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June 16, 2016 | News Articles


Tax Credit, Passed by Senate and Assembly Today, Will Create Music Industry Jobs Throughout New York State

Contact: Jack Warner/ 646-686-4485/

Albany, New York – New York is Music (NYIM), a coalition of more than 200 music-related organizations, today applauded the passage of the Empire State Music Production Tax Credit (A10083A/S7485A) and urged Governor Cuomo to sign the bill into law. In recent weeks, the coalition rallied in support of the tax credit by holding events at GCR Audio in Buffalo; Martin Luther King Jr. Park in Rochester; Big Blue North Recording Studio in Utica, and at the Capitol in Albany that brought together musicians, sound engineers, recording studios, and other New York music industry employees.

“New York has always been a global center for music and with this tax credit in place, our state’s music industry will only grow stronger,” said Justin Kalifowitz, co-founder of New York is Music and CEO of Downtown Music Publishing. “Whether it’s a local recording studio in Buffalo or an upstart entrepreneur in Utica, more than 100,000 New Yorkers who work in music will benefit from this important credit.”

“We first would like to congratulate and thank Assemblyman Lentol and Sen. Golden for their work over the years to sponsor this bill and finally get it across the legislative finish line,” said Cary Sherman, Chairman and CEO, Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). “For too long, we have all watched as iconic recording studios, retail outlets and other businesses necessary for a healthy New York music economy have shuttered. Jobs have been lost to other countries, other states or lost altogether. That’s a shame and an outrage. New York once was – and should again be – a vibrant epicenter of music. From the multi-Platinum artist with a signature chart-topping ode to the state, to the behind-the-scenes producer who helps bring those hits to life, ‘music’ and ‘New York’ should be synonymous. This legislation provides an opportunity for New York to regain its footing and reclaim its status as an economic engine of music industry growth. We urge Governor Cuomo to sign this vital bill into law.”

“We have always known New York has unmatched talent and history in the music industry, but for too long our state has been operating on an uneven playing field as other states lure away well-paying jobs,” said Tino Gagliardi, President, Associated Musicians of Greater New York, Local 802. “The Empire State Music Production Tax Credit levels that field, providing the support that our diverse workforce and our world-class music studios need to thrive, grow, and create new opportunities for the musicians that make New York a cultural capital of the world.”

The credit, sponsored by Senator Martin Golden and Assembly Member Joseph Lentol, will provide a 25 percent tax credit for eligible production-related costs for Downstate music businesses and a 35 percent tax credit for production-related costs for Upstate music businesses, similar to the State’s film tax credit. To be eligible, costs must be related to job creation, including studio rental fees; instrument and equipment rental fees; production session fees for musicians, programmers, engineers, and technicians; mixing and mastering services; local transportation; expenditures directly related to music production and provided at or to the site for the production of music videos. The program is capped at $25 million per year.

“The Music Production Tax Credit will bring new enthusiasm and opportunities for the world-class musicians we have in New York City to Albany to Buffalo and throughout the State,” said Neil Brown, Secretary/Treasurer, American Federation of Musicians, Local 14, Albany. “In Upstate cities and communities, we have a broad variety of music deserving of recording and being heard worldwide. We join with the New York Is Music Coalition and Local 802 in pointing out that this bill will bring economic benefits not only to musicians, but also to composers, engineers, and production staff. We urge the Governor to sign this bill into law.”

“Today is a day for celebration, not just for those of us who have recorded music in New York for decades, but also for the next generation of musicians and engineers – the creative force behind our great music industry – who now have a brighter future ahead,” said Ben Allison, President of The Recording Academy New York Chapter, bassist, producer, and recording artist. “This tax credit is a win for local economies all across the state that won’t be handicapped anymore in competing for music jobs.”

For decades, New York was the undisputed center of global music production, but the State’s share of the industry has drastically declined in recent decades. In Downstate areas, pressure from a rising real estate market and other financial pressures have pushed some of the most storied and successful studios out of the metro area. Upstate, the industry has been largely disaggregated and lacked collective exposure. Most importantly, significant efforts by states and cities, including Toronto, Los Angeles, New Orleans and Nashville, as well as foreign countries, have lured away the industry.

Despite this, New York still has vital infrastructure and human capital that can help keep it competitive: over 100,000 New Yorkers work in music-related industries and the state is home to historic recording hubs and infrastructure in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, the Hudson Valley, and the Catskills. The State boasts world-class universities— such as Bard, Syracuse, Julliard, and Eastman—and powerful cultural institutions—such as Carnegie Hall, BAM, and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. As with New York’s hugely successful film tax credits, the State can play an extremely supportive role in encouraging the growth of the industry and help ensure that New York State is a place that performers and artists can create music, live, and make a living.

The Empire State Music Production Tax Credit will provide vital support for studio operators and music production companies of all sizes and in every city. This tax credit will function to lighten the financial burden that countless music production companies face by allowing specific expenses, including the salaries of session musicians, to contribute toward a production cost threshold that, if met, would qualify them for tax benefits. With this tax credit, the State is helping create more opportunity for music production companies and studio operators, who will find themselves able to expand, create more projects, hire more session musicians and create more music for all to enjoy.


NYIM’s mission is to advance the importance of music in economic development, culture, and education in New York and put New York on a level playing field for music production. The coalition includes a wide range of over 200 organizations, representing over 100,000 New Yorkers, such as: independent recording labels, The Associated Musicians of Greater New York (Local 802), The Recording Academy, local music venues, and various individual musicians, writers, and others.