Yesterday, the Atlanta City Council struck down a proposed ordinance that had outraged the local music industry. The ordinance, Z-16-069, would have clamped down restrictions on studios operating in the city and potentially eliminated most of the home studios in which so many of our local bands and artists record. Thanks to a unified and outspoken music community, the concerns of studio owners, artists, and industry professionals alike were heard in the 14 to 1 vote. Councilwoman Felicia Moore, who had proposed the ordinance, cast the lone vote in its favor.
Renowned Atlanta producer and four-time Grammy winner Graham Marsh had this to say following the vote:
“It was so important that this legislation get voted down because a.) it would have made owning and operating future studios in Atlanta extremely difficult, and with the music business being as dynamic, and fragile as it is, the city does not need to be making it any harder for us to earn a living in this industry and b.) more importantly for me, the context of this legislation was based in the perception that the recording industry is inherently dangerous and full of criminals. I take offense to that and it simply isn’t true. If this had passed it would have cemented that perception in the public’s mind and all but killed the music industry in Atlanta. I say that with zero hyperbole.”
Although this brush with legislative catastrophe has provided some uncertainty regarding Atlanta’s security as a music hub, there’s definitely a silver lining here. Local musicians, producers, and music lovers from around the city joined together and made their voices heard. The Atlanta City Council appear to have acknowledged and considered the community’s concerns. After 2016, I have almost come to expect bad news, so this vote was a welcome relief. I think we can all agree this is a positive note on which to begin a better year.