2016: The Year in Review

January 3, 2017

TMO Director Brendon Anthony recaps a year that took the TMO all around Texas & the USA building economic opportunities for Texas music businesses and artists


photo of Brendon AnthonyGreetings and Happy New Year!

I hope that the holiday season provided some meaningful time spent with family and friends at the end of such an eventful year.  I’m personally excited by the opportunities afforded us in the upcoming year, and our office will continue to share these new details as they emerge throughout 2017. I’d like to take a moment to reflect on the past year and to personally thank Steve Ray and Marc Fort of the Texas Music Office (TMO) staff, and our hardworking interns, for all that they have contributed during the past year. Their daily efforts have made the Texas Music Office stronger and more connected to the Texas music community at large than ever before. I would also like to thank Governor Greg Abbott and the staff of the Office of the Governor - as well as Bryan Daniel, Director of the Governor’s Office Economic Development Division, and his entire team - for their unceasing support of the TMO and the entire Texas music industry. Without their support for our initiatives and their openness to our input, we would lack the capabilities and opportunities we enjoy today at the TMO.

2016 saw the TMO engaged in outreach programs in several industry sectors. Our efforts to encourage the formation of “music friendly communities” throughout Texas have led to conferences and high level interaction with community and industry leaders around the state. We still have a lot of work ahead to achieve our vision of a more interconnected industry community. The TMO’s participation in developing economic development panels at conferences such as Power On Corpus Christi, and working with organizations like Hear Fort Worth -  in addition to our work with San Antonio Sound Garden, the cities of Denton, Arlington, Austin, and others - have proven that the model of public/private cooperative partnerships working in tandem with city convention & visitors bureaus, and civic leaders, expressly for economic development, can help foster the music economy at all levels. These organizations and economic development conferences can and will be replicated statewide in the interest of encouraging the discussion of best practices, the advantages of economic zone clusters, and industry-wide development.

In addition, during 2016 we’ve continued to develop our TMO social and digital media campaigns that highlight Texas music news, music business developments, job openings, opportunities and resources for artists, and much more. We’ve been able to reach and engage 15-20K people a day via our social media campaigns (more than the total number that we were able to reach in 1 entire months’ time before the launch of our social media channels). These campaigns are augmented by the TMO monthly newsletter which commenced in August of this year. This newsletter highlights major events throughout the state that generate millions in economic activity, as well as interviews with industry professionals who are kind enough to share their perspectives. Special thanks to audio engineering pioneer Rupert Neve of Wimberley, TX-based audio equipment manufacturer Rupert Neve Designs, and 30-plus year member of the Willie Nelson Family Band, Mickey Raphael, for their willingness to share their knowledge and experiences with our newsletter audience. Look for many more industry spotlight interviews to come. Our over 14k subscribers are offered information about community outreach programs, partnerships with nonprofits, and the more than 1,000 events happening statewide throughout the year. We welcome any input from the community that might make this publication more meaningful and impactful for our subscribers.

We’re also proud to have worked alongside various Texas nonprofit organizations in 2016, helping them achieve their goals and missions. Some highlights included sponsorship of the SIMS Foundation’s annual Heart of the City fundraiser which provides life-saving mental healthcare services to hundreds of industry workers who would otherwise not be able to afford them. Additionally, the TMO was honored to assist Kids in a New Groove in raising awareness of their mission to provide mentors, instruments, and lessons to Texas children in the foster care system.

Our re-brand/re-launch of the Texas Music Charitable License Plate program in July has to date raised more than $10,000 to be awarded to 501(c)3 nonprofit applicants to facilitate their purchase of music instruments and music lessons for Texas school children, and for educational music programming in underserved Texas communities.

2016 also saw the TMO working alongside Governor Abbott to actively support and defend Texas songwriters from harmful federal action taken by the U.S. Department of Justice. In a letter sent to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Governor Abbott voiced his strong opposition to the Dept. of Justice’s decision to alter the method by which Performance Rights Organizations like ASACP and BMI are required by law to treat the licensing of compositions by multiple authors. In short, the decision would have fundamentally changed (in a harmful manner) the way that songwriters are legally allowed to write and create with one another. The position taken by the Governor Abbott was covered extensively in industry publications and was praised by industry professionals nationwide as an unprecedented stand on the side of Texas songwriters.

Our work to promote the Texas music industry, and garner referrals for Texas music businesses, has seen our staff working at renowned nationwide events and conferences, including: SXSW, Americana Music Conference, Folk Alliance International, UTSA Music Business Day, TMEA Music Educator’s Convention, Music Fest at Steamboat Springs, and beyond. We also hosted the 15th annual “Capitol Salute to Texas Music,” to international industry leaders, music industry CEOs and state officials. The message delivered during Governor Abbott’s address at this event was clear: We’re here to support the state’s $3.8 billion music industry economy and increase opportunities for job creation in Texas.

I am personally honored to serve in my role as Director of the Texas Music Office, working daily to foster a welcoming environment for job creation, and economic growth, for Texas music businesses and individuals like yourself.  I look forward to this New Year and the opportunities for growth and positive change it affords.

All our best from the Texas Music Office…and Happy New Year.

Brendon Anthony, Director 
Texas Music Office, Office of the Governor