New York Lawmakers Pass Tax Credit to Boost Music Production in State

The Empire State Music Production Tax Credit, which proponents believe will attract more music production jobs across New York State, passed in both the Assembly and Senate on Thursday in Albany. If signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the bill will provide a 25 percent tax credit for eligible production costs downstate (NYC), and a 35 percent break for upstate music businesses.

The program is capped at $25 million per year. To be eligible, costs must be related to job creation, rental fees, session fees for musicians/engineers, etc., mixing and mastering services, transportation, or for music video production. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Martin Golden and Assemblyman Joseph Lentol, received widespread support from the local music industry, which has been looking for ways to keep jobs and productions from shipping off to places like Canada.

"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," said RIAA chairman and CEO Cary Sherman in a statement. "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… 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."

Justin Kalifowitz, CEO of Downtown Music Publishing and the co-founder of the New York is Music coalition, which lobbied hard for the bill, said that "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."

The tax credit had broad bipartisan support in both the Assembly (118-24) and Senate (60-2). Gov. Cuomo has not indicated whether he'll sign the bill into law when it reaches his desk; a message left at his press office was not immediately returned.

New York State previously introduced the Empire State Music and Theatrical Production Tax Credit Program, designed to encourage music and theatrical production companies to conduct pre-tour activities and perform shows in upstate New York.