Georgia Music Partners exists because we believe that music – hearing music, creating music, studying music – matters to the people of Georgia, to our communities, in our schools, and for our economy. Because of that core belief, we want to help Georgia’s music industry grow to become one of the country’s biggest and best. We are determined to turn up the volume of Georgia Music in four strategic areas:
- More local job opportunities in music
- More state-of-the-art facilities in which to create music
- More music-related revenue opportunities in adjacent industries
- More future homegrown talent fostered through more music in our schools
Music matters . . . to business, to our kids, to healthcare, to our state’s artists, to our quality of life, to our kids’ academic success, to Georgia’s economy.
GMP encourages the state’s musicians, music professionals, educators and legislators to work together to further develop Georgia’s music industry through creativity and innovation. GMP is also actively engaged with education, local and state government, business, and music business leaders in pursuit of cooperation and collaboration that promotes growth for all stakeholders. Through these partnerships, we seek to develop programs that enable the state to better market music business in Georgia, and we work to attract investment dollars for music technology companies headquartered here.
Formed from a subcommittee of The Recording Academy® Atlanta Chapter, this Georgia not-for-profit corporation operates exclusively for purposes within the meaning of 501(c)(6) of the Internal Revenue Code. The National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, Inc., owns, among others, the following registered trademarks: National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences® and GRAMMY®.
Georgia’s music industry is an exciting cause worth focusing on, as it fuses arts, sciences and business in a unique manner that impacts multiple silos in our marketplace. As an industry, it has vast reach in Georgia, and it is poised for growth. According to a 2011 study conducted by B. William Riall, Ph.D., the estimated economic impact of the music industry in Georgia is $3.7 billion annually. Additionally, the study credits the industry with creating 19,955 jobs and generating more than $313 million in tax revenues for state and local governments. GMP seeks not only to sustain this industry in the face of mounting challenges, but also to grow it.
Who We Are
Board of Directors Executive CommitteePresident: Tammy Hurt, Placement Music, Co-Founder Georgia Music Partners
Tammy is the managing partner of Placement Music, a boutique entertainment firm specializing in licensing, custom music and scoring for all media. Highlights at Placement Music include, being commissioned by FOX Sports for two consecutive years to create original, orchestral score for Super Bowl XLVIII and Super Bowl XLV. Additional credits include multiple custom placements in David Cross’ indie film HITS, which debuted at the Sundance Festival, as well as placements for Paramount Pictures, SONY, CBS, NFL and NASCAR.
She serves on the Board of Governors and is former two-term National Trustee of The Recording Academy, Atlanta Chapter, and serves on the Advisory Board for Girls Rock Camp Atlanta.
Tammy began playing drums at age 4 and has been playing professionally since the age of 14. Among her credits, she has recorded and performed live with the GRAMMY Award-winning Indigo Girls, GRAMMY Award-winning producer Brendan O'Brien and GRAMMY Award-winning engineer / producer Nick DiDia.
Vice President: Michele Caplinger, The Recording Academy® Atlanta Chapter, Co-Founder Georgia Music Partners
Michele Caplinger left her musical theatre roots in NYC in the early ’80s and headed to Atlanta where she began her music career recording and performing in original alternative rock bands Lipstick Stains and Marching Two Step throughout the 80’s and 90’s. During that time Caplinger cut her “music industry teeth” by booking talent and providing publicity for cutting edge nightclubs Club Rio and Velvet. Caplinger was recruited by Charlie Brusco to launch Brusco Barr Presents, where she coordinated media buys, promotion and national tour press for major touring artists. Leveraging her passion for public relations, Caplinger opened her own boutique business, Ray Gun Productions, where she handled tour press for national headlining artists and newly signed bands to major labels, including Atlantic Records signing of Collective Soul. Today Caplinger serves on many local boards including The Friends of Georgia Music, the governing body that produces the annual Georgia Music Hall of Fame Awards Show. She is a founding member and Vice President of Georgia Music Partners, an organization that promotes the business of music and related music technology in the state of Georgia through the development of a supporting workforce and applicable educational opportunities. While Caplinger finds great reward in her Recording Academy Atlanta GRAMMY Executive role, she admits to still having grease paint in her veins and has been known to burst into a show tune at the drop of a hat.
Secretary: Gwen Hughes, Red Warbler Music
Hailing from Greenville, SC, Gwen Hughes has released six albums on Fairfield Records, starting with “Torch Life” in the ‘90s up until her newest album, “Dancing in the Moonlight,” recorded with her European band, MONO, featuring the greatest hits of their ten years of touring Eastern Europe. Her 7th release is “Fragile Faith,”.
As a songwriter, her music has appeared in “The Love Orchard”, “Crazy Eyes” and on TV shows “Man vs. Wild” (Discovery Channel) and “Big Ang” (VH1). She has also appeared in front of the camera as an actor on Tyler Perry’s “House of Payne” and The Travel Channel’s “Faked Out,”. She was cast in the world premiere of Stephen King and John Mellencamp’s Ghost Brothers of Darkland County, with music production by T-Bone Burnette.
Off stage, Gwen serves as a Governor for The Recording Academy, Atlanta Chapter, a Grammy Foundation Ambassador (preserving the American music heritage), as Johnny Mercer “Artist in Residence” for the former GA Music Hall of Fame, and a producer of "One City, Many Voices," which raises money annually for Atlanta Community Ministries. She is also an advocate for music education all over the world, working with students of all ages in the US, Morocco, Kenya, Slovenia, and France. As Grammy Foundation Ambassador, Gwen, along with the “How Big Is Your Dream?! Foundation,” helped Towers High School (Atlanta) receive $5500 in funding for their music program (the Grammy in the School’s “Enterprise Award” for deserving schools in economically-challenged areas). She co-chairs The Education Committee for The Recording Academy in Atlanta.
Treasurer: Llew Haden, Wales Business Management
Llew Haden, a seasoned executive with over 40 years’ business experience, is president of Wales Business Management, a company that which manages the business and personal affairs of professional athletes, entertainers and executives. In his role, Llew provides advice and support to clients and their families so the client can focus on their career and know that all other aspects of their lives are covered. The combination of concierge services with lifestyle leadership, financial planning and stewardship gives clients the comfort they need.
Before founding Wales, Llew was CEO of SafetyNet LLC, a call center company located in Atlanta, Georgia. During his tenure there, he completed a two-year turnaround of the company and positioned it for sale.
Prior to SafetyNet, Llew was president of Albemarle Corporation (GA), which facilitated the placement of money between companies, real estate developers, investors and lenders. Previously, Llew was president of Interspe, USA, Inc., a subsidiary of a German logistics company where he managed three separate functions. First was the entity that marketed the European logistics services to US companies. Second was a real estate investment and development company, and third was an investment company that targeted second and third round investment in small to medium sized companies.
Llew began his career in 1968, working with The First National Bank of Atlanta (later Wachovia). In his twenty years in banking, he developed skills in lending, strategic planning, competitive and industry analysis, and merger and acquisition analysis.
Llew serves on the boards of the “I Have a Dream”® Foundation, where he is a past chairman, Georgia Music Partners and Project Pericles. He has previously served in Leadership Atlanta and was chairman of Zoo Atlanta, where he was responsible for revitalizing the organization into one of the top zoos in the nation. Llew received his BBA in management from Georgia State University.
Board MembersMargaret R. Marshall, Board Member, Greenberg-Traurig
Margaret R. Marshall is an attorney in Greenberg Traurig’s Global Entertainment Practice Group. Her awards and accolades include Leadership Atlanta (2015), Atlanta Business Chronicle’s 40 Under 40, Top Woman Attorneys in Georgia, Georgia Superlawyer – Entertainment & Top 250 Women in IP in the US. She works with GRAMMY winning and internationally acclaimed recording artists and advises top entertainment enterprises and music festivals, worldwide. Margaret is on the Board of the Atlanta Film Festival, Songs for Kids Foundation and The Callanwolde Foundation.
Scott Mills, Board Member / Senior Consultant, William Mills Agency
Scott Mills is President of William Mills Agency. He is responsible for guiding the account teams, monitoring tactical activities as they relate to the strategic plan, day-to-day management of the agency and customer service. Since joining the agency in 1989, he has worked in both creative services and client relations.
Mills is also the editor of Bankers As Buyers, an annual guide to technologies and spending trends in the financial services industry. Scott also serves on the City Council of a very small town, Mountain Park, Georgia. Secretly, Scott wishes he could play drums for a living but for now, he is an officer for a non-profit advocacy group for the music industry, Georgia Music Partners.
Prior to joining the agency, Scott worked in the entertainment industry for WEKS-FM, WEA (record distribution) and WKLS-FM. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Georgia State University. Currently, Scott also works as an executive director on an independent movie-a redneck comedy. He lives with his wife and son in Mountain Park, Georgia. Scott is accredited in Public Relations through the Public Relations Society of America.
Shachar Oren, Board Member, Neurotic Media
Since founding Neurotic Media in 2001, Shachar Oren, as President and CEO, has been responsible for the management and development of the company's business strategy, sales, and financial administration – including product, marketing, and operations. Neurotic Media creates products and services that allow people to access and enjoy digital media on the devices and platforms they choose to use. Neurotic Media drives consumer behavior with popular artists and songs on a business-to-business basis, providing white-label and bespoken services for Fortune 500 companies. Its customers include retailers, mobile carriers, consumer brands, and record companies.
Music moves us. It makes us dance, sing, laugh, and sometimes even cry. Music is a powerful driver of perception and action. Brands who harness the power of music can do extraordinary things. They can change brand perception, win hearts and minds, drive loyalty - and ultimately, drive dollars. Neurotic Media offers brands Music That Moves people, product, price point, perception and purchase.
Previously, Shachar served as Senior VP of International Business Development at Amplified Holdings, the first business-to-business digital distribution company – and oversaw early customer signings with Tower Records, Transworld, and Wherehouse Music in ’98. Prior to joining the high tech side of the business, Shachar worked at Ichiban Records as an A&R person and radio marketing specialist. Shachar graduated in 1995 from Georgia State University with a B.S. in Music Industry and Music Production.
Shani Sammons, Board Member, Shani Sammons Marketing Group
Shani Sammons focuses on connecting fans with their favorite artists through strategic social and digital strategies. Shani has worked with Sugarland, AT&T Country Deep/DirectTV, Verizon, Sean Kingston, Styx, Sonia Leigh, Cole Taylor, Delta Air Lines, Turner Broadcasting, Verizon, Nike Athlete and Olympic Gold Medalist, Elena Delle Donne, and NASCAR. She has also managed projects with – Lady Antebellum, Florida Georgia Line, and the CMA Awards.
While working with Sugarland, Shani led Sugarland's social media and fan engagement while traveling with the band on a national tour. In 2011, Shani launched SSMG, a digital marketing firm for entertainers and athletes. In 2013, Shani also joined AT&T to lead their marketing strategy for their newest U-verse music channel, Country Deep. While at AT&T, Shani launched a national 15-city tour with CAA and four country artists – Sam Hunt, Jana Kramer, David Nail, and Canaan Smith. Shani graduated from Georgia Tech with a Masters in Business Administration. Shani also serves on the Board of Governors for the Recording Academy, Atlanta Chapter.
Mala Sharma, Legislative Affairs Chair, Consultant
With nearly 25 years in the music and recording industry, Mala Sharma has collaborated on some of the most successful records of our time. Her work with GRAMMY-winning record producers Rick Rubin and Brendan O'Brien has resulted in multi-platinum modern classics by rock icons like Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam and Tom Petty. Sharma has overseen countless recording sessions, managed the production process and handled the business side of hundreds of projects in the music industry.
Sharma's career includes tenure at the City National Bank, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Def American Records and general manager of Fifty Seven Records.
Sharma helped establish Georgia Music Partners. Serving as its executive director, she led the group's lobbying efforts in the Georgia General Assembly to ensure that music production used in qualified film and television productions would be eligible for the state's entertainment tax credits.
She has served as an officer for the Board of Governors for The Recording Academy Atlanta Chapter and serves on the advisory board for the University of Georgia's Music Business Program as well as several other boards. She specializes in strategic partnerships and business development.
Creative Advisory Circle
David Barbe - Producer / Engineer - Deerhunter, Drive-By Truckers, Son Volt, Amy Ray, New Madrid / Musician - Sugar, Mercyland, Drive-By Truckers, The Bar-B-Q Killers / Director - UGA Music Business Program
Katie Deal - Vocalist / Performer
John Driskell Hopkins - Zac Brown Band
Chuck Leavell, Keyboardist – Rolling Stones
Matt Still, Producer / Engineer / Mixer - Elton John, Lady GaGa, Outkast
Peter Stroud, Guitarist - Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLaughlin, Don Henley
Jan Smith, Vocal Producer / Instructor - Usher, The Band Perry, Rob Thomas, Justin Bieber, Drake, TLC
Phil Tan, Mixer – Coldplay, Mariah Carey, Rihanna, NE-YO, Ludacris, Usher, Janelle Monae
Joel Katz, Greenberg-Traurig
Craig Hoffman - CFO, Monarch Private Capital
DiAndria Green - Manager, Bennett Thrasher
Andrew J. Schutt, Arnall Golden Gregory
Charlie Brusco, Red Light Management
Wilbur Fitzgerald, Partner, Georgia Entertainment Credits
Shay Griffin, The Chez Group
Peggy Still Johnson, Executive Director for Callanwolde Fine Arts Center
Brian Hudson, Managing Principal, The Hudson Group