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Louisiana Music Commission
December 2000 Report
This document is a report on the activities of the Louisiana Music Commission (LMC) from March to December 2000. It includes information on major accomplishments of the agency during that timeframe. These accomplishments cover topics such as the Grammy Hall of Fame & Expo (Grammy Expo), Composite Acoustics, the Jazz Walk of Fame, commercial radio, television developments, marketing initiatives, historical preservation, music business and history education, and other world wide plans. The total direct value of these projects is nearly $80 million, an unprecedented sum in the history of the LMC. Comparing this amount to the LMC's budget produces a ratio of results compared to budget. In the past this ratio has been as high as 15:1, and averaged 8:1 the last few years. Today that ratio is 250:1.
In fulfilling its mission "to promote and develop popular commercial music and its related industries" (LA R.S. 25:315), the LMC continues to:
Be a catalyst for the success of major music projects in Louisiana
Serve as a valuable reference and consultation resource to individuals and companies
Lead state government into better developing, promoting, documenting, educating and appreciating the state's vital music resources and legacy
The diversity and scale of projects currently underway (and proposed) continue to be unprecedented in the history of the LMC, and, in many cases, in the history of Louisiana.
The strong support of the Office of Governor Mike Foster, his staff and the State Legislature has been directly responsible for the success of the LMC. Additionally, relationships with major institutions such as the Experience Music Project in Seattle, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC, the Memphis & Shelby County Music Commission, the National Park Service, the Texas Music Office, the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities and other similar active organizations, are increasing the effectiveness of the LMC.
Direct initiatives to support and stimulate the retail side of the industry are on an upswing. Our Buy Louisiana Music.com initiative (we've registered buylouisianamusic.com) is attracting attention and is a fundamental part of all advertising. Our workforce development efforts, such as the success of Composite Acoustics in Lafayette in securing a state workforce grant, are moving forward. A new commercial FM radio show hosted and produced by Bernie Cyrus is currently airing. Additionally, thanks to a public forum the LMC staged in Lafayette in October, efforts to create a multi million dollar television production similar to Austin City Limits are on a fast track.
The volume of work undertaken by the LMC has increased as have the positive results. Despite the small staff and the overwhelming nature and scale of many LMC projects, the office continues to advise and assist hundreds of people annually. And the number of incoming calls, mail and email requests for meetings and general assistance is growing.
The details contained in this report reveal that the LMC is responsive, proactive and working effectively to fulfill its mission.
Louisiana's music industry continues to benefit from a stable economy and a growth in the number of CDs released by the state's pool of artists and companies. Annual international sales of product by Louisiana artists and labels are hovering near the $500,000,000 mark, though most sales are by major labels. In November, Louisiana-related sales listed on the Billboard charts totaled $450,000,000. People are buying the work of Louisiana musicians.
Major record companies are selling more records than ever, creating megastars and megabusinesses. However this phenomenon has opened new opportunities for enterprising companies to work with small to mid-selling artists, the typical Louisiana act. Thus the current industry is leaving the business of development of new artists and the management of mid-level artists in the hands of managers, agencies, production companies and most of all, the artists themselves. The fairly recent rise of artist-run labels in hip hop music is a good example best evidenced in Louisiana by No Limit and Cash Money, two of the most successful independent record companies in the world.
Digital convergence is affecting the way people buy music. It is empowering artists and entrepreneurs. Connecting consumers and producers more immediately and completely than ever in history. More musical artists make their own recordings now than ever in the history of the music industry. And more new music ventures, labels, production companies, publishers, promoters and producers are taking a chance in this fickle and often serendipitous business. And, digital downloading--so far--is not affecting sales. However, in the overall record industry, only 3,000 of the more than 33,000 records released last year made money.
Technologies continue to evolve. Commissioner Li asked the LMC staff to research the changes in the type of CDs produced, such as enhanced, or containing video. Major labels are slowing testing the waters of enhanced CD formats, particularly DVD or digital video disk technology. Aaron Neville's latest record, Devotion, was released in a DVD format. For now, traditional CDs are the dominant media. However, DVD is the fastest growing consumer technology in history with more than 10 million DVD players sold to the general public as of September 2000. In 2001, computers will come equipped with DVD/CD read-write capability, further increasing the adoption of DVD as the dominant media. (See this News.com story for more details)
MP3 continues to be the format that dominates Internet distribution. However, the industry is still moving toward the standards set by the Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI). Developments by Louisiana-based VedaLabs, an SDMI developer, are being watched carefully by the LMC staff. The LMC is working with VedaLabs to connect Louisiana labels and artists with the latest technologies for secure Internet distribution.
Louisiana recording facilities are holding their own. Always a volatile industry due to the overhead of maintaining state of the art equipment and staff, a cursory check of several major studios indicates that business is stable. However, the influx of reasonably priced digital recording gear is empowering many artists. Simultaneously, it cuts into the traditional studio business the way the proliferation of Kinko's hurt traditional printing shops. Despite this influx of technology, commercial recording facilities remain productive. Additionally, audio-to-video post production facilities are busy, with the prospects of increased business thanks to the support of Louisiana film and video producers, including Steven Soderberg, the Baton Rouge native who directed Erin Brockovich.
Louisiana's biggest selling artists continue to do well. Louisiana's independent music industry is fairly stable. And the state's other music resources continue to be productive. All in all, the year 2000 will be looked upon as a very good year for Louisiana's music businesses.
Louisiana Music Commission Report
Grammy Hall of Fame & Exposition
This is the most significant project ever undertaken by the LMC. A private investment company, Newman & Associates, has offered to underwrite the sale of $55 million in tax free bonds via a state public agency. This commitment is dependent upon the company's acceptance of a feasibility study of the potential of the project. The feasibility study was recently conducted by Economics Research Associates at a cost of $42,000. Additionally, the Foster administration has pledged to support the project with $10 million in Capital Outlay funds, $5 million in each of the next two fiscal years. The LMC successfully raised funds for the study from three sources: the Governor's Office of Urban Affairs & Development via Rep. Karen Carter, the Downtown Development District and the City Council/Entergy economic development fund via MetroVision. Since these funds needed to be contributed via a nonprofit agency, New Orleans Jazz Centennial Celebration (NOJCC) agreed to act as a pass-through for the money. None of the funds were retained by NOJCC. This facility will rival the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in significance. Michael Greene, president and CEO of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS), in a meeting with Bernie Cyrus, pledged to devote three minutes of each year's Grammy telecast to promoting the Hall of Fame. Greene also agreed to hold some of the traditionally off-site awards presentations at the new facility. If site lease agreements can be formulated in the next couple of months, the project could reach the construction stage before the end of 2001 with an opening as soon as December 2002.
Jazz Walk of Fame
Other grants and support funds have contributed to the continued development of this significant project. The interactive exhibit areas are to be funded by sponsors. Several local corporations and organizations have signed on to sponsor exhibit areas. Fifteen of the interactive multimedia vignettes were authored by Hogan Jazz Archives director Bruce Raeburn and produced by Dale Smith of Multi-Media, the same producer who developed the interactive exhibits at the Old State Capitol. This project is now at the $1 million mark in total investment. Funds have come from federal, state and private sources. This is the most complex, cooperative project in the history of the LMC, involving the efforts of the Corps of Engineers, the Orleans Levee District, the State of Louisiana, economic development and neighborhood development groups in Algiers, and private corporations.
A new musical instrument manufacturer is growing in Lafayette. Composite Acoustics is developing a line of musical instruments made from advanced composite materials, mainly carbon fiber and epoxy combinations. The technology was developed by company founder Ellis Seal when he worked at the Michoud plant developing the composite nose cone of the external fuel tank of the space shuttle. The first two instruments are an acoustic guitar and an acoustic bass. Since Ellis Seal is a scientist/engineer with an exceptional knowledge of the acoustic properties of advanced composite materials, we believe this company is making instruments of the highest quality available in the market. The LMC has assisted the company in raising funds, in raising awareness of the product amongst potentially helpful state agencies, in refining their business plan and with general strategic planning. We are happy to report that the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget recently approved a Workforce Development grant of approximately $300,000 for the company. We are also courting venture capitalists and other potential investors on behalf of the company. Composite Acoustics' business plan calls for the company to have 300 employees within the next 5 years.
New Orleans Musicians Clinic
The LMC successfully raised and transferred $5,000 from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) to the New Orleans Musicians Clinic. The check was given to the clinic on September 13 at a press conference held at the medical center. Additionally, the LMC worked to raise money for the clinic by assisting in a major fundraiser held as a book release party for Ken Burns' Jazz. This event attracted supporters from around the country, bringing major music, medical and pharmaceutical leaders to New Orleans in support of the clinic. Cash and in-kind support such as medical services, community outreach and donations of medicines make this fund raiser immeasurably important in the development of this, the first of its kind, medical facility for musicians. The LMC is actively working to expand the clinic to other Louisiana cities as part of the LSU Heath Care Network.
Radio and Television Initiatives
The LMC is actively working to develop a Louisiana Music Network with radio and television companies to expand opportunities for Louisiana music. New radio stations include WSJZ "New Orleans Smooth Jazz" and Eagle 106.1 Rock in Hammond. Both stations are actively playing Louisiana artists. These stations join approximately 30 Louisiana radio operations that are currently featuring Louisiana music. All stations are listed on the LMC website with complete contact information. Bernie Cyrus is currently producing and hosting a show on Eagle 106.1 in Hammond that features a single artist for the entire show. The station airs the program on Sunday nights. Additionally, efforts to create a high quality Louisiana music television show are moving forward. Thanks to the Baton Rouge Advocate coverage of the LMC public forum in Lafayette, the issue of a high quality Louisiana music television show was brought before the public. The result is that several entities, including a major effort that we must hold in confidence at this time, are working to develop such a show.
LMC Public Forum in Lafayette
The LMC held a Public Forum in Lafayette on October 30 to discuss the work of the commission and music industry issues of concern to music professionals in that region. Two sessions were held, morning and evening. Approximately 30 people attended including recording/performing artists, management/production representatives, music activists and radio managers. The early session was covered by both print press and local television. An article in the Acadiana section of the Baton Rouge paper, The Advocate, focused on a discussion regarding the need for more television coverage and a high quality Austin City Limits-type show. As a result of the press coverage, several people contacted the LMC to discuss the possibility of developing such a show. Several potential locations are actively working on this issue, including major Louisiana television production companies and regional educational institutions.
Cutting Edge Music Conference
The 8th Annual Cutting Edge Music Conference & Roots Music Gathering was held September 20-24 at the Mariott Hotel. A strong lineup of leading music professionals with a focus on digital issues led panels at this year's conference. Attendance was down from the previous year. However, several of the panels focused on timely issues that led to spirited discussions. The LMC again was a major sponsor of Cutting Edge and helped add cooperative programs by the Internet Coalition.
Since this effort moved into the operations of New Orleans Jazz Centennial Celebration in 1997, Jason Patterson, program director, has been increasing the scope of the Jazz Informances to the entire state. And, if the National Park Service joins the effort, the Informances will expand regionally. Over the last few school years this program has reached a total of more than 100,000 elementary school students. This is the most effective and successful music legacy educational project in the history of Louisiana. The LMC helps NOJCC inform schools about the program and provides limited administrative support via student assistants. A teachers' guide and study materials for the Informances were designed by Cherice Harrison-Nelson, a public school teacher, to enhance the learning experience.
Louisiana Music History CD ROM Project and Other Education Efforts
The LMC commissioned historian Tad Jones to author a script titled, "An Introduction to the Popular Music History of Louisiana." The script is scheduled to be completed in December, 2000. Further development of the CD will be dependent upon a continuation of the LMC's budget in the next fiscal year. If completed on time, this CD will be distributed to schools throughout the state in time for the Fall 2001 school year. This is the first project of its kind in. The LMC is also working with Gregg Ostrick, a puppeteer and producer of musical works and activity books designed to help children learn about our music legacy. Additionally, we assisted Tim Wells, a second grade teacher who developed a CD and lesson plan using music to teach children about values and manners.
Shreveport Region Projects
The LMC initiated a partnership with the City of Shreveport and the National Park Service to make the Municipal Auditorium a component of the Jean Lafitte National Park. This ongoing effort is motivated by a desire to assist Shreveport in bringing live entertainment back to the Auditorium and restart the Louisiana Hayride show. Since the park service was instrumental in establishing the weekly Rendezvous des Cajun at the Liberty Theater in Eunice, the LMC believes a similar partnership could provide the resources necessary to revive the Hayride. Also, the Shreveport Regional Arts Council Music Committee invited Assistant Director Steve Picou to address their group on November 1. More than 25 people attended the two hour presentation and participated in discussions about LMC projects and how their active committee could help strengthen the local music industry.
The LMC, as part of its workforce development efforts, worked for two years to assist the owner of the largest club on Beale Street, Silky Sullivan, locate a property in the French Quarter for a second location. On September 29, Silky O'Sullivan's opened at 311 Decatur. An Amtrak train delivered a crowd of Memphis supporters to the event. The new venue features live music and employs 40 people. Another important Memphis program, Bluestock, held November 16-18 in Memphis, featured many Louisiana artists. Also done in conjunction with Amtrak, a special Blues Express train brought nearly 100 Louisiana music lovers and musicians to Memphis. The LMC worked with Bluestock organizers in securing talent and promoting the event. The LMC contributed only in-kind services in being a co-sponsor of the event. Some of the Louisiana bands who participated in Bluestock were hired by Memphis venues for future bookings. These two projects are part of a long term effort to better link the music resources of Memphis and Louisiana.
New Orleans-South Africa Connection (NOSACONN)
Damon Batiste is leading a major effort to link economic and cultural resources between Louisiana and South Africa. An exchange of musical talent, economic development leaders and private business entities has proven to be very successful. Events have been staged in both South Africa and New Orleans resulting in the development of business deals and artistic projects. This initiative has tremendous potential for expanding business and arts relationships resulting in better international trade and commerce. The LMC is working with NOSACONN as a sponsor and advisor.
The LMC is a key player in helping Louisiana profit from the ongoing digital convergence. Staff participate in meetings, forums and other gatherings of tech business leaders working to improve the state's overall tech industry. The LMC is also responsible for brokering what may become the most significant Internet business alliance to date in the state's history. In separate meetings with founders of VedaLabs of Baton Rouge and NetEx (now Certia) of New Orleans, two of the world's leading companies working on secure Internet delivery of music, video, private documents and more, the LMC determined that the two companies' business models were complimentary. As a result of the LMC's efforts, VedaLabs and Certia met and began developing a business relationship that continues to evolve. The LMC is a strong advocate for Louisiana companies working to build the state's digital future.
Buy Louisiana Music.com
The LMC added a new page and domain name to serve as a portal to retail Louisiana music resources. Buylouisianamusic.com has been registered and set up as part of the LMC website. This section of the LMC site is now where new CD releases are announced. The page contains links to Louisiana retailers, record companies and others selling Louisiana music over the Internet. This project is also intended to be a cooperative effort with other state agencies. The LMC seeks to add the Buy Louisiana Music phrase/bug to other agencies' advertising to help leverage state promotional spending to better benefit the welfare of the Louisiana music industry upon which much of tourism is built. Recent overtures to the Lt. Governor's office have been positive. The LMC expects to be able to make a joint statement with Lt. Governor Blanco and the Office of Tourism on this project very soon.
Low Power Radio
A coalition of major broadcasters including the National Association of Broadcasters, National Public Radio, the Religious Broadcasting Association and other traditional companies united to fight the FCC's Low Power Radio Initiative. Citing potential technical interference problems as the main reason for opposing the measure, these groups succeeded in getting last minute legislation (S.3020) tacked onto budget bills in the waning days of the federal legislative session. However, a bipartisan effort to support Low Power Radio, led by Senator John McCain, fought hard to stop this attempt to kill the initiative. As of the writing of this report, the issue is in limbo, both because of a Presidential veto of the budget bills (for unrelated reasons, though President Clinton supports Low Power Radio) and because of the Presidential election. Louisiana was one of the first states in which applications were accepted and more than 60 groups applied. The majority of applicants are church groups, making the opposition of the Religious Broadcasting Association incongruent with its constituency. The LMC lobbied the Louisiana federal delegation to support Low Power Radio.
The LMC is working with the National Park Service and others in an effort to save what is likely the most significant music history site in the country, the 400 block of South Rampart Street where the Eagle Saloon and Iroquois Theater stand. These are the only remaining early jazz clubs where Buddy Bolden, King Oliver and Louis Armstrong all played. These buildings have become a high priority for the National Park Service and the LMC. Additionally, cooperative programs with NOJCC, like the Jazz Informances produced by Jason Patterson, and the LMC's Louisiana music history CD ROM (likely a DVD by the time it is completed) are significant historical preservation projects that address the most important element in our many-linked chain of musical legacies--children. The LMC is vigilant and active in the identification and preservation of historic music facilities and resources.
The LMC is leading the effort to better document our living music history by producing radio and television shows featuring Louisiana musicians. In addition, the LMC seeks to inspire the production of video and film documentaries on the history of music in the state. This pressing need to better document our ongoing musical story not only helps us preserve our legacy, it also helps us sustain and grow our film and video production resources. The LMC is actively seeking to better connect the state's music producers to the film and television industry by promoting licensable Louisiana songs, experienced composers and arrangers and other music production resources. Working with reference resources, production companies, independent producers and other agencies, the LMC seeks to gain better access to the music supervisors of film and video projects. However, the state needs more people fluent in the business of clearances and licensing to protect both songwriters and film and video producers from the consequences of failing to secure rights.
Expanding Relationships with Other State Agencies
The LMC, as noted previously, is actively working with the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism on issues involving promoting Louisiana music. The agency continues to work effectively with various economic development entities at state and local levels. In addition, the LMC has worked with the Office of the Governor, the Department of Economic Development, the Louisiana Economic Development Corporation, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Elections, the Office of the Attorney General, the Office of Film & Video, the Department of Labor, the Department of Education, the Department of Revenue, the Office of Risk Management, and numerous state universities and community colleges. The LMC seeks to be an example to all state agencies by breaking down barriers between state institutions and uniting in the effort to promote and develop our unique and vital music resources.
The LMC is also closely monitoring the evolution of audio and video hardware and software. Affordable digital technology is bringing broadcast quality audio and video production gear directly into the hands of creative artists, multiplying the number of people generating creative content exponentially. And software is revolutionizing the process of composition and recording. Getting these new tools into the hands of Louisiana school children is an important step in the preservation of Louisiana's high level of musicianship. However, as technology has expanded the number of people with access to quality production tools, it has also allowed these artists to join the clamor of the marketplace for the attention of consumers. This combination of empowerment and competition is the double-edged sword of rapid change. The LMC works to stay on top of these changes and better serve its constituency by being a reliable source of information regarding tools, products and the marketplace. Indeed as a frequent producer of radio and television shows, the LMC needs to add basic production equipment to the office network to better promote Louisiana music via radio, television and the Internet.
The Loyola Music Business Degree Program completed its first semester. Demand for the program is high with more than 60 students joining the inaugural class. Other universities are adding scattered entertainment business courses to curricula around the state. But no state school has instituted any programs geared specifically to the entertainment business. There is still a need to grow the number of people who can work in accounting, publishing (as noted previously in the rights issues involved in making historic documentaries) event production, broadcasting and other components of a thriving entertainment industry. An evaluation of music therapy programs will be conducted by the LMC in the coming months. As the nation's most musical state, this healing aspect of music should be another strong and innovative component of our music industry. There is also a need to be at the cutting edge of multimedia production. Louisiana's campuses have done a good job of developing high tech resources, some of which are geared to the entertainment business. There is a need to evaluate and coordinate these resources.
Primary and Secondary School Music Programs
Every school in Louisiana needs a qualified music teacher. Every school in Louisiana should adhere to the National Standards for Arts Education as promoted by the Louisiana Alliance for Arts Education (LAAE). The LMC remains a strong advocate for music in schools. However, the LMC has few resources to dedicate to this critical need. Thanks to LAAE and the growing mountain of evidence that music helps students do better at both school work and social skills, we see positive trends in this area but still more work.
The LMC continues to address many of the issues raised in the previous report (March 2000) including:
Primary and secondary arts education initiatives with the Louisiana Alliance for Arts Education including adherence to the National Standards for Arts Education
Encouraging better documentation of the state's music history via recordings, interviews and oral history projects
Cooperating with efforts to attract more music-related professional conferences to Louisiana such as American Bar Association Sports and Entertainment Law annual conference
Dealing with copyright issues such as the rights of older songwriters and the owners of older recordings
Expanding the LMC website to add more useful resources
Providing letters of support for individuals and organizations seeking grants and investment in quality public and private sector endeavors
The LMC maintains its diligence in keeping up with timely issues in the music industry and how changes affect Louisiana. The agency has increased its proactive role in the development of viable projects and programs state wide.
A partial listing of people, meetings, discussions, projects and plans that were part of the schedule of the staff since March 2000.
Attended a media event at the Court of Two Sisters
Participated in a meeting of the Music Coalition of Louisiana
Met with Eddie Biggs to discuss a television show
Met with Timothea to plan a Hepatitis-C benefit at the Howlin Wolf in conjunction with the New Orleans Musicians Clinic
Bernie Cyrus co-hosted a talk radio show on WTIX for several weeks
Met with Blaine
to discuss the Jazz Walk of Fame
Planned and participated in a major fundraiser for NOJCC on the Steamboat Natchez
Published a letter in Gambit in support of Nick Spitzer's radio show American Routes
Met with Tad Jones to contract him to develop a script for the CD ROM project
Attended the House of Blues Parish Room preview party
Participated in the Big Easy Awards
Attended the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
Met with Kimberly Williamson of the DDD to discuss the Grammy project
Met with author Rich Knight to discuss his Blues Highway book
Promoted and attended the New Orleans Jazz Club's 52nd anniversary celebration
Attended the screening of a documentary on Harold Battiste at NOCCA
Met with Reuben Carvalho of Lisbon to discuss securing Louisiana talent for Portugal's biggest music festival
Met with VedaLabs founder Jason Hewitt to discuss his company's plans
Attended a meeting of the Armstrong Centennial planners
Met with representatives of EMusic
Met with Cindy Badinger to discuss plans for a major gospel music festival
Met with Orleans School Board member Scott Shea to discuss NOCCA
Met with AFofM Local president Jerry Verges
Attended the grand opening of Jazzland
Bernie Cyrus hosted the Tambalaya Festival
Attended the Bluesberry Festival
Met with Sally Stevens to discuss the designation by the White House of the Blues Highway as a Millennium 2000 resource
Met with Greg Meffert, founder of NetEx to discuss his company's plans to expand into the music business
Met with theater owner Rene Brunet to discuss screening of the Louisiana-made documentary, Gutter Punks
Met with Lydia Girard to discuss her work to develop the career of a new singer named Annie Cotton
Met with Bluff Road Studios owner Harold Cowart discuss upcoming record releases on his label
Attended and addressed an Orleans Levee Board public hearing on the installation of a statue of Louis Armstrong on the Algiers Levee
Met with Tim Galliano of Delgado Community College to discuss an upcoming talent show
Assisted musician Paul Landry of the Oswalds in connecting with radio resource
Attended an Internet Coalition meeting at the City Club
Attended the opening event for the Essence Fest at the House of Blues
Bernie Cyrus hosted the Mandeville Seafood Festival
Met with Daniel Rector to discuss issues involving the video production industry
Traveled to Shreveport to meet with the Mayor, economic development director, numerous heads of city services, representatives of federal elected officials and others to discuss bringing in the National Park Service to develop the Municipal Auditorium and revive the Louisiana Hayride
Met with Dr. Connie Atkinson of UNO to discuss music history issues and the August 2001 Armstrong Centennial
Attended a CD release party for Sam Broussard
Met with Frank Quintini of Monkey Hill Records
Attended a CD release party for Charlie Miller
Met with the New Orleans Opera to discuss a Louisiana Purchase opera
Attended a CD release party for Ghost Town
Met with 5.1 Productions, a video production company, at the opening of a new room at the Hard Rock
Discussed the Napster phenomenon with journalist Scott Jordan of Gambit Weekly
Attended Caffeine Music Songwriters night
Met with Todd Mouton of Bayou Productions and musician Sam Broussard
Met Leslie Soviack regarding adding live music to PJ's on the Northshore
Traveled to Memphis for a NARAS meeting
Met with Steve Teeter of the state museum at the Old US Mint to discuss plans for expansion of music exhibits
Contacted Jimmy Robinson about plans for benefits to help the musicians whose gear was burned in his warehouse fire
Met with Rick Sampson of 4 Unplugged
Attended a workshop at Werlein's for Music
Traveled to Lafayette to meet with representatives of Composite Acoustics
Met with Senator Ken Hollis to discuss music issues
Met with LG Sullivan of the 3rd Line Brass Band
Met with Scott Frederickson and Reid Wick of the Loyola Music Business Degree Program
Met with DED auditor Charles Kelly to discuss new office procedures and requirements
Met with David Paretti of the band One to discuss their new CD
Brokered a meeting between Greg Meffert (NetEx/Certia) and Jason Hewitt (VedaLabs) to discuss whether the two companies should work together
Bernie Cyrus appeared on WSLA radio with host Kateri Yaeger
Attended a meeting of the Alliance for Good Government
Met with Jerry Romig of the LSU Healthcare Foundation
Met with Mark Smith of the Department of Culture, Recreation & Tourism to discuss issues concerning the Office of Film & Video and the general entertainment industry
Hosted Jerry Schilling of the Memphis & Shelby County Music Commission and introduced him to Cosimo Matassa and other significant local music resources
Met with Rep. Karen Carter to discuss her support of the Grammy project and the need for funds to conduct a feasibility study
Attended the Public Relations Society of America banquet and awards
Participated in greeting the Silky's Express Amtrak train and the grand opening of Silky O'Sullivan's
Advised musician Chris Engold on whether to transfer to the UNO Jazz Studies Program
Met with Tom Andre, an independent promoter developing a Louisiana music festival in Rio De Janiero Brazil
Met with Jim Dotson of WLAE TV to discuss Louisiana music television show ideas
Met with Warren Reuther of New Orleans Tours to discuss a possible sponsorship of an exhibit area on the Jazz Walk of Fame
Transferred a $5,000 check from the RIAA to the New Orleans Musicians Clinic in a press conference at the medical center
Attended an Armstrong Centennial meeting
Attended an Orleans Parish Levee Board meeting to pass a resolution for the Armstrong statue
Met with Mark Edwards and Rob Babin of WSJZ radio, a new smooth jazz station that is eager to play Louisiana artists
Met with Matt Coby of Ultrasonic Studios
Attended a battle of the bands at Land O'Pines
Met with Tim Wells to discuss his new children's CD
Attended a Grammy event at the Parish room
Attended an Internet Coalition meeting at the Louisiana Music Factory
Participated in the Cutting Edge music conference
Attended a presentation by a principal of EMusic, a major Internet music company, at an Internet Coalition function
Met with Dirk Geist of Grapevine Records, an independent record store, to discuss tax issues
Met with Covington Mayor Keith Villere
Participated in a conference call with developer Troy Otnott and Cheryl Baxter of Economics Research Associates to discuss the Grammy feasibility study
Attended a special Loyola music business lecture on copyright issues
Lobbied the UNO Senate for funding for the Sandbar jazz series on campus
Met with Jack Storie of Eagle 106.1 in Hammond to discuss putting more Louisiana music on the station
Met with new DED Secretary, Don Hutchinson, the first department Secretary to ever visit the LMC, to discuss the work of the LMC
Discussed the possibility of venture capital investment in Composite Acoustics with Damon Rawie of Advantage Capital
Met with Governor Foster's Chief of Staff, Steve Perry, to discuss the need for the state to commit $10 million to the Grammy project and other issues
Prepared a grant application to the Governor's Office of Urban Affairs & Development to help fund the Grammy feasibility study
Attended a board meeting of the Louisiana Alliance for Arts Education in Baton Rouge
Returned to the UNO Senate to lobby for the Sandbar jazz series
Met with Gary Dauphin of Apple Computer
Bernie Cyrus hosted and taped first show for Eagle 106.1 featuring Randy Jackson of Zebra
Attended Jeff Fest
Met with Jeff Cruere to discuss a new radio talk show featuring Louisiana music
Discussed a potential new television show with Ken Dubuisson
Attended a NOJCC board meeting
Taped the second Eagle 106.1 show featuring Brian Stoltz
Attended the Voodoo Music Festival
Traveled to Lafayette to stage the LMC's first Public Forum
Addressed the Shreveport Regional Arts Council Music Committee
Taped the Eagle 106.1 show featuring the band Coffee
Met with Eric Cager to discuss follow up issues for Cutting Edge
Met with newly elected New Orleans City Council member Scott Shea to discuss repeal of the Amusement Tax
Taped the Eagle 106.1 show featuring John Carey
Assisted Jim Delery of the Jefferson SPCA in formulating plans for a music benefit
Met with Rene Dupree to discuss his proposal to create a music business entity
Participated in a special press conference to promote the Amtrak Blues Train and Bluestock in Memphis
Attended a Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget hearing in support of a workforce development grant for Composite Acoustics
Taped the Eagle 106.1 show featuring Eric Lindell
Met with Voodoo Fest Production Manager Jimmy Mac and the law firm of Tilton & Johnson to discuss formation of a legal structure for the festival including a nonprofit foundation to work with NOCCA and other community resources
Met with Damon Batiste of NOSACONN to discuss his work in building cultural and business relations with South Africa
Prepared a grant application for the City Council utilities fund to pay for the Grammy feasibility study
Taped the Eagle 106.1 show featuring the Oswalds
Met with Dr. Sybil Kein to discuss her work on Creole history and her script for a musical play on the life of Louis Armstrong as a young man in New Orleans
Introduced UNO Development Director Florence Andre to a potential project manager to assist in staging a major concert as part of the Armstrong Centennial in August 2001
Attended two Ken Burns events pertaining to the upcoming airing of his new Jazz series and the release of the accompanying book at a fundraiser for the New Orleans Musicians Clinic
General Office Statistics:
Number of incoming emails: 4000+ Outgoing standard mail: 600
Number of outgoing emails: 500+
An Evaluation Comparing a 1997 Plan Outline to Today
In our May 1997 Report we included an outline we called a plan but was really a snapshot of needs and ideas. It was based on active projects, plans formulated prior to the current LMC administration, long range plans and wishes. The main headings in the outline are Infrastructure Issues, Promotion, Business Investment, and Education. All subheadings are comprised of components that represent actual LMC work areas and many long term discussion/advocacy issues. This appendix is an analysis of the 1997 outline with notes on where we are as of December 2000.
An Analysis of the LMC May 1997 Report Plan Outline: A Comparison to LMC Activities as of December 2000
1997 Outline in this font
2000 notes in this font
1. Infrastructure Issues
The LMC maintains a strong focus on the welfare of the working musician. We strive to develop programs that help put money into the pockets of the people upon whom this industry is built, musicians. When musicians are making a living, everyone else in the music business is doing great. A healthy legal environment for live music is a fundamental component of a thriving music industry. To attain its highest economic and cultural impact, live music must expand beyond bars, theaters and arenas. Paid performance opportunities must be developed for where people gather to shop, work, live, heal and learn. And without exposure to the public via radio and television, the recording industry cannot thrive Musicians and music professionals need to protect their rights and be paid for their work. Professional educational resources are expanding via traditional school settings, forums and conferences, and the Internet. Since 1997, the LMC has productively addressed the majority of the following topics.
a.) Government Policies
City of New Orleans Amusement Tax on Live Music
After 6 years of pressure led by the LMC, a lawsuit helped get the tax lowered from 5% to 2% in 1998. The LMC is still working to either completely eliminate this tax or redirect it to music resources.
Louisiana Music Code
This predates the current administration. Often a subject of conversation, an update of the original document drafted in 1991 is still needed as part of a general revisiting of the issue.
Tax Incentives for Investment in New Music Businesses
A difficult issue, especially since the state is struggling with tax and revenue issues. No concrete feasible ideas have been formulated or suggested.
b.) Work Opportunities
Expanding Music Presentation Opportunities
The LMC has been very successful in this area thanks to radio and television efforts, initiatives such as the Memphis projects, and NOJCC. Starting in 1995, the LMC helped raise, via NOJCC, funds to stage live music in public areas. Additionally, the Jazz Informances program generates dozens of paid live performances annually. Exposure means gigs, and the LMC's radio and television efforts put music into the cars and homes of the buying public. The LMC maintains a strong focus on this topic.
Louisiana Music Network
Many components of the network are coming together as a result of LMC outreach efforts around the state.
Radio and Television
Since 1992 the LMC has worked hard to open up more radio and television opportunities for Louisiana music. It is one of the most successful areas of concentration. As a result, the LMC can claim to have assisted more Louisiana artists in getting exposure on commercial radio and television than any organization in the history of the state. From advocating, conceiving, producing and even hosting, the LMC has been responsible for generating literally hundreds of hours of radio and television promoting Louisiana music.
Bringing Music to Where People are Gathered
A healthy music industry is one that is integrated into the overall lifestyles of society. From music therapy for all stages of life to shopping malls to schools to conventions to neighborhood recreation centers, the diversity of paid live performance opportunities must be expanded.
Shopping Centers, Sporting Events
As noted above, thanks to NOJCC projects, many live performances were staged. The LMC still needs to advocate and keep this issue visible.
Charity and Church Functions and Fund raisers
Pay the band! That has always been a part of the LMC staff's lexicon when dealing with requests for assistance in securing talent for charitable events.
c.) Songwriter Rights and Royalties Search Service
The LMC is a strong advocate for securing rights and royalties for legitimate songwriters. This issue is often one involving injustice. It is also one of ignorance of legal matters on the part of the artist. The LMC has actively lobbied state law schools and others to address this area.
Return royalties to Louisiana songwriters and heirs
This is one of the most painful issues the LMC faces. Phone calls from distressed artists, widows and heirs are reminders that more needs to be done. The LMC actively worked to convince law schools that a program that identifies eligible songs and their writers and heirs in Louisiana needs to be established. A substantial fund is needed to begin such a program.
Expand pool of lawyers and accountants in publishing
Explained partially in the previous note. Since 1997 the number of students in law school taking courses in music issues has grown. And thanks to the initiation of the music business degree program at Loyola, the number of students addressing the general business of music is also growing. Attracting successful attorneys and accountants from other major media cities has been discussed. The LMC works to recruit former Louisiana natives now living in other cities who are successful in these interrelated fields.
d.) Seminars, Conferences and Reference Materials
Providing and assisting with lifelong professional education is an important part of the LMC's work. Since 1997 the LMC has participated in several well staged conferences, forums or seminars.
Music Conferences on Industry Issues
Conferences such as Cutting Edge and LMNOP and forums like the Music in the Digital Millennium forum held by Tulane Law School as well as the first of many public forums staged by the LMC are all important steps taken since 1997. Cutting Edge just staged its 8th annual conference.
All of the conferences and the digital music forum had continuing legal educational components. The conferences all had multiple educational components.
Booklets and Pamphlets
The LMC produced a pamphlet about the organization in 1999. Staff frequently discuss developing a series of educational booklets or pamphlets, but limited resources in the office and budget have prevented development of any such printed materials.
e.) Online Resources
An area of intense interest in the music industry. The LMC is at the forefront of awareness and implementation regarding the Internet and related issues.
Internet Web Site
In August 1997 the LMC launched its website. In 1999 it registered the domain name louisianamusic.org. The site is information rich, easy to download and simple to navigate. The LMC site contains news, reference resources, CD release and sales information, general information produced by the LMC and more. In 2000, the LMC registered buylouisianamusic.com to create a portal to retail Louisiana music resources on the web. A very successful and useful part of the LMC's operations.
Basic business resources and reference library
Most of these resources are provided via the LMC website. Digital convergence is making the need for physical resources such as books and directories in a library, increasingly obsolete. The Department of Economic Development maintains a professionally run library that frequently assists the LMC in conducting research.
Links to Louisiana music artists and resources
Since 1997 the LMC website has provided linked information to literally thousands of Louisiana music businesses and artists via news stories, press releases and links to other directories.
Since 1997 the LMC has invested more of its budget in advertising and promotion than ever in its history. However, much more could be accomplished with more cooperation between the LMC and other state agencies that advertise heavily.
a.) Working with Department of Tourism
The LMC has assisted the Department of Tourism with its Montreal Jazz Festival efforts by providing information about bands and artists. Additionally, the LMC frequently assists press contacts referred by Tourism. Much more could be done with Tourism.
Louisiana Music Trail
There have been no developments with this project since 1997.
Campaign to Build Pride in Local Music Resources
A discussion topic so far.
b.) Working with National and International Press
The LMC has consistently been successful in generating press and in working as a liaison assisting writers, producers and others seeking to interact with Louisiana's music resources.
c.) Developing New Media Outlets for Louisiana Music
The LMC has maintained a strong focus on this issue, as noted previously. Since 1997 there has been no net gain in the number of radio shows. However, there have been changes, mostly due to ownership consolidation in the radio industry. The loss of some stations has been offset by new efforts by other stations.
Radio and Television Shows
There are more than 30 radio shows and at least 3 television shows in the state that feature Louisiana music. Since 1997 the LMC has assisted in promoting and/or developing three new radio shows and two television efforts.
Louisiana Music Network
3. Business Investment
A longtime complaint amongst people in the music industry in Louisiana is a lack of both awareness and investment by traditional financial institutions and business support organizations. Since 1997 the LMC has partnered with several organizations such as the Downtown Development District and MetroVision in New Orleans and the Mayor's economic development office in Shreveport. Additionally, the LMC has engaged in discussions with the Lafayette Economic Development Authority, the Louisiana Economic Development Corporation, and venture capital firms.
a.) Attracting New Business
Working in partnership with state and local economic development entities, the LMC is actively working to attract music businesses to the state. Since 1997 the LMC has developed an ongoing relationship with Memphis that resulted in the opening of a new venue in New Orleans and a growing access to the Memphis music industry on behalf of Louisiana musical acts.
Manufacturing of Instruments
The LMC featured two manufacturers at a Louisiana Music Day at the Legislature in 1999. Additionally, the LMC is working with Composite Acoustics and Electrofaulken Engineering as a consultant, to raise capital and to promote their products. This is a growing aspect of the Louisiana music industry.
Manufacturing and Duplication of Recorded Products
The LMC conducted extensive research on this subject and determined that the market for replication (complete manufacturing) of CDs was saturated. Indeed, a price war broke out amongst CD replicators bringing the cost of producing product to new lows and fueling the unprecedented number of new releases by Louisiana artists. Duplication, or "burning" CDs with recorders using pre-manufactured blank writeable CDs is growing and most recording facilities in the state offer on site or direct access to duplication resources. Duplication is often used when pressing less than 1000 CDs.
Management and Agencies
Since 1997 this aspect of the industry has seen little significant change. A longtime weakness in the Louisiana music industry, the state is still lacking in the number of significant companies in these fields. Though several individual managers and agents reside in the state, there are almost no companies like William Morris or Monterey Artists handling the affairs and bookings of stables of artists. Also, efforts to create standards for these fields are part of the Louisiana Music Code effort that is currently stalled.
Local Record Labels
No area has seen as much growth since 1997 as this one. The rise in the number of independent record labels and their subsequent releases of product is unprecedented since the 1950s. And very successful companies, led by No Limit and Cash Money, continue to develop. Sustaining this aspect requires extensive networks of promotion and support via airplay and the press. However, the sheer volume of product means that many releases will not get the attention needed for success, a problem worldwide due to the incredible increase in the number of recordings released annually.
Major Record Companies and Publishers
The LMC has a good relationship with the VP of A&R and Promotions of Atlantic Records. However, since major labels are more oriented than ever toward artists who sell more than a million records, the agency has not expended a lot of time and energy maintaining a database of the ever-changing executives in this part of the industry. Rather, the LMC is focused on growing Louisiana businesses that can do business with major labels.
b.) Attracting Louisiana Stars' Business
This is an important component of the industry, providing needed services to successful Louisiana stars. Most of the companies providing management, booking, tour coordination, production services and other necessary jobs surrounding successful working musical acts are based out of the state. As Louisiana grows its pool of music business talent, it should be possible to attract more of this business. This is still in the conceptual stages.
c.) Attracting Investment via Incentives
Several conceptual ideas regarding investment incentives have been discussed, but none are feasible at this time. The state did establish a major incentive program to build venture capital in the state and the LMC tapped into this situation in seeking investment for Composite Acoustics.
d.) International Business Expansion
Much of the business of music for Louisiana artists is based on demand in foreign countries, particularly Europe and Japan. Louisiana's French music is popular in Canada and France, where Zachary Richard is a very popular star, for instance. However the complexity involved in collection of royalties has reduced the overall potential of these markets. The LMC has actively explored the possibility of establishing an official clearinghouse for royalty collections in Europe, but no concrete action has been taken. The development of NOSACONN has brought business resources in South Africa to the table, though that continent was not a part of the original 1997 outline.
Central and South America
Despite the fact that the LMC's official charge involves "popular commercial music and related industries" (LA R.S. 25:315) the agency takes a holistic approach to maintaining the health and economic vitality of the state's unique music resources. Unless children grow up feeling connected to Louisiana's amazing music history and diverse musical styles, our future economic wellbeing is threatened. Thus the LMC initiated efforts to produce a CD ROM on Louisiana music history. Additionally, the LMC works on professional music business education needs. These areas are growing rapidly but need focus and more support.
a.) K-12 programs
Community Music School Programs
Commissioner Xiao-Lu Li established a music conservatory that serves the Lafayette area. The demand for this kind of music institute was surprisingly big. This kind of effort could be duplicated in other Louisiana cities and serves to reduce the strain on limited school music programs. It also provides music instruction for all ages, a very important role. The LMC has explored this area but taken no action due to limited resources.
Educational Informances on Louisiana Music History
Thanks to NOJCC and Jason Patterson, since 1997 more than 100,000 elementary school children have participated in living music history lessons via Jazz Informances. Funds are raised from regional arts councils and the Division of the Arts Decentralized Arts Funds. This is one of the most successful programs in which the LMC is participating and the most successful program of its kind in the state's history.
Education Book on Louisiana Music
Originally started during the Roemer administration, the LMC has used this booklet, which was not fully developed, as a resource for the CD ROM project.
Holistic Approach to Music Instruction that Leads to College
This is the ideal scenario for Louisiana's educational systems. Thanks to the work of the Louisiana Alliance for Arts Education (the LMC is a partner and holds a board seat) in getting state primary and secondary schools to adhere to the National Standards for Arts Education, progress is being made.
Louisiana Alliance for Arts Education
Noted in the previous topic. LAAE is the state's leading organization working on arts education issues in the state and is a component of the Kennedy Center for Arts Education.
b.) Higher Education programs
Jazz studies programs existed at several Louisiana universities in 1997. Since that time other programs have been initiated in colleges of music, business and law. This area is growing and the LMC monitors this aspect closely. Staff eagerly participate in planning sessions and other efforts to develop new entertainment-related programs. The LMC also provides letters of support for grant applications to equip university and community college campuses with new audio and video production gear to help teach these fields.
Music Programs in Jazz and Louisiana Music
Jazz programs exist, as noted previously. Another program is in development in Lafayette. The Dr. Tommy Comeaux Endowed Chair in Traditional Louisiana Music Studies at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette is the first major endowed chair to be developed specifically for Louisiana music. This effort, which honors a former LMC commissioner, is well supported by the LMC via promotional efforts.
Support Jobs Training Events
The LMC works to promote and sponsor professional educational programs, seminars and forums. This area is growing but needs more support. The LMC Public Forums address this issue in encouraging regional music supporters to develop plans that will benefit local music.
Planning and Management
Other than components of the Loyola Music Business Degree Program, and occasional workshops at regional arts councils, the LMC is unaware of any substantial programs in this field.
Audio and Technical Engineering Fields
The LMC has seen a growth in community college efforts to add more audio and video production equipment to allow for training in these fields. Some of the concepts need to be part of secondary school programs. NOCCA, Covington High School and a few magnet schools in the state are working on providing access to audio and video production as part of campus information programs.
As noted in the previous topic, audio and video production facilities, which are moving rapidly to a digital format utilizing computers, are expanding on campuses state wide. Also, there are nonprofit efforts to provide access and education for the general citizenry in many Louisiana communities and parishes. Several significant developments, such as the plan to build a major arts/technology center in St. Joseph in rural Northeast Louisiana, will help bring more of Louisiana online and into the future of entertainment and business. This is the fastest growing component of the entertainment industry. Television stations, radio and Internet companies utilize multimedia experts to bring their businesses to the marketplace. The LMC is a strong proponent of digital technologies and education efforts in this area.
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Louisiana Music Commission
3330 N. Causeway Blvd. Suite 438
Metairie LA 70002
Phone: 504-838-5600 Fax: 504-838-5280