Musicians Off the Record: Casey Monahan

Casey Monahan has been the director of the Texas Music Office in the Office of the Governor since its inception in 1990.  Using his celebratedslogan, “You can’t hear American music without hearing Texas,” Monahan has made an extraordinary contribution to the state’s music industry and helped raise it to the standards of the country’s music capitals.  From helping found a Texas chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (presenters of the Grammies) to publishing the indispensable Texas Music Industry Directory, Monahan has promoted Texas music with the belief that “music is a part of our culture and our heritage.”

Upon graduating from the University of Texas, Monahan served as the country and folk critic for the Austin American-Statesman where he received a Best Music Critic nod at the 1990 Austin Music Awards.  Heshifted gears to a governmental role because it was a “wonderful opportunity to create something that would promote more jobs. After five years of being at the Statesman and seeing just that aspect of the music industry and business, it didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that we needed to do more if we wanted this industry to be competitive with Nashville, New York and L.A.”

The Dallas native explains the mission of the Texas Music office is “to promote the development of the music industry in the state by informing members of the industry and the general public about the opportunities for music. That’s the law, that’s the side of the law the legislature passed. . . . We try to make it as easy as possible to find what you need to find about music in the state.” His office’s website hosts 340,000 unique visitors a year and sees over one million hits.The highly regarded annual industry directory includes 448 pages that list some 14,000 contact numbers of Texas music professionals, ranging from managers to venue contacts to artists. “We collect a range to disseminate information to make it a goal to do business here,” states Monahan.

The Texas Music Office was the first of its kind, and “were the first to have a music promotion, information clearing house in the country,” asserts Monahan. A fixture in the state House and Senate when legislative hearings on music arise, he’s a tireless advocate for the industry. “The one incentive that we have, that we’ve worked on, is that record producers don’t have to pay sales taxes on items used in the recording process.”  Whether it’s cataloging or disseminating information, Monahan works to preserve music because “Texas has a long history of promoting, preserving, protecting, touting and bragging about various aspects of our culture. It’s that spirit of independence that still exists.”