Ahead of Super Bowl LIII Spotlight, Atlanta Music Leaders Declare 'It's The New Motown'


When the NFL introduced that Super Bowl LIII would happen Feb. three, 2019, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, music followers and artists created want lists of halftime performers who may highlight town’s wealthy musical historical past. Bruno Mars referred to as for a set that included OutKast, T.I., Gucci Mane, Lil Jon, Jeezy and Jermaine Dupri. “It could be the most effective celebration TV has ever seen,” Mars tweeted to the NFL, telling the league that it had an “alternative to rejoice unimaginable hip-hop [artists] from Atlanta.”

The NFL ended up selecting Maroon 5 for the efficiency, however Atlanta isn’t losing time complaining a couple of non-hip-hop headliner. Its music trade leaders are as an alternative decided to showcase — off the sphere — the enterprise and artistic strengths of Georgia and its capital metropolis.

From The B-52s and R.E.M. to OutKast and Gucci Mane, Georgia has lengthy been on the forefront of shaping world music tradition. In earlier many years, labels resembling LaFace and Disturbing Tha Peace made Atlanta a musical middle, whereas Quality Control Music has helped stick with it that custom prior to now few years, sending Migos, Lil Yachty and Lil Baby up the Billboard 200 and the Hot 100.

The metropolis’s artistic energy is matched by an more and more supportive enterprise local weather. The Georgia Music Investment Act, which took impact Jan. 1, affords new tax breaks to attract extra enterprise to a spot identified for influencing music throughout genres, from nation and gospel to rock’n’roll and hip-hop.

Music enterprise leaders in Atlanta are prepared for his or her metropolis’s media close-up throughout Super Bowl LIII weekend, and shared their insights about Atlanta at this time.


“Atlanta is the heartbeat of music,” says Kevin “Coach Ok” Lee, COO of Quality Control Music. “It’s like a modern-day Detroit when Motown managed the sound and really feel of music. Even the movie and tv trade has had a very large liftoff in Atlanta that’s influenced by [the] tradition of the music enterprise right here. Quality Control Music might be [taking] benefit of [that] by ensuring that our artists and producers [are] performing [in] or having their music positioned within the movies and tv exhibits being produced right here.”


“It actually is wonderful, the quantity of producers right here of the best caliber,” says Robert Polay, founding companion of the enterprise administration agency Polay + Clark, which has represented India.Arie, Keith Sweat and others. He lauds “the success of Quality Control from a administration and label perspective. [Also], startup corporations like Music Matters are doing sound manufacturing for all the sound and video festivals.”

Where to go: “The Club at Chops’ Lobster Bar [70 W. Paces Ferry Road N.W.]. Whatever degree movie star you might be, you will get out and in of there with out being seen and have five-star service. No cameras allowed.”


Charlie Brusco, president of Red Light Management Atlanta, represents Styx, Don Felder, Ann Wilson and others. He’s additionally a veteran promoter, and notes the energy of Atlanta as a live-music market. “Forward pondering by [Red Light founder] Coran Capshaw and [Live Nation Atlanta president] Peter Conlon resulted in Chris Stapleton doing two exhibits in Atlanta: one at Verizon [Wireless] Amphitheatre and the opposite at Cellairis Amphitheatre. This exhibits that there’s a distinct market distinction between the northern and southern suburbs of Atlanta.”

Where to go: “Eddie’s Attic [515-B N. McDonough St., Decatur, Ga.], the Buckhead Theatre [3110 Roswell Road N.E.] and the Tabernacle [152 Luckie St. N.W.] all cater to good sounds and good occasions.”


“What has occurred in Atlanta is uncommon in that the political world — from town to the state authorities — has understood the worth, within the final three to 4 years, of what the music enterprise means economically,” says lawyer Joel Katz, founding chairman of the worldwide leisure and media apply at Greenberg Traurig. “We have by no means seen extra cooperation from metropolis and state officers making an attempt to get extra issues performed.”

Where to go: “We go quite a bit to Atlas [88 W. Paces Ferry Road N.W.] on the St. Regis Atlanta. [We frequent] loads of the great eating places. It’s useful by way of getting folks to speak whereas consuming and ingesting glass of wine.”


“Atlanta is a world metropolis,” says Chaka Zulu, a founding companion of the label, administration group and tech agency Culture Republic, which launched hip-hop artist Nick Grant in 2017. “When you assume of popular culture relevance, not simply of Atlanta’s superstars [but also] the creatives and the enterprise aspect, the [city’s] sound has permeated the trade; you’ll be able to’t get away from it.”


“Since the Olympic Games in 1996, Atlanta and the state of Georgia [have] remained profoundly on the world stage,” says Keith Perissi, director of the Joel A. Katz Music and Entertainment Business Program at Kennesaw State University. “Now, with the Super Bowl, Atlanta will showcase a state-of-the-art stadium that may host sporting occasions and main reside concert events, attributable to [Atlanta Falcons owner] Arthur Blank and his group of visionaries.”


“Productionwise, it’s main the world, and it’s the epicenter of music, whether or not it’s blues, nation, hip-hop, R&B or gospel,” says Al “Butter” McLean, senior vp artistic at Kobalt, who has signed publishing and administration offers with Jeezy, Noah “40” Shebib and, most lately, Childish Gambino. “It’s the hub of all of it,” provides McLean. “There’s loads of assist coming from the college system as nicely for upcoming expertise.” He cites the music applications on the Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of Georgia in Athens.


“The South nonetheless has one thing to say,” declares DeeDee Hibbler, manufacturing supervisor of the DeKalb Entertainment Commission, which promotes the expansion of music, movie, TV and digital ventures in DeKalb County, simply east of Atlanta. “Atlanta units the tendencies that form modern-day music. The music tax credit score has been probably the most promising growth for the state of Georgia’s music economic system.”


“There are over 60 recording studios and 100 venues in metro Atlanta alone,” says Tammy Hurt, managing companion at Placement Music, a music manufacturing and licensing firm. “Not solely is Atlanta the epicenter of hip-hop, our Atlanta Symphony is a 27-time Grammy Award-winning orchestra. We have a deep pool of numerous expertise, along with the assets of companies resembling City National Bank and Monarch Private Capital that perceive the worth of music.”

Where to go: “Venkman’s [740 Ralph McGill Blvd. N.E.], situated within the Old Fourth Ward, Atlanta’s white-hot neighborhood, constructed by native musicians for musicians.”


“The most promising current growth is the fixed inflow of non-Atlantans within the trade visiting town extra usually,” says Kei Henderson, founder and senior vp advertising of administration firm Sincethe80s, which represents 21 Savage and others. “Atlanta is a metropolis the place it’s important to see it to imagine it.”


“We’ve obtained all the things occurring right here, together with the [new tax] incentive,” says Stephen Weizenecker, a companion within the regulation agency Barnes & Thornburg, the place he’s a member of its leisure, media and sports activities apply group. “It got here into impact this yr, and we’re beginning to see loads of curiosity from disparate teams. Getting the Super Bowl is a superb instance that we are able to pull one thing like that off. We can cope with the high-level expertise, present the help and infrastructure, each human and bodily, for rehearsal and the stadium that may help large occasions.”


“The music, movie and tech industries are collaborating to offer a platform for the following technology of creatives, with a give attention to artist possession of their mental property,” says Mikael Moore, managing companion of Wondaland, the music firm co-founded by Janelle Monáe. “I really like that native music corporations are bringing assets again to Atlanta and investing in the way forward for town. The angle throughout the board has been: Do the deal wherever you’ll want to, however construct the studio, workspace or platform within the metropolis.”


Tunde Balogun, co-founder of LVRN, the label whose artist 6LACK debuted at No. three on the Billboard 200 in September with East Atlanta Love Letter, is on the board of Invest Atlanta, an financial growth group that co-launched the Creative Industries Loan Fund. “It actually goes to provide folks alternatives financially that they by no means had.”

Where to go: “I undoubtedly take all my folks to The Cheetah [a strip club at 887 Spring St. N.W.] — [it serves] the most effective fried hen you’ll ever have.”


“Atlanta is increasing, and it’s time to create extra avenues for our artists, younger executives and creatives,” says Malita Rice of Mogul Mentality, who manages OG Parker and Deko, producers of Migos’ “Slippery” hit. “We are the trending subject. Atlanta continuously offers the folks one thing to speak about.”

Metro Atlanta’s Hot Venues

SunTrust Park
Capacity: 41,150

State Farm Arena
Capacity: 20,919

Cellairis Amphitheatre at Lakewood
Capacity: 19,004

Infinite Energy Center
Capacity: 13,000

Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore Park
Capacity: 12,000

Columbus Civic Center
Capacity: 10,000

State Bank Amphitheatre at Chastain Park
Capacity: 6,700

Wolf Creek Amphitheater
Capacity: 5,420

Fox Theatre​
Capacity: four,600

Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre
Capacity: 2,750

Source: Billboard Boxscore

This article initially appeared within the Nov. three difficulty of Billboard.