Record production, sound recording and associated creative industries generated more than $126.8 million in revenues for the state, according to 2011 Creative Vitality Index calculations by Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI) through WESTAF. Jobs in music-related creative occupations employed more than 6,000 workers and there were 12,500 musicians and singers in this same period. That’s a nearly 41% increase in music industry jobs over the last five years despite the recession.
The recording industry in North Carolina is featured in the Made in North Carolina series at nando.com/madeinnc
According to the article Studios turn dreams into CDs, the proliferation of sound studios in North Carolina continues
“a tradition that dates to the 1930s when hillbilly and gospel musicians recorded in Charlotte. It was there that bluegrass founder Bill Monroe (along with brother Charlie), the influential duo the Delmore Brothers and many others made major hits of the day. And it was also in Charlotte – at Arthur Smith’s studio – that James Brown recorded “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” in 1965.
Post-World War II recordings continued at Raleigh’s WPTF radio studios and at a flurry of Triangle facilities likely beginning in the 1960s with JC studios on (then) Hillsboro Street.
Don Dixon, master of recording arts from Chapel Hill, made a second musical home at Charlotte’s Reflections beginning in the 1970s, recording the ’80s superstars R.E.M. and many others. In 1980, Winston-Salem’s Mitch Easter opened his Drive-In Studio, the earliest recording home for R.E.M. and many other acts. Veteran performer-producer Chris Stamey has presided since 1996 over Modern Recording in Chapel Hill, with clients including Whiskeytown and the Ben Folds Five…
The state’s studio scene stands ready to handle the top-level stars who are sometimes born here, as well as those who come because they like the proverbial vibe. Studios are seemingly everywhere now – from Dave Tilley’s low-key, old-school Bogue Sound in Durham, to Red Hat exec Michael Tiemann’s multimillion-dollar Manifold Recording facility in Pittsboro.”
Other pioneer record labels include Old Hat Records, established in 1977 by Marshall Wyatt in Raleigh, and roots music producer Sugar Hill Records launched in 1978 by Barry Poss of Durham.
Read more about Creativity at Work through creative industries and occupations at the North Carolina Arts Council’s Creative Economy portal www.ncarts.org/creative_economy.