Friday, 25 March 2011 15:28

Music In Louisiana Has Tools, Where's The Industry?

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Louisiana Music Hall Of Fame LogoLouisiana has, arguably, the most musical talent per square inch anywhere. Our artists have created genres of music, mixed genres to create new genres of music and have dominated nearly a century of the world's music. Yet, where is Louisiana's music industry?

It appears that, in advancing the music of the world for decades, we failed to craft a viable and sustainable music industry.

The seventies brought forth a "guiding light" in the Louisiana Music Commission. Although pretty well based and well intended, it just didn't get the job done. The 2010 legislative session brought this admirable attempt to a screeching halt as it was abolished. Strong language, abolished.

The ensuing announcement from Louisiana Economic Development, the state government home of Louisiana entertainment, referenced the Commission's lack of activity ("advisory capacity only"), as well as budget, and announced the department's intent on supporting a "holistic approach to the entertainment industry's development." 

When Louisiana birthed rock & roll, there was no industry model for what was being invented. Many artists were under, or never, paid, their music appropriated, their publishing bartered in alleged verbal agreements and so on. Some sixty years later, we're facing a new, digital-based music industry, with no internal industry structure, and we now have the help of a "holistic approach."

Holistic: "Emphasizing the importance of the whole and the interdependence of its parts." Sounds good.

I wonder who is supposed to help the "parts" function so that they can interact properly in the "whole."

We are spending, or "investing," hundreds of millions in creating what we didn't have, a film industry. A great idea. But how much are we investing in dollars, or time, in developing what should, and could be a dominating music industry? Enough?


We didn't have the "tools" for a music industry, yet we are succeeding. We have all the tools for a music industry, just no industry.


Author Mike Shepherd is the President & Executive Director of La Musique de Louisianne Inc., The Louisiana Music Hall Of Fame, a 501c3 dedicated to "preserving Louisiana's greatest renewable natural resource"

Bayoubuzz Note: This is the first of a weekly column by Mike Shepherd. If you have any story ideas or even questions to ask for publication, please forward them to Mr. Shepherd.   Also, please visit the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame web site.


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