Rock Solid Summit

Cleveland’s music scene is a growing ecosystem, but how does Cleveland and the region become a nurturing and known music scene capable of launching more successful bands and bringing music-seeking tourism dollars to the area beyond the Rock Hall?

In 2011, the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture (CPAC) and Cleveland State University released a study called Remix Cleveland. It documented research showing the economic impact of music in northeast Ohio. That impact extends far beyond the first things most people think of — concert tickets sold and bands getting paid for shows. It includes businesses like recording studios, equipment manufacturers, music stores, sound/production companies, mastering suites, music education and, most importantly, performers. Northeast Ohio’s success stories include Gotta Groove Records, which presses vinyl discs and has become a key provider for the vinyl resurgence; recording studios like the Lava Room and SUMA, which work with both local and national acts; concert production companies like Eighth Day Sound and Vertical Sound; unique businesses like Jakprints, which is a national provider of band t-shirts and merchandise; and Akron’s Earthquaker Pedals, which makes guitar pedals sold in more than 150 music stores internationally. Many of these companies provide much needed jobs for musicians who then beg for time off to play out at clubs at night or go on tour. And programs like Recording Arts and Technology are teaching young hands the music trade so they can get jobs at places like Eighth Day Sound or clubs like House of Blues. So can all of these varying spokes of the music scene wheel come together to improve the overall music economy?

Fledgling non-profit Cleveland Rocks Past Present and Future partnered with the Recording Arts and Technology Program of Cuyahoga Community College, with support from Northeast Shores Development Corporation’s funding from Cuyahoga Arts and Culture and the Ohio Arts Council, to create the Rock Solid Summit to bring this discussion into an open forum. We invited music businesses, musicians, tourism proponents, educators, festival enthusiasts to come to an all-day conversation on Monday, December 7, 2015  in the Black Box space at the Tommy LiPuma Center for the Creative Arts on Tri-C Metro Campus.

The day also included a partnership with the adjacent Rock Hall Library and Archives, which announced the digitization of the Jane Scott papers that afternoon and using the forum to appeal to local music scene participants to think about archiving. A networking reception will follow at the end of the day in the Archives space.

Below is the program of the event:

  • 9:30: Opening Remarks: Where Is Cleveland’s Music Economy,
    Cindy Barber, Cleveland Rocks PPF, and Dave Kennedy, Recording Arts and Technology
  • 10:00: Research and Background: Tom Schorgl, Community Partnership for Arts and Culture
  • 10:30: Current Success Stories in Northeast Ohio music economy including manufacturing, recording, bands, and education.
  • 11:30: Keynote: Tax Credit Incentives, State Representative Kent Smith
  • 12:00: Lunch with local musicians doing acoustic performances
  • 1:00: Cleveland as a Music Community and Destination: Panel
  • 2:15: Investing in Music: Panel
  • 3:30: Mining the Past for the Future: Telling our Stories
    A partnership presentation with Andy Leach, Rock Hall Library and Archives who announces the Jane Scott collection and the NEO Sound project.
    Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum’s Library and Archives will discuss an Ohio History Connection grant-funded project to process and digitize a portion of the Jane Scott Papers. Scott was a pioneering music reporter for the Cleveland Plain Dealer from 1964 to 2002. The Scott Papers are an essential piece of the Rock Hall’s local music collecting initiative, NEO Sound. Learn more about NEO Sound, Jane Scott, and this multifaceted project that included processing, digitization, crowdsourcing, outreach, and online access.
  • 5:00-6:30pm: Industry networking reception in Rock Hall Archives. Snacks and wine. Acoustic music.