Local 802 joins talks on state music tax credit

Volume 114, No. 12December, 2014

Local 802 and other music industry experts were part of a recent roundtable discussion co-hosted by New York State Assemblyman Joseph R. Lentol (D-North Brooklyn). The talks aimed to better understand how the Empire State Music Tax Credit should be crafted. The event was co-hosted by NY Is Music (, a newly formed coalition of businesses and organizations working together to support the growth of New York’s music industry.

The Empire State Music Tax Credit was introduced last session by Assemblyman Lentol and will be reintroduced when the session reconvenes in January.

The roundtable was organized to determine what facets of the music industry should qualify for the tax credit. This credit could apply to various costs, from recording production costs and musician session fees to direct marketing expenditures for launching the recording.

While the tax credit would certainly help cut costs for many in the music industry, the tax credit would also create jobs, Lentol explained. One roundtable participant stated that the most recent Rihanna album created over 100 jobs throughout the duration of the project.

“This tax credit could do wonders for creating jobs for the state and in the state,” said Assemblyman Lentol.

The tax credit will be crafted to benefit the music industry statewide. The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Carlo Scissura said he will be courting the statewide Chamber Alliance of New York State to sign on as a supporter of this legislation.

“This is a great investment in our music industry,” Lentol noted. “The Empire State Music Tax Credit will increase our tax rolls statewide and double or triple the investment of the tax credit. Just like what happened with the film industry.”

Another important aspect discussed by both roundtable participants and audience members was the lack of affordable space for musicians, such as recording or rehearsal space. In communities such as Greenpoint and Williamsburg, where real estate prices have increased exponentially, the ability to find affordable space to practice or record music is becoming even more difficult, the attendees explained. The tax credit could include a credit to incentivize developers to provide low-cost musician space.

“We need to ensure that the music culture, which made many of the neighborhoods in New York the cool places they are today, is preserved. Providing affordable space to musicians is imperative to preserving New York’s music industry,” Assemblyman Lentol stated.

The roundtable discussion took place at the Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg. Participants included record labels and others. Local 802 Recording Vice President John O’Connor and Political and Communications Director Maya Kremen represented Local 802.

“The Empire State Music Tax Credit will certainly be a top priority in the upcoming session. New York is still the center of music globally, but how can we call it ‘the capital’ when our government takes music for granted? I look forward to once again calling New York the ‘music capital of the world,’ and I am sure the music tax credit will make that happen,” Lentol concluded.

Edited and condensed from a press release distributed by Assemblyman Lentol’s office.