Georgia Music Partners, Inc. (GMP) is the authority that grows and improves the music economy in Georgia, operating in partnership with The Recording Academy® Atlanta Chapter.
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 governments, business organizations, and music business leaders in pursuit of cooperation 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
Co-President: 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 forms of 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 2014 Sundance Festival, as well as placements for Paramount Pictures, SONY, CBS, NFL and NASCAR.
She is a National Trustee of The Recording Academy, a co-founder and co-president of Georgia Music Partners a non-profit that works to grow and improve the music economy in Georgia and she 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.
Co-President: Mala Sharma
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 found Georgia Music Partners (GMP), a non-profit music advocacy group, which seeks to grow the music industry. Serving as GMP’s 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.
Sharma is now a Consultant for Endeavor Sound and Co-President of Georgia Music Partners. 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.
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
“Imagine if Cassandra Wilson and Tina Turner somehow combined genetic material…Gwen Hughes is an exciting talent.” (Wildy’s World, 2012).
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, “Fragile Faith,” is due for release in 2015.
Along the way, she has crooned from Paris to Istanbul, collaborated on a film about Elvis impersonators (“We Three Kings”), and appeared as a character in a detective novel (Phillip DePoy’s, Dancing Made Easy, published by Dell.)
But her music doesn’t stop with CD sales…it has had wider exposure in multiple media, supplemented by her own TV and film appearances. From Tyler Perry’s “House of Payne” to The Travel Channel’s “Faked Out,” Gwen has been in front of the camera as an actor. As a songwriter, her tunes have been in films like “The Love Orchard” (2012), “Crazy Eyes” (2012) and on TV shows like “Man vs. Wild” (Discovery Channel) and “Big Ang” (VH1).
Offstage, Gwen is a Governor with The Recording Academy; a Grammy Foundation Ambassador (preserving the American music heritage); Johnny Mercer “Artist in Residence” with 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.
2012 also saw Gwen cast in the world premiere of Stephen King and John Mellencamp’s Ghost Brothers of Darkland County, with music production by T-Bone Burnette. The show opened to generally favorable reviews, with Gwen going on multiple times as the wife of Tony-winner, Shuler Hensley.
In 2015, Gwen and Mono are touring Europe on behalf of the U.S. Embassy based in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
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.
Margaret R. Marshall
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.
Shachar Oren, 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.
Stanley Romanstein brings his deep passion for music of many genres to the Georgia Music Partners Board. With and a successful career as both a musician and an arts administrator, Romanstein is singer and conductor (Director of Choral Music, St. Lawrence University, 1987-1996), a music historian (Ph.D. Musicology, College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati), and has served as both an educator (Baltimore School for the Arts, 1996-2000) and a non-profit leader (President & CEO, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, 2010-2014). Currently, he is Professor of Practice in Music & the Arts with Georgia State University’s Creative Media Industries Institute (www.creativity.gsu.edu), and Principal with BLJackson Associates (www.bljacksonassociates.com), a consulting firm working with not-for-profit organizations to create innovative strategies, impactful governance and successful fundraising campaigns.
Scott Mills, 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.
Creative Advisory Circle
John Driskell Hopkins, Zac Brown Band
Matt Still, Producer / Engineer / Mixer – Elton John, Lady GaGa, Outkast
Peter Stroud, Guitarist – Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLaughlin, Don Henley
Phil Tan, Mixer – Coldplay, Mariah Carey
Chuck Leavell, Keyboardist – Rolling Stones
Joel Katz, Greenberg-Traurig
Charlie Brusco, Red Light Management
Steve Sidman, The Sidman Law Firm, LLC
Andrew J. Schutt, Arnall Golden Gregory
Ric Reitz, President, SAG-AFTRA Atlanta
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
GMP with friends