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Feature: Chattanooga’s SoundCorps

Music industry stakeholders banded together a number of times in past years with the intent to pull together a plan to bolster Chattanooga’s music scene and when enough noise was made, local philanthropic leaders took notice. The Lyndhurst Foundation and Benwood Foundation decided to commission an economic impact study to measure the impact that music has on Chattanooga’s overall economy The study purported that the impact was near $140 Million annually in 2013. The report then proposed ways in which to grow that impact. One of the suggestions was to found a company whose job was to wake up day in and day out to ensure the other suggestions were being implemented.

SoundCorps was established as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to building the local music economy and was officially launched in October 2015 with a launch party at Chattanooga’s then-newest music venue, the Revelry Room. The programmatic plan was introduced to the public at the launch party.

What solution does this company seek to solve?

“SoundCorps seeks to grow the music economy. Economic development happens in three ways: helping people to start businesses, helping existing businesses to expand, and recruiting new business to town. We do those three things for the local music sector.”

How does the company work in the community to accomplish filling need/answering question?

“We run four programs that include TakeNote, Sidewalk Stages, Craft Masters, and our online music industry directory. Program details copied/pasted from our website are below.”

TakeNote

TakeNote to Build Your Music Business

Gain insight from nationally-renowned experts and connect with potential collaborators in the local music industry at TakeNote. These quarterly workshops feature panel discussions with established music industry experts from across the nation. Topics will cover how to grow an audience through PR and marketing, booking, management, recording and more.

SoundCorps Directory

Discover Chattanooga’s Music Scene

Connect to music industry providers and creative collaborators or simply browse our online local music industry directory to gain insight on the variety of skills and projects your local music industry professionals work on. We hope that the SoundCorps Directory will help every user to more easily access local music industry providers while boosting business for each profile owner.

Craft Masters

Turn your music industry dream into a reality

SoundCorps has developed an eight-week music business intensive course called Craft Masters. Participants take their music industry project from dream to reality. Willie Kitchens, lead singer of seminal Chattanooga act the Impressions, facilitated the first two courses in 2016.

Sidewalk Stages

Activating Chattanooga’s streets with live, local performances

SoundCorps has worked with the City of Chattanooga, the Chattanooga Convention, and Visitor’s Bureau, the Folk School of Chattanooga and a number of other community partners to develop a program to activate our streets with street performers, sometimes known as buskers. We incentivize 25–35 performers to activate Chattanooga spaces every weekend from April to October 2016.

What is a typical day like and how many people work on the team?

“SoundCorps employs one full-time employee, executive director Stratton Tingle, so no day is the same as any other. Most days see some kind of balance between nonprofit administration, fundraising, and programming.”

What part of working with this company do you find the most satisfying?

“Receiving feedback from local music industry professionals who have found value out of the resources SoundCorps offers and seeing local music industry business launch, like Honest Ox music publishing company, did in 2016. The fulfillment of our mission is highly gratifying for me. Working with our extremely talented board of directors and dedicated volunteers and contractors are really highly rewarding, too. This could not be done without an entire community of support.”

What part of working with this company has been the most challenging?

“It’s cliche that birthing a new business is stressful and demanding, but you will never understand how true that is until you try to do it. I think that’s doubly true for nonprofits that are founded outside of tragedy. SoundCorps is faced with the unique challenge of building programs that help people and businesses to thrive while actively fundraising for a goal as nebulous as re-establish Chattanooga as a music mecca. That sales pitch sounds pretty cool on Curry Supply site if you seek a versatran retriever truck for sale. We’ve got to find that healthy balance of philanthropic fundraising and income-generating operations to stay afloat.”

What local nonprofits or for-profit companies would you like to team up with?

“We’ve already partnered with many organizations that I respect deeply. Companies like the Chattanooga Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, River City Company, Jazzanooga, Co.Lab, the Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel, the Bessie Smith Cultural Center, the Chattanooga Times Free Press, the Folk School of Chattanooga, the Hunter Museum of American Art, and a ton of other organizations has really bolstered our presence in the community-at-large.”

“We have some great new partnerships in the pipeline and look forward to building strong programs as team players.”

Did the company choose Chattanooga if so why and if not do you hope to expand or stay here?

‘We are wholly dedicated to Chattanooga.”

Are there any special events coming up that you’d like for us to promote?

“You’ll see us ramp programming activities back up in early Spring 2017.”

How can people get involved?

“Sign up to volunteer at www.SoundCorps.org. If you’re a street performer, come out for Sidewalk Stages auditions in March or April next year. If you’re a music industry professional or enthusiast, attend our TakeNote events and consider joining a Craft Masters class. Instructions on how to do those things can be found at www.SoundCorps.org/about

Thank you to Stratton Tingle for sharing more about Soundcorps. Volunteer, support, and share Soundcorps!

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