A girl playing a violin on stage next to a woman playing a modified violin with a circuit board on top.

Atlanta: A City of Music, Culture, and Opportunity

Atlanta: A City of Music, Culture, and Opportunity

Atlanta is one of the country's major cultural capitals, home to Grammy-winning artists in styles ranging from classical to hip hop. Our city boasts a thriving film, media, and recording industry, making it a destination for artists of every medium from across the country. So much creativity makes Atlanta a rapidly growing home base for entrepreneurship, as well.

Georgia Tech is at the center of it all: Our students are part of the city's music and technology scene, and Atlanta's musical leaders recognize the value our students bring to their industries.

Composing for Film and Entertainment

Bryce Irvin smiling in a green field by a quiet road.

Recent graduate Bryce Irvin's (BSMT'19) undergraduate experience showed him a career he never dreamed of. He enrolled in Georgia Tech as an electrical engineering student, but his love for digital signal processing and working with audio led him to study music technology.

Along with a change in major, he learned about the local film scene at Georgia Tech through Campus Movie Fest. One of the films he composed music for, Start Over, was screened at the Cannes Film Festival. 

Now Irvin is pursuing a graduate degree in music technology and wrapping up his first musical feature film, which raised $16,000 on Kickstarter.

"All of this that I have done has come from connections and opportunities I've had from being in Atlanta," he said. 

World-Class Creative Output

Shachar Oren smiling in front of greenery.

Shachar Oren founded Neurotic Media in 2001, a white label marketing and distribution platform designed to connect brands with the right music to better sell their products. Peloton acquired the company in 2018.

After he sold his first company, Oren became president of Georgia Music Partners, working to creating an infrastructure for music that is as robust as the state's movie industry. He also founded Sound Media Ventures, a venture capital firm that explores the nexus between media and technology.

Oren maintains a strong connection to Georgia Tech, often speaking at music technology seminars on campus. "Atlanta is not just one of the strongest cities in the country, but in the world when it comes to creative output," he said.

"There are so many corporations here because they need people with these skills. They're paying more, now, than they ever have before, to get these students right out of college. Graduates from other schools across the country move [to Atlanta] because this is where the opportunities and creativity are."

Performing Around Town

Snehesh performing with a sitar, a classical hindustani instrument.

Master of Science in Music Technology student Snehesh Nag came to Georgia Tech because he wanted to learn how to make electronic music. He was inspired by artists like Boards of Canada and Aphex Twin, who use programs like Max/MSP and digital audio workstations to make their music.

While he did learn to make electronic music in his classes, he found Georgia Tech's location offered even more for his degree. "There's so much culture here," Nag said. "I have a lot of exposure to so many different kinds of music. It's nice. We have a lot of hip hop, we have a lot of electronic music. We've got a little bit of everything." 

Nag regularly performs around town in classical Hindustani concerts, both with on-campus groups like Aarohi, and in local venues like Eddie Owen Presents at Red Clay Music Foundry. His Atlanta connections even help him perform in other cities across the country.

Culture and Opportunity

A headshot of Joe Belliotti.

As an entrepreneur and co-founder of The Music Division, Joe Belliotti knows music. He originally moved to Atlanta from New York to become the global head of music strategy at the Coca Cola Company. 

"I ended up staying at that job for eight years. Even when I was done there, I'm still here in Atlanta, because once I got here, I discovered how diverse it was in what it had to offer in terms of types of music, the technology, the people," Belliotti said. 

"Atlanta is on par with any other city - New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris, you name it - from a musical, cultural, and technology perspective." The city has many opportunities for entrepreneurs to connect with each other and also larger corporations, he said, and Georgia Tech is heavily involved with many of them. 

"With places like Tech Square, Atlanta Tech Village, and Techstars Atlanta, you're creating environments not just for opportunity for entrepreneurs, but also for companies to support those entrepreneurs, which is really important. Companies like Coke, UPS, Home Depot, and Cox Communications are here investing in music and tech companies, which is fantastic," he said.

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