Music Technology Cluster?

A funny thing happened at the various events last week (VentureAtlanta, Future Media Georgia, and GVU’s Demo Day

I suddenly noticed how many music technology companies have recently sprung up in Georgia!Here’s a quick list, but I am probably missing some:

Some of these have raised substantial venture money, some are operating on a shoestring, and at least one has multiple millions in revenue already.  One of the neat things is that these are coming from multiple directions—Georgia Tech, SCAD, even the Athens music scene.

Then you add in all the music studios that call Atlanta home. Think we’re seeing a cluster being born? IndieMusicTech seems to think so…


  1. Stephen,

    It’s nice to read about the various industry clusters in town. It made me think, as well, about some recent chatter re: the general lack of corporate involvement with the start-up community.

    I have a suggestion:

    Perhaps ATDC host monthly Cluster Pitch meetings, a different cluster each month. Start-ups make 5 min pitch & take 5 min Q&A, but instead of the panel being angels or vc’s or advisory types, the panel are industry execs, buyer types for a given cluster. People like Laurie Baird from Turner.

    At the end of each pitch, the industry execs vote: Yes I want to meet, or No we wouldn’t be interested (could be anonymous vote). This gives start-ups the opportunity to pitch exec’s on their business, with immediate feedback; and, it engages exec’s with the breadth and depth of talent in Atlanta. Angels & VC can sit in the audience, evaluating these selling oppty’s against their pre-conceived notions of what might work in a given market.

    Hope you find it a useful suggestion.


  2. Just give me an excuse to bring eJamming into Atlanta… 🙂

    …hmm… one of the captcha words for this post is tuneless… is that bad?

  3. Stephen, I agree and would add Rickwood Music to the list. Chris Rickwood (@ChrisRickwood) is an award winning composer who creates dramatic music scores for video games, film and television. He has composed over 20 scores for Cartoon Network New Media and is currently working on a project for Hi-Rez Studio’s Global Agenda. He spoke at this year’s SEIGE conference and is widely considered to be a leader in the industry.

    Work done by artists like Chris qualifies as an expense under Georgia’s Entertainment tax incentive, meaning that companies outside of Georgia can get tax credits in Georgia for using a Georgia-based company like Rickwood Music. These tax credits are transferable if the company has no Georgia tax liability – in other words, a company can sell these tax credits to a company that does have Georgia tax liability through a broker. I mention this because while many people know we have an aggressive tax incentive for Georgia Entertainment companies, they might not know that there is also an incentive for companies to use Georgia-based companies for such projects. Asante Bradford (gro.aigroeGnull@drofdarBA) is a great resource for additional information.

  4. Thanks for this post Stephen, as a music tech cluster is being born, and it should be given the significance of Georgia’s role in the music industry for over 100 years. Additionally, your assessment is a reflection of Georgia music. That is, music in Georgia is not limited to one city or geographic location; rather, Georgia’s musicians and bands have come from Macon, Savannah, Athens, Augusta, Atlanta, Statesboro and all points in between, from Country legends like Travis Tritt, Kenny Rogers and Alan Jackson, to global acts like R.E.M. and the Allman Brothers Band, and hip hop artists like Jermaine Dupri, Ludacris, and Usher, as well rising sensations like Sugarland and alternative pioneers The B-52’s, but let’s not also forget our seminal artists like the great Otis Redding or Ray Charles, and of course the godfather of Soul, James Brown.

    Let’s continue to grow the music tech scene to help our Georgia artists, onward!


  5. Your recognition of an emerging trend in the music technology space is duly noted. While our company,The Music Producer, is focused primarily on music production software empowering people to make their own music on their PCs, many peripheral music related companies are emerging. [gratuitous advertising deleted – SRF] Music is very viral and we believe that music creation will be the next big thing in the user-generated content space. Crazy excitement happenig in this sector!

    The popularity and success of Guitar Hero and Rock Band have created a whole new generation of music enthusiasts. While some will go on to purchase and play classical instruments such as guitar, drums, etc., most have a PC at home to begin messing around with a music creation software application.

    Furthermore, I think it is interesting for the Atlanta VC community to take note of these interesting trends. I completely agree that a music technology cluster is being …or possibly has been born. The question is, who wants to be a bigger part of it and who is best positioned to reap the benefits at this juncture?


  6. As Duncan explained, it comes as no surprise that the State of Georgia is becoming a hub for this kind of activity. We have a rich history, and artists need to become further aware of the local digital resources that could benefit their careers.

    I think Edward made a great suggestion. There’s plenty of music business related entities that could have a real interest in digital side of the space. The ATDC could function as the perfect pipeline for both sides of the table to meet.

    I’m a firm believer that you should play to your strengths in business, but also as a community. The more collaboration we see, the more success stories will emerge from our area. Georgia will always be a great place to get a start in the music business!

    Adam Wexler

  7. music technology is moving so fast these days, that is hard to keep up.

  8. I think that the technology is moving so fast, that these companies are able to push the boundaries of what is achievable.

  9. I share your observation. For the past few years, a few of us have been quietly developing and promoting the idea of a Gateway Center for Tech to be built at 5th and W. P’tree to house the emerging music performance and technology threads at Tech and elsewhere. There needs to be a place with proper technology infrastructure where components can be integrated and then shared with audiences at Tech, in the Atlanta community and around the world. Tech has no place like that now, and this would solve the problem. Lab space, academic classrooms, totally wired black box and big proscenium theater. Think about it! (It would also be a world class location for seminars and symposia which would benefit our overall community!)


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