The music industry has been morphing significantly in the past 20 years since the adoption of the internet as a medium of consumption. Every aspect of the business has changed in many ways, from the artists, labels, venues and many more facilitators to make music a viable industry.
Some of those changes involve bands unable to rely on record sales to turn a profit being forced to do more touring than they did a decade ago just to remain afloat. This has had a crippling effect on those other industries behind the creation of that album you’re listening to right now: labels, management companies, recording studios, promoters, venue owners, publicity firms, rights organizations, publishers, brands, lawyers, distributors and universities among others. But there’s another element that could help create an effect on the results of all the collective efforts by those previously listed and that’s the government.
A few days ago, representatives of all the entities involved in the music industry had a meeting with the Mayors Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) in New York city for the first “New York City Music Industry Convening,” where they discussed how to invest resources into the music trade.
“There was a tremendous response from everyone in the room,” stated MOME Commissioner Julie Menin to Billboard of the meeting. “Everyone was excited that music is now housed within a City agency that, soup to nuts, is going to deal with issues within the music business, both focused on bringing new opportunities to New York City and being supportive of the music industry.”
The initiative was made in efforts to keep the music industry in the city and avoid the desertion seen in other entertainment trades like film and television, which have moved their productions to cities like Toronto or Nashville due to the city’s high cost on permits and taxes. On the same subject, this convention tried to address the recurrent problem with music venues unable to remain in business due to the exorbitant rents (most recently The Acheron).
“We were hearing the same kinds of issues emanating from the music industry; that when they’re opening up new businesses there are a lot of different agencies to deal with and a number of different regulations. So one of the ideas that we discussed was to have someone in the office to almost serve as an expediter to help navigate different regulatory requirements.”
The proposal is to tackle the issue by giving state tax credits the same way as the city gives to the film and television industry to bring back the major entertainment industries to the state. The same will go with the studios as the Empire State Music Production Tax Credit, which gives tax breaks for expenses related to the recording of musical projects within New York State, has been approved by the state legislature.
The New York City Music Industry Convening is still in a very early stage but Menin hopes to have an economic analysis and data within the next few months to continue with the proposal and carry it out state-wide.