NY lawmakers consider tax break for music production

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Music producers in New York state might soon receive a tax credit similar to what film companies receive. Lawmakers are reviewing a proposal for a 25 percent tax credit for the New York City metro area production companies and 35 percent upstate. It would cover costs including...

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Music producers in New York state might soon receive a tax credit similar to what film companies receive.

Lawmakers are reviewing a proposal for a 25 percent tax credit for the New York City metro area production companies and 35 percent upstate. It would cover costs including studio rental fees, instrument and equipment rental fees, mixing and mastering services and production session fees for musicians. It will also cover costs related to hiring programmers, engineers, and technicians. The credit would be capped at $25 million per year.

Marty Golden, a Brooklyn Republican who sponsors the bill in the state Senate, wants to see it passed by the end of this legislative session, which has five days remaining. Golden said the bill is similar to one passed by the Assembly in May that gives film writers a tax credit. That bill is currently awaiting action in a Senate committee.

"That's what we want to do with the music tax credit," Golden said Tuesday. "Create jobs, and an economic engine for the state of New York." He said New York should work to attract more of the music market.

"If we put some effort toward keeping this industry here and drawing the industry into the state of New York, we're going to have tremendous successes," Golden said.

Advocates for the bill point out that states including California, Louisiana and Tennessee already have similar incentives.

"It's just a sense of leveling the playing field," said Justin Rose, head engineer at GCR Audio Recording Studio in Buffalo. "In order to attract bigger better work, national acts that come to Buffalo, I feel the tax incentives could be a good way to do that."

He said the break could also make his studio more affordable to its "bread and butter" clientele, local musicians.

Assemblyman Joe Lentol, a Brooklyn Democrat and the bill's Assembly sponsor, sang a song to the tune of "Release Me" as he encouraged the Assembly Ways and Means Committee to send the measure for a vote.

Chris Carroll, political director of Local 802, an association of musicians that advocates for musician employment, said the tax credit would bolster the music industry statewide.

"It's difficult to appreciate and understand the unique needs of the music industry. It isn't like manufacturing," Carroll said. "It isn't quite like steel manufacturing. It isn't quite like anything else where you have a number of musicians who are employed for an extended period of time."

Carroll said that with the tax credit, production companies, especially smaller ones, will be able to focus on bringing in new musicians without having to worry about the costs associated with production, theoretically giving more musicians a chance to create while also encouraging other musicians to travel to New York to work.

"The well-being of the music industry is incredibly important because it's the lifeblood of our cultural heritage and our cultural heritage is the lifeblood of our communities," he said.

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