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Wednesday, May 16, 2012 - 12:47pm

Music Pros Look To Wider Tax Break

A popular film tax credit that has made Georgia a regular location for movie shoots now also covers music production. Music producers and studio owners hope to capitalize on the expanded tax credit.

The 2008 bill now includes a clause that says movie producers can claim the cost of sound recordings and musical compositions. State lawmakers approved the change during this year’s legislative session.

People making movies and television shows in Georgia receive tax credits worth up to 30 percent of the cost of production here. And Georgia music industry officials say the expansion will spur film producers to commission scores and record songs here rather than somewhere else.

Tammy Hurt is with Georgia Music Partners, an industry association. She was on hand this week at the state Capitol as Governor Nathan Deal honored members of Georgia’s music industry who lobbied for the change. She says she expects to an impact soon.

“I think this is an immediate injection of opportunity and revenue into our ailing studios for the producers and engineers who are here, for the musicians that make their living recording music," she said in an interview. "They now have a way to market and promote their business to the film studios and production companies coming into Georgia that are already here.”

Hurt says many music professionals are looking for new clients as consumer digital technology allows homemade music to eat into profits.

Thom Kidd is someone who will almost certainly benefit from the change. Owner of Silent Sound Studios in Atlanta, Kidd says he's already received calls in connection with the incentive.

He says filmmakers are used to working with music producers in Los Angeles because the studio and recording infrastructure has built up there over more than eight decades. But the tax break could persuade them to do some music production in Georgia.

“This incentive will definitely light a fire and they’ll say, ‘Wait a minute we have a cost-effective option here’," he said. "[Or] ‘Wait a minute, we worked at this place last week and they did better than we would have expected. Let’s go back there’.”

Kidd says he’s worked with Elton John, Beyonce and other high-profile musicians. He says he and other Georgia music producers are ready and equipped to work with the big Hollywood studios.

He most recently recorded some music for the movie, "Joyful Noise," which starred Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton.

The tax break has certainly had an impact on film production in the state. According to the state's Department of Economic Development, Georgia is now among the top five states in the nation for film and TV production with more than 336 productions shot in Georgia from July 2010 through June 2011. Those productions brought more than $680 million in investment in Georgia.

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