Atlanta's music scene is legendary, and recording studios are a big part of it. But, some studios have caused noise complaints. A few have seen deadly shootings.
That prompted a proposed city ordinance to regulate new recording spaces. It's set for a full council vote on Tuesday.
If the ordinance passes, new studios would have to be sound proof and have a special use permit. They also couldn't open within 300 feet of homes.
If the ordinance had been around earlier, places like American Sushi Recording wouldn't exist. Jamie Lake owns the facility in Little Five Points.
“Out our back door, there are houses, maybe, possibly within 50, 60 feet of us, but these people kind of know that this is an artists’ community,” he says. “When you step [into the studio], it's kind of like you're stepping into a bomb shelter. This place is well-insulated, well sound-proofed.”
The measure won't shut down existing facilities. Lake just bought the studio last year but says it's been around for decades. He says the B-52s and Mick Jagger have recorded here. “All of these things that have happened in the past would not have happened if something like this ordinance existed,” he says.
Lake says the ordinance would have an economic impact also. He got his start recording music at his home while he saved up to buy this place. The new regulation would forbid home studios like that.
Councilmember Felicia Moore proposed the ordinance. She told WABE's Closer Look she doesn't want to curb creativity or entrepreneurship. Under her plan, she says, “The neighbors can have the quiet enjoyment of their biggest investment, which is their home, where their babies can sleep, and they can sleep at night and not worry about bullets flying and being lodged in their homes.”
Moore says existing noise regulations aren't enough. She says, when constituents got tired of calling the police, they called her.
As for the "bullets" Moore mentioned, at least three high-profile murders occurred near studios last year. The most notable death was rapper Bankroll Fresh.