Texas Music Counseling

From Oregon and New Mexico to Louisiana and Indiana, there are state-sponsored "music offices," created to promote music from the regions and help educate artists about the music industry.

The departments were inspired by the Texas Music Office, created in 1990 after the state legislature lobbied for a sister office to the Texas Film Commission. Unlike California and New York, where the music industry thrives, states like Texas decided they needed to give their local bands a little help.

Throughout its 17-year history, the Texas office has been run by Casey Monahan, a former Austin American-Statesman beat writer for nightlife and music.

"We are a Chamber of Commerce for the music business, operating out of the governor’s office," Monahan told Pollstar. "We assist approximately 14,000 to 16,000 individual clients each year. We review business plans, we have artist consultations for DIY artists trying to get ahead, we work with other organizations to try to help them achieve their goals. We serve on a variety of panels throughout the year with an eye toward music education."

But most of all, the Texas Music Office operates as a music industry directory for the state, compiling contacts and bios at Enjoytexasmusic.com, Monahan said.

Many inexperienced artists will contact managers or booking agents before demonstrating any knowledge of the business. They might be turned down with some kind words of advice or a slam of the phone, but these artists are normally sent away no matter what.

"The business consultation we provide is to help people realize they do have the power to advance their careers without management," Monahan said. "We want to position Texas acts to attract the best management both in state and out of state, but they have to know what they need to accomplish in order to attract management or booking agents that operate internationally."

If an artist is playing gigs in Houston, Dallas and Austin, the TMO will offer strategies to move beyond those markets, as well as offer business consultation on how to interact with various organizations.

"For example, yesterday I had a very long meeting with a gentleman who is planning on opening a recording studio but he’s never applied for a loan," Monahan said. "My efforts were to try and get him to walk into a bank and not be surprised at what they want or what they are happy that he already has."

Currently there are state sponsored music offices in Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Washington, in addition to those already mentioned.

Monahan and his staff need to reapply for their positions with each new governor.