Monday, December 5, 2016

Atlanta music industry recoils at recording studio ordinance

Written by Doug Richards, WXIA — Some in Atlanta’s music industry are angry about about a proposed ordinance that would restrict music recording studios in the city. But the ordinance’s sponsor say it’s designed to curb incidents of violence that have taken place around a handful of studios in the last few years.

Maze Studios is accustomed to making a racket inside its century-old brick building in Atlanta’s Edgewood neighborhood. But outside, its owner Ben Allen says it is all but invisible to the surrounding neighborhood of single-family homes and apartments.

"It’s not really disruptive to the community at all because nobody knows that we’re here, which is how we like it," Allen told 11Alive's Doug Richards Friday. "Most studios are designed to keep a low profile. We don’t want anyone disturbing us and we don’t want to disturb anyone else."

But a few Atlanta studios have been at the center of some violent disputes that have raised their profile – and drawn the attention of a proposed ordinance. It would require new recording studios to stay 500 feet away from residential areas – and to get special use permits from the city.

"(It's) So that you don’t have a conflict between the studio and the neighborhood," said city councilwoman Felicia Moore, who is sponsoring the ordinance. "This is for both of them, for the recording industry and the community, so that they can both co-exsist and operate."

But Allen, who won a Grammy for producing a Gnarls Barkley record a decade ago, thinks the ordinance would harm Atlanta’s music industry. He thinks the government should encourage, rather than dissuade new studios.

"It may be a legitimate problem, but it’s not a problem here," Allen said. "And it’s not a problem at most of the studios in Atlanta, and I could show you a list of twenty other studios in town that don’t have these kinds of problems."

Moore agrees most studios are problem-free. She says a special use permit would give the city leverage to shut down studios where trouble occurs.

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