Councilman wants brighter municipal spotlight on Philly music scene

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 Joe Tarsia, now retired, is shown standing at the mixing board in Philadelphia's Sigma Sound Studios in 2003. Sigma Sound, the source of the echoing, orchestral 'Sound of Philadelphia' that topped the R&B charts in the 1970s, has closed. (AP file photo)

Joe Tarsia, now retired, is shown standing at the mixing board in Philadelphia's Sigma Sound Studios in 2003. Sigma Sound, the source of the echoing, orchestral 'Sound of Philadelphia' that topped the R&B charts in the 1970s, has closed. (AP file photo)

There was a musical interlude at City Hall last week as a Philadelphia Council hearing focused on amplifying the area’s music industry to boost the economy.

Just a bit of help for musicians and performance space could help create the next big star, said Anne Ewers, Kimmel Center CEO.

“Philadelphia is being looked at globally for the talent we’re producing, so we must support rather than squander this opportunity,” she said. “Independent clubs at less than 1,000 capacity work on razor-thin margins.  These venues … need to be supported so that they can continue to develop and showcase local talent.”

With the closing of Sigma Sound and a fire at Philadelphia International Records, recording artist Bria Marie said there were fears that it was over for Philly musical acts.

“I don’t believe the era of great music has to end.   We have the talent, we have the artists, producers and musicians to make the city a music town once again,” she said. “But we need the support of the city to do so.”

Councilman David Oh, who sponsored the hearing, introduced legislation last week to create a Philadelphia Commission on the Music Industry.

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