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January 25, 2017

Georgia music industry top of mind for lawmakers

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Georgia is well known for its music and entertainers, however the state’s music economy and impact have been declining over the past 10 years.  The Georgia General Assembly is considering taking steps to restore and grow the industry to new levels.  To this end, the Joint Study Committee on Music Economic Development met three times around the state last fall and recently reported its findings. The committee, created by Senate Resolution 1027, was comprised of 13 members including six lawmakers, a representative of the recording academy, a professional music producer, a music festival producer or major concert producer, an entertainment/music industry attorney, a professional touring musician, a post-secondary music business educator and a representative of the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDECD). As a result of the study committee’s work, House co-chair Rep. Matt Dollar (R-Marietta) is set to introduce legislation this week that would exempt musicians from paying state income tax on music royalties. This is an effort to retain Georgia musicians and reduce the possibility of artists relocating for opportuniites elsewhere. 11Alive’s Doug Richards’s story on the proposed tax incentive can be found here. Report Conclusion The report’s conclusion reads: “No other region in the county has contributed more to the development of American music than the South.  The music genres of jazz, rock and roll, the blues, and country western all have Southern roots whose influence and popularity have spread all over the world. This state has produced great pioneers such as James Brown, Little Richard, Johnny Mercer and Otis Redding to musical innovators the B-52s, Outkast, and R.E.M., along with the current chart-toppers Luke Bryan, Casting Crowns, Future, Lecrae, Third Day, Usher, Zac Brown Band and many others.  Not only does Georgia want to keep producing great legendary musicians in this state, but we also want to retain them. Georgians have helped shape the fabric of American music.  Let us make Georgia a music ready community; where our State can offer you a one stop shop for music opportunities.” The committee heard many different ideas from 22 music industry insiders to help make this a reality.  Some of the reoccurring solutions include:

  • Tax incentives for music to compliment the Film Tax Credit (study those implemented by Louisiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York)
  • Tax incentives for tour origination and tour rehearsals
  • Add funding to actively market current incentives, especially in the area of film scores
  • Add live event production education program, perhaps to Georgia Film Academy
  • Create “Music Ready” counties around Georgia similar to camera ready communities
  • Tax incentives for instrument manufactures
  • Investment for educating workers for live music production

Click here to view the full report.