The October 26th Film + Music + Interactive Happy Hour (FMIHH) gave the Seattle music industry an opportunity to thank the outgoing charter Music Commissioners for their service. Wyking Garrett (Seattle Hip Hop Summit Youth Council), Holly Hinton (Starbucks Entertainment), Megan Jasper (Sub Pop Records), Alex Kochan (independent), Ben London (Northwest Polite Society), DeVon Manier (Sportn’ Life Music Group), Tom Mara (KEXP), Jon Stone (CEA Partners), and Marcus Womack (Evidence.com) were appointed in 2010 because of the devotion and leadership they demonstrated in the Seattle music industry. As the first Music Commissioners, they would immediately set their sights on shaping the future of the Seattle music industry by showcasing Seattle as The City of Music.
The Seattle City of Music 2020 vision laid out a plan to thrust Seattle to the forefront of the global music economy. This vision has three components. The first is to make Seattle a city for musicians. This is to be accomplished by emphasizing music classes for K-12, protecting and expanding upon career opportunities for music professionals, and creating a vibrant music community. The second component is to make Seattle the city of live music through supporting music venues and having a diverse and abundant selection of music festivals. The final component is developing Seattle’s music businesses by investing in music related entrepreneurial opportunities and non-for profit programs while supporting music technology research and development.
“The Charter Music Commissioners are the ones that stood up and said we can be the city of music; we can make this happen” said Deputy Mayor Kate Joncas during the FMIHH program. She also noted that the plan the Commission made is on track.
The Charter Music Commissioners led the charge in enacting several programs that positively impact the music industry. Their collaboration with the Office of Arts and Culture, The Creative Advantage, has led to a re-emergence of music classes in Seattle Public Schools. Not only does this expose students to music at a young age, but it also increases test scores, enhances language development, and increases growth of spatial-temporal skills. Another program the Commission established is the City of Music Career Day, which connects Seattle area students with employment opportunities and aids them in expanding their networks. They also cooperated with the Port of Seattle to implement the “Experience the City of Music at Sea-Tac” program, which gives local musicians the opportunity to perform at Sea-Tac terminals, created a multi-genre web radio available through the airport’s free Wi-Fi network, and increases awareness for 240 Northwest artists by featuring them on the airport’s overhead music.
While the Charter Commissioners made great strides in turning Seattle into the City of Music, they also addressed the next steps for the Music Commission. During a discussion of the challenges that face the music industry, Charter Commissioner and CEO of Sub Pop Records Megan Jasper stated that “it is important to make sure there are opportunities and affordable housing for artists… We need to make sure there are places for artists to live”. Mayor Ed Murray’s Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda seeks to remedy this problem in conjunction with actions taken by the Music Commission
The October FMIHH was a chance to celebrate the public service and accomplishments of the Charter Music Commissioners. It was also an occasion for members of the music industry, city officials, and the current music commissioners to reflect on what actions need to be taken for the Seattle City of Music vision to become a reality.