Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Tchaikovsky is Commerce

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to testify before Representative Tom Forese’s House Commerce Committee, in an informational hearing on the impact of music on Arizona’s economy. As always, we appreciate Rep. Forese continuing to use this forum to highlight all the innovative and interesting things happening across Arizona’s economy.

The music industry is making deep impact – and has made a deep impact – on our state.

Nationally, a new analysis just released in December 2013 shows that the total contribution of arts and culture sector to the economy in current-dollar GDP is $504 billion, or 3.2 percent of GDP. This compares favorably to tourism nationally which represents 2.8% of GDP.  A conservative estimate from Dun and Bradstreet identifies more than 17,000 creative industry businesses in Arizona, employing more than 56,000 individuals, and representing almost 5% of the workforce.  Of those, 1,077 are categorized in “music,” with 3,595 employed.  Recent data collected from the 219 non-profit arts and culture organizations participating in the Arizona Cultural Data Project accounted for more than a half billion dollars in direct and indirect spending in the economy.

Our state has produced a number of recording artists, from Stevie Nicks to the Gin Blossoms to our Heritage Award honoree from last year, Alice Cooper. The industry is also wide in its scope: from the “Soul of Tone,” Fender guitars to “A”-rated Charter school, the Arizona School for the Arts, we cover the full spectrum of music performance.

We’re also very fortunate to have a world class symphony and opera, led by Chairman Bob Stump. Last Friday, the Arizona Chamber was lucky enough to welcome the Phoenix Opera’s Johnny Huerta to sing the national anthem at our Heritage Award tribute to Governor Brewer last Friday. Let me tell you that the crowd was blown away by his performance.

And I want to congratulate Jim Ward for the recent hiring of the Phoenix Symphony’s new musical director, Tito Muñoz. I know the community is excited about his arrival and we look forward to his debut. As Jim mentioned in his testimony, it is absolutely critical that we work to bolster our cultural economy. A vibrant cultural economy is an important tool in our economic development toolbox.

Finally, I want to acknowledge the great work of Carrie Heinonen, at the world-class Musical Instruments Museum. I recently had the chance to tour the MIM and was incredibly impressed by everything it has to offer. It is no wonder that in its short history it has received so many accolades.

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