have been overlooked, please call us at 504-838-5600 or email your concerns.
A Report on Activities and Contacts
As of May 27, 1998


MIDEM Conferences Aug. 1998 and Jan. 1999

Met with representatives of MIDEM, the Department of Economic Development (DED), the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism (CRT), and the City of New Orleans (CNO) to discuss joint efforts by LMC/DED/CRT/CNO to stage a major Louisiana booth at MIDEM, the world's largest music industry convention, where much of Louisiana's music licensing and business takes place. A $100,000 commitment would buy Louisiana a whole day of focus including a reception, evening music events, banners and signage, and the main focus of the day's full color show magazine. Representatives of MIDEM returned to Louisiana May 18 to meet with DED/LMC/CRT representatives.

The Amusement Tax in New Orleans

Coordinated a task force of New Orleans community leaders and business people to support HB108 by Rep. Scalise which would repeal the enabling legislation that created the tax. A recent revision of the Amusement Tax ordinance by the City of New Orleans extended the tax to museums, the aquarium and zoo, the UNO Lakefront Arena and other cultural resources. These entities are looking to the LMC to keep them informed as to the status of the bill and efforts to repeal the tax. The Bill was deferred by the committee on May 19 and likely is dead for the session. Currently working with the Chamber of Commerce to bring all parties together to find ways to end this long-standing, onerous tax.

Recouping performance royalties and songwriters royalties

Working to educate television broadcasters and performing artists about the process of filing television show cue sheets with BMI/ASCAP/SESAC and how artists can collect performance royalties. Also starting preliminary efforts to create "Forgotten Stars" effort to help recoup royalties for pre-1978 songs. This program has a multi million dollar potential impact on the lives of older songwriters and their heirs. This effort will also expand the pool of professionals in law and accounting capable of administering intellectual property rights royalties.

II. Calendar (a partial list of items of note)

May 14 Governor's Arts Awards in Baton Rouge
May 16 New Orleans Jazz Centennial Celebration Strategic Planning Session @ Center for Nonprofit Resources
May 18 Meet with DED/CRT representatives to discuss MIDEM
May 19 HB108 heard by House Ways & Means
May 23-24 Northshore Blues Fest, Bernie Cyrus to MC part of fest
May 26 Senate Finance Committee Hearing Budget Bill
May 29 Meeting with a British Music activist who patterned a municipal effort to promote music from Liverpool on the LMC
June 1 Revised Strategic Plan due
June 2 Strategic Plan Hearings House Commerce Committee
June 6 Kickoff party for 3rd season of New Orleans After Midnight
July 13 LMC Meeting
Aug. 25-28 MIDEM Latin America conference Miami
Sept. Marketing Plan Due

III. Major Recent Accomplishments:

A. LMNOP Conference April 27-29: Chairman Marsalis was the keynote of the opening day. Bernie Cyrus was a panelist for a Continuing Legal Education panel on Government Relations and the Music Industry. Met with representatives of: National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) to discuss expanding membership in Louisiana and possibility of a chapter in New Orleans; American Federation of Musicians (AFM) to discuss expansion of membership and a major television show for possible July 4 airing; Louisiana Songwriters Association about staging seminars; and representatives of MIDEM to discuss Louisiana participation in MIDEM in Cannes and MIDEM Latin America in Miami and the possibility of bringing MIDEM Latin America (to be renamed MIDEM of the Americas in 1999) to New Orleans within three years.

B. MIDEM meetings in Baton Rouge: Brought MIDEM representatives from Paris and New York to meet with Barbara Roy and Mary Perrault of CRT, an organizer for Francofete, to discuss CRT participation in MIDEM as a launch for Francofete. Also met with Robert Keaton, Chief Budget Analyst of the Senate Finance Office, and staff members of DED to discuss budget issues relating to the possibility of a major MIDEM initiative.

C. Chairman Marsalis accompanied LMC staff to Baton Rouge to meet with legislators to discuss the Amusement Tax and the state's support of Louisiana's music industry.

D. Via New Orleans jazz Centennial Celebration, reached more than 8,000 elementary school children with a series of historical jazz "informances" done in conjunction with the American Federation of Musicians' Performance Trust Fund, various arts councils and other funding sources, which paid more than $30,000 to the musicians who performed. These performances took place in 13 Louisiana communities from January to May 1998 and will go state wide in the Fall.

E. A project in which the LMC was both a major catalyst and partner won a prestigious national award. The Buddy Bolden Memorial won Joe Brennan of Delgado Community College a Golden Bullfrog from the public relations-focused national magazine, the Bullfrog Reporter. The Bolden event placed first over the launch of Jello's 100th Anniversary and the hoopla of the Wheaties "Olympics" box introduction. The award was presented to Brennan at a recent ceremony in New York City.

F. The LMC, with the assistance of DED's Office of Policy and Research, validated that it is one of the most cost efficient agencies in state government. Since 1992 the LMC has generated more than $9 million in economic activities and impact and produced a 15:1 ratio of activities generated compared to budget. For every dollar the state spends on the LMC, we produce $15 in results. There ought to be an award for that!

G. Utilizing student assistants, we conducted surveys of all Louisiana radio stations to determine how much Louisiana music is played and whether they are amenable to working with the LMC to help develop artists' careers. Surveyed all Louisiana fairs and festivals to determine the amount of money spent on music and production at these events. Other surveys active: Louisiana record labels and recording studios.

IV. Major Recent Developments

• The LSU Medical Center opened a Musicians' Clinic in cooperation with the Musicians' Union, the Jazz & Heritage Foundation and WWOZ radio. This is the first clinic of its kind in the USA and will specialize in treating the needs of musicians and finding ways to assist in funding musicians' health care.

• The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival had record-breaking attendance of more than 455,000 people. Much of the profit from the festival goes to the new Orleans Jazz & heritage Foundation.

• No Limit Records in Baton Rouge became the biggest-selling Louisiana record label of all time, surpassing the $100 Million mark in total retail sales. Currently there is no limit to how many records they might sell in 1998. The company will likely have a more than $100 million economic impact on Louisiana in 1998.

• Louisiana recording artists currently reflect more than $200 million in retail record sales as measured by the Billboard record charts. This is shaping into a bellwether year for Louisiana music.

• A steady stream of Louisiana record label product has been flowing forth for more than three years. The LMC is still trying to tally the total number of releases. Utilization of student assistants to conduct polling will continue as we gather information on record labels, music businesses and other entities and phenomena.

• Blue Lu Barker, the last great pre-WWII jazz recording artist from Louisiana, died. She and her husband, Danny Barker, helped spawn the revival of brass band traditions in New Orleans and mentored many of today's greatest jazz artists. They gave selflessly of their time to help children learn about Louisiana's jazz legacy.

V. Contacts (partial list)

• Contacted Kenny Lannes, a local manufacturer of guitar amplifiers. He needed assistance from the LMC to access DED programs (referred him to the La. Economic Development Corp. at DED) and assistance in promoting awareness of his product. Lannes is the only amplifier manufacturer in Louisiana, as far as we know.

• Met with Jim Bateman, manager of Gatemouth Brown and a former LMC commissioner, to discuss the possibility of Gatemouth trying Kenny Lannes' amplifier and considering an endorsement. Also discussed the fact that all of Gatemouth's recent deals were struck at MIDEM.

• Andre Salvail at CityBusiness called to inquire about the new club being opened on Decatur Street in New Orleans by Levon Helm, former drummer for The Band, and to discuss the Amusement Tax.

• Contacted by Leah Mahan with the production company that is producing the PBS series "River of Song," a four part series sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution that traces the roots of American music down the Mississippi River to New Orleans. The final 1 hour episode is entitled "Louisiana, Where Music is King." The producers are working with leaders in several cities, including Memphis, Baton Rouge & New Orleans (where the LMC is acting as team leader) to preview the shows with a special public event. In New Orleans the preview will take place on Sept. 30. Partners in the effort include Riverbarge Excursion Lines and local tourism and arts entities. Plans are in the early stages.

• JoAnn Eisworth, Director of the Louisiana Alliance for Arts Education (LAAE) asked Chairman Marsalis to be an honorary board member and Assistant Director Steve Picou to join the board. The LAAE is a Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts-sponsored initiative to promote the arts as a fundamental component of the primary and secondary education system to help raise test scores, improve socialization skills and build character.

• Commissioner Jay Weigel is seeking assistance for an annual Louisiana music concert at Lincoln Center in New York City. Weigel is a music coordinator for the Louisiana part of the event which is held outdoors for two days. Artists playing this year are Gatemouth Brown & Friends and Kermit Ruffins & Friends. This is a major music event in NYC and a great opportunity to promote Louisiana music. We contacted CRT to solicit assistance and hope to help fund part of the performances.

• Producer and songwriter Kim Fowley (Helen Reddy, Kiss, the Runaways) contacted the LMC with his opinions on the Louisiana music industry based on his two years as a part time resident of New Orleans. He offered to speak to workshops on what he feels are weaknesses and strengths of the local music scene. He is seeking to work with local songwriters and artists to help with composition, image and repertoire. He is always looking for hot new artists to sign to deals.

• Assisted Steve Novak of Rendezvous New Orleans, a new tour company that seeks to bring tourists to music clubs that are "off the beaten track" and also to develop a local "music krewe" that provides regular transportation to music clubs for a small monthly fee. Also assisted in securing publicity in CityBusiness for this project.

• Provided information to CNN Videographer Tim Wall who was in town shooting a documentary of a train tour that focused on jazz and its movement up the delta from New Orleans and on to Chicago. The show aired recently.

• Working with Kim Stephens of Atlantic Records to find new rock talent for the label.

• Met with Cajun musician Bruce Daigrepont at Ultrasonic Studios to discuss his latest recording strategy.

• John Freeburn of SEH productions contacted the LMC seeking suggestions for artists or songs to be used in a Discovery Channel documentary about the Mississippi River and the Army Corps of Engineers' efforts to control flooding. he was looking for delta blues and related music. We referred him to several artists and labels and announced his situation on our website.

• Jimmy Ford, a New Orleans-based producer and studio owner, is seeking assistance with a charitable music project that benefits Toys for Tots. He is producing a series of CDs with all sales going to the charity.

•Sandy Hinderlie, a music instructor on sabbatical from Loyola, contacted the LMC to discuss his record label's progress. He currently has 8 titles with 6 more to be released. He has secured European distribution but still needs investors or assistance.

• Diana Thornton, with the Louisiana Songwriters Association, called to discuss federal legislation that seeks to exempt restaurants from paying royalties for music and how this would negatively affect songwriters in Louisiana.

• Contacted the Texas Music Office to discuss funding and pay levels for a comparative analysis. Also discussed infrastructural arrangements of TMO for database development and web site implementation.

• Maida Owens of the Division of the Arts asked the LMC to participate in the development of a Folklife education book for Louisiana elementary schools for which they have already received grant money. We will assist with rights and clearances and selection of music to accompany the book.

• Jimmy Fahrenholz of the AIDSLAW project contacted the LMC seeking assistance in reaching several musical artists for an upcoming benefit.

• Contacted the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for assistance in formulating sales statistics of Louisiana artists and to inquire about any legislation that might be negatively affecting the music industry.

• Assisted in the grand opening of the Virgin Records megastore by providing information on legal problems record stores in the French Quarter have had with live in-store performances by artists and other information about the local music scene.

• Assisted Lou Gabus with the Louisiana Hall of Fame in securing a proclamation from the governor.

• Working with Dr. Jacqueline Vidrine to preserve the historic Dew Drop Inn in Mandeville by bringing together civic leaders and historians seeking to make this jazz landmark an educational facility for schoolchildren and others seeking to learn more about Louisiana music history. She has agreed to donate the building.

• Met with Jonn Hainkins of the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) who suggested the LMC use NOMA as a location for a series of business meetings and the possibility of staging several historical concerts at NOMA.

• Stan Fulcher of the Office of Policy & Research called to let us know that Rick Rousseau of KKAY radio in Donaldsonville was interested in having a representative of the LMC appear on his show to talk about the music business in Louisiana.

• Contacted Jim Sefcik at the Louisiana State Museum (LSM) about the recent traveling exhibit from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and how their exhibit concept could be duplicated by the LSM and the LMC to feature Louisiana music history, and the possibility of placing computer kiosks in a variety of locations including schools, airports, malls, museums and other similar high-traffic areas.

• Contacted Runyon Products in Opelousas, owned by 91 year old jazz legend Santy Runyon, now living in Lafayette. The facility manufactures mouthpieces for saxophones and clarinets, employs 11 people and sells more than 150,000 units worldwide.

• Met with Peter Loop, new director of the Louisiana Film Commission.

• Assisted in publicizing the 50th anniversary of the New Orleans Jazz Club, whose collection is the centerpiece of the exhibit at the Old US Mint and whose legacy grows in importance annually.

• Commissioner Jane Ball of Ruston notified LMC staff of the status of plans for reviving the Louisiana Hayride (which marked its 50th birthday in April) and invited us to Tourism Awareness Day and Northern Exposure, which are held in Baton Rouge at the Capitol and the Governor's Mansion. With regards to development of the Hayride, LMC staff suggests that Liberty Theater performances in Eunice be studied as an example of the possibilities of what could readily be done in Shreveport.

• Assisted Rick Lagneaux of Lafayette, whose new studio and record label found information on the LMC's website about Blockbuster Entertainment's policy for accepting product on consignment.

• Contacted incoming N.O. City Council member Eddie Sapir to discuss the Amusement Tax and ways to end it.

• Bruce Morgan at CRT contacted the LMC in reference to a British writer in town to write about Cajun music, and a German writer in Louisiana covering music.

• Working with the Division of Administration and DED's Office of Policy and Planning to revise the Strategic Plan to meet requirements set by Legislative Act.

• Met with Dean Shapiro and Kathy Parta to discuss artist development concepts for several Louisiana bands.

• Assisted David Grant with the Christian Concert Hotline with issues relating to artist development and opportunities and other reference and resource assistance the LMC can provide.

• Met with Gary Edwards of Sound of New Orleans Records to discuss his experiences at MIDEM and creation of workshops.

• Assisted Big Easy Distributing with plans to promote several new artists' audio and video releases.

• Working with Eric Cager of the Cutting Edge Music Business Conference to assist in planning his upcoming Roots Music Gathering and to discuss his past experiences at MIDEM.

• We are discussing, with Jackie Harris of the City of New Orleans' Music and Entertainment Commission, the possibility of sharing the cost of a small booth at MIDEM Latin America in Miami for a fact-finding mission to determine if the MIDEM show could be brought to New Orleans within a few years and to promote Louisiana's presence at MIDEM in January.

VI. General Statistics

First Five Months of 1998

• Phone Contacts January 1 to May 13: 2000+
• Outgoing Mail Pieces: 231
• Incoming Emails: 400+
• Website visitors: 2000+
• General Assistance provided directly to more than 450 people/entities
• Preliminary Estimated Economic Impact of LMC Work: $475,000+


Next Scheduled Meeting of the LMC: July 13
On Agenda: Bylaws, Preliminary Marketing Plans, Review of Strategic Plan revisions

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Louisiana Music Commission
3330 N. Causeway Blvd. Suite 438
Metairie LA 70002
Phone: 504-838-5600 Fax: 504-838-5280