UPSTATE RECORDING STUDIOS, LOCAL BUSINESSES RALLY IN SUPPORT OF MUSIC PRODUCTION TAX CREDIT IN NEW YORK
Supporters of New York is Music (NYIM), a coalition of more than 200 music-related organizations, gathered today at GCR Audio Recording Studio in Buffalo and Martin Luther King Jr. Park in Rochester to call on the New York State Senate and Gov. Andrew Cuomo to pass the Empire State Music Production Tax Credit (A10083A/ S7485A) and support the creation of good jobs in the music production and recording industry in New York. Tomorrow, the group will continue to rally, this time at Big Blue North in Utica.
“The positive influence of music on our communities, culture and in education is widely recognized, but its economic impact is what makes the music industry especially critical to New York state,” said Justin Kalifowitz, co-founder of New York is Music and CEO of Downtown Music Publishing. “More than 100,000 New Yorkers work in music, but their job opportunities are dwindling as cities like Toronto, Los Angeles and Nashville line up to offer new incentives and recruit entrepreneurs in the industry. We urge the legislature to enact this bill and support New York’s talented and diverse music workforce.”
“New York is an international center of live music, home to thousands of working musicians – and this music production tax credit will help ensure that we remain a global leader in recording, as well,” said Tino Gagliardi, president, Associated Musicians of Greater New York, Local 802 AFM. “Music is a driver of our vibrant cultural economy, and this credit will fuel the expansion of studios statewide, creating more good jobs and performance opportunities for New York musicians and recording industry workers. I urge all legislators to support recording industry jobs and make sure that the hits keep coming from our great state.”
“As someone who has created and recorded music in New York for over 20 years, today it’s harder and harder to do, because of the high cost of doing business in our state,” said Ben Allison, president of The Recording Academy New York Chapter, and a bassist, producer and recording artist. “Other places have implemented strong tax incentives to spur their local music economies and lure New Yorkers to record there. This has had a chilling effect on our industry and has led to a significant drop in business. The Music Production Tax Credit will alleviate some of these challenges and help us retain our great creative workforce, as well as inspire others to record their music here.”
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Martin Golden and Assembly Member Joseph Lentol, will provide a 25 percent tax credit for eligible production-related costs for downstate music businesses and a 35 percent tax credit for production-related costs for upstate music businesses – similar to the state’s film tax credit. To be eligible, costs must be related to job creation, including studio rental fees; instrument and equipment rental fees; production session fees for musicians, programmers, engineers and technicians; mixing and mastering services; local transportation; and expenditures directly related to music production and provided at or to the site for the production of music videos. The program is capped at $25 million per year.
“Coming from the engineering standpoint, working with a team of dedicated professionals, I know the tax incentives would be a big plus,” said Justin Rose, head engineer at GCR Audio Recording Studio in Buffalo. “It would help out tremendously on a day-to-day level.”
“Diminished intellectual rights values, rising real estate costs and technological recording advancements all contribute to the cost of doing business in New York,” said Tony Gross, president of GFI Productions in Ontario. “While great music can find its way to the surface, without the creative and nurturing process led by qualified producers, engineers, musicians, studios, A&R and proper exposure, we will ultimately see a decline of unique artistic expression. Much of the infrastructure that made New York the pinnacle of the music industry still exists. The Empire State Music Production Tax credit may be the economic stimulus we need to start on that path again.”
“New York is a great place to live, but let’s face it: It’s very expensive to do business here,” said Pam Jardieu, studio manager of Big Blue North Recording Studio in Utica. “The music production tax credit helps to level the playing field and allows our small business to compete fairly against places like Los Angeles and Nashville that already have this powerful incentive in place. I also appreciate that it doesn’t raise taxes, but instead rewards those who invest in local New York businesses by returning a portion of what they have spent here.”
For decades, New York was the center of global music production, but the state’s share of the industry has drastically declined in recent decades. In downstate areas, pressure from a rising real estate market and other financial pressures have pushed some of the most storied and successful studios out of the metro area. Upstate, the industry has been largely disaggregated and lacked collective exposure. Most importantly, significant efforts by states and cities, including Toronto, Los Angeles, New Orleans and Nashville, as well as foreign countries, have lured the industry away.
Despite this, New York still has vital infrastructure and human capital that can help keep it competitive: More than 100,000 New Yorkers work in music-related industries and the state is home to historic recording hubs and infrastructure in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, the Hudson Valley and the Catskills. The state boasts world-class universities – such as Bard, Syracuse, Julliard and Eastman – and powerful cultural institutions – such as Carnegie Hall, BAM and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. As with New York’s successful film tax credits, the state can play a supportive role in encouraging the growth of the industry and help ensure New York is a place that performers and artists can create music, live, and make a living.
“I’m here to testify that these tax credits really work,” said Tim Clark, film commissioner of the Buffalo Niagara Film Commission. “We started the film tax credits a few years ago and it has changed the landscape of filming in upstate New York. The music industry parallels what we do and could benefit enormously from these credits, as well.”
Last year, the governor and the State Legislature included music production as an eligible industry within the Excelsior Jobs Program. While it was an important symbolic step in recognizing the strategic importance of the music industry in creating jobs, in its current form, not a single company has applied for the Excelsior music production credit. This is because the program is geared toward traditional jobs in manufacturing and finance and was not built to support industries like music production and recording. A version of a bill to adapt the Excelsior Jobs Program to better reflect the music industry passed the State Assembly with bipartisan support last year, but was not voted on by the State Senate.
In March, the Empire State Music Production Tax Credit (A10083A/ S7485A) was introduced in the State Legislature. This tax credit will provide vital support for studio operators and music production companies of all sizes and in every city. This tax credit will function to lighten the financial burden that countless music production companies face by allowing specific expenses, including the salaries of session musicians, to contribute toward a production cost threshold that, if met, would qualify them for tax benefits. With this tax credit, the state is helping create more opportunity for music production companies and studio operators, who will find themselves able to expand, create more projects, hire more session musicians and create more music for all to enjoy.
By Carolyn Bostick
Posted Jan. 18, 2016
It’s not your average record label.
Newlywed Records hopes to enlarge the Utica music scene and also push musicians to expand their boundaries by creating collaborative opportunities with visual artists.
The new record label could mean big things for Utica’s music scene. The company – aptly named to represent new beginnings – is debuting Jan. 23 at the 4 Elements Studio at the Westminster Moriah Olivet Presbyterian Church, at 714 Washington St. in Utica.
Zeno Pittarelli began the company after he kept vacillating between moving to New York City or staying in Utica. There were benefits to both locations and he struggled to reach a decision, until he hit upon the idea of staying in the area and creating a record label that would cater to artists who were both local and from outside the area.
“I think it’s a really cool opportunity to set up a base here and have people come here from New York City and out of state,” Pittarelli said. “We’re here, we’re doing stuff.”
With a team comprised of Shannon Stockbridge (graphic designer), Pittarelli (owner/founder) and Rebecca Turner (photographer), the group is ready to pave the way for artists with new ideas about making music and presenting it to the public in unusual ways.
The operation will use the physical studios at Big Blue North on Genesee Street to record, but Pittarelli said he strongly prefers using Café Domenico as a site to discuss projects with clients.
“I’ve been playing in bands for four to five years now and I’ve met a lot of artists and bands,” he said. “It’s a really good excuse for making art with friends.”
The collaborative element is part of what makes this new company unique. They envision pairing the release of a new EP with something like a new perfume release, a puzzle or an origami kit.
“We’re going to push our artists to work with visual artists. The biggest advantage we might have is we’re going to do things differently,” Pittarelli said.
Local musician Anthony Bianco will be performing at the label kick-off with his solo project Anthony and the Mountain, and will eventually be recording with Newlywed, once things get underway.
“It’s going to be great, I think. You have a wider audience. It’s definitely a mix of people from downstate and here,” Bianco said.
Bianco usually moves between sets featuring his powerful vocals and a piano and pieces incorporating electronic music into his vocal styling, but his performance at the Newlywed kickoff will only feature his pieces using electronics for accompaniment.
“There is a potential for a lot of music to be heard on a larger scale. Having a place to do that is exciting,” he said. “I’m really excited; I hope it’s going to be a success. I think it will be.”
If you go
What: Newlywed Records label launch party
When: 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 23
Where: The Westminster Building across from Hanna Park in Utica
Details: Admission is $5. Artists include Exitpost (NYC), Anthony and the Mountain (Utica), Bay Kee (NYC), Comfy (Utica), Negative Death (NYC), Sleep Storm (Utica), Ginjavitis (Utica). Sponsored by Big Blue North Recording Studio and Cafe Domenico.
Utica Observer-Dispatch / Music Scene
By MARK SISTI
June 04. 2015 5:59PM
Big Blue North recording studio offers professional sound close to home
So, you’ve got your band sounding good and sounding tight. You’ve worked up a few original tunes that don’t sound like Nirvana retreads. Maybe you’ve even demoed some of your material on your Tascam Portastudio. You’re ready to take that next step and make a professional recording. But where to take that step? That’s the question. New York? Nashville? Genesee Street?
That’s right, local musicians looking to chase their dream of recording stardom can start that chase right in their own back yard. That is, if they live behind 2317 Genesee St. right here in the city of Utica. That’s where you’ll find Big Blue North Studios, owned and operated by husband and wife Jeff Aderman and Pamela Jardieu-Aderman, in a building that started its life in 1926 as the Church of the Nazarene. In 2001, renovations began; 21/2 years later, it reopened as Big Blue North Recording Studio.
Once you get over your reluctance to talk in church, you’re struck by the acoustics of the studio’s live room. With its 1,700 square feet and 35-foot wood ceilings, you can imagine an angelic church choir singing. Or, for that matter, a huge John Bonham-type drum sound.
If the live room is the heart of the studio, the control room is its brain, and that’s where you’ll find one of Big Blue North’s main attractions: a highly-coveted 32-channel Neve analog console designed by audio engineering legend Rupert Neve, the subject of Dave Grohl’s 2013 documentary, “Sound City.”
“There’s not another Neve any closer than Woodstock,” said Aderman. “There’s nothing like this locally at all.”
OK, you’ve decided to take that step (and a 33.3 percent discount for musicians in the 315 area makes that choice an easier one.) What now? What’s the single most important thing to consider before going into a studio for the first time?
“Pre-production,” says Jardieu-Aderman without hesitation. “Don’t wait to get into the studio to find out, for example, what the tempo should be. And don’t let this be the first time you’ve ever heard yourself recorded. You need to be demoing yourself all the time.”
These days the biggest competition for a studio comes from the proliferation of home recording options. While not matching the quality of a pro studio, project studio recordings can churn out good-sounding recordings; Pam and Jeff realize that, for some, that’s enough. And they’re OK with that.
“I encourage people to talk to us and give it a try even if it’s just a song,” says Aderman. “If they don’t feel that there’s a big enough difference then, great. But most people that come here come back.”
Mark Sisti is an experienced performer and promoter who writes about local music for the Observer-Dispatch. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Interesting Selection: volume 1 is a compilation of nine original bands from the 315 area code that was crafted over three months at Big Blue North Recording Studio in Utica and at our sister studio, Big Blue Meenie Recording Studio in Jersey City, NJ. The album is now available as a free download at Bandcamp, SoundCloud and ReverbNation. Big Blue North is also hosting a happy hour listening party from 5-8 pm on April 19 at the Dev in downtown Utica to celebrate the release as part of the worldwide observation of Record Store Day.
Track list -
1. Doll Test :: Mandate of Heaven – Chuck Gwynn (bass), Bob Kane (drums), Greg Pier (guitar/vox)
2. Cover Your Smiling :: Bad Cello – Zeno Pitarelli (guitar/bass/drums/keys/vox)
3. Candidates :: The Flashing Astonishers – Chuck Gwynn (bass), Dan Musclow (guitar/vox), Tony Tornabene (drums), Gregg Yeti (guitar)
4. Honorary Albatross :: J. Schnitt – (guitar/bass/percussion/keys/vox)
5. In The Sun :: Joe Sweet & John Kelsey – John Kelsey (guitar/backing vox), Sydney Brefka Pinto (backing vox), Joe Sweet (guitar/vox)
6. What You Know :: The Rusty Doves – Jerry Dee (stand up bass/piano/vox), Alyssa Stock (mandolin/vox)
7. People Talking :: Comfy – Connor Benincasa (guitar/vox), Ben Hicks (bass), Zeno Pitarelli (drums)
8. Momma Was A Dog :: Mason’s Revolt – Josh Brondou (bass), Nate Keida (drums)
Adam Nipe (vox), Ryan Parr (guitar)
9. Dilettantes :: Twin Speak – Brandon Battles (guitar), Ian Bellassai (drums), Brett Rhymestine (guitar)
All songs on Interesting Selection: volume 1 were recorded, mixed and mastered at Big Blue North/Big Blue Meenie by Jeff Aderman, Tim Gilles, Matt Messenger, Matt Dake, Richie Kennon and Chris Marinaccio. Artwork by Tracy Jager. Released on Record Store Day, April 19, 2014.
Very special thanks and respect to all of the musicians who participated in this folly. Much love to the fans, venues and retailers everywhere that support local original music.
As music fans around the globe prepare to observe Record Store Day on April 19, a Central New York recording studio is unleashing what is guaranteed to be one of the biggest local releases of the year.
Interesting Selection: volume 1 is a compilation of nine original bands from the 315 area code that was crafted over three months at Big Blue North Recording Studio in Utica. The album is set for digital release on Record Store Day and is available as a free download on the studio’s website, www.BigBlueNorth.com, and at Bandcamp and SoundCloud as well. Big Blue North is also hosting a happy hour listening party from 5-8 pm on April 19 at the Dev in downtown Utica to celebrate the release.
“This is really the first album of its kind in our area,” said studio engineer Jeff Aderman. “There have been other compilations but those songs were submitted individually by the artists and were of varying quality. All of the music on Interesting Selection was recorded, mixed and mastered in-house at a very high level; it sounds professional from beginning to end.”
The compilation covers many genres including rock, folk, indie, metal and acoustic, but is not meant to be an exhaustive record of the local music scene.
“There is so much going on around here that it isn’t possible to get every good original local band on one disk. This is just the first of a series of annual releases that we are planning for Record Store Day,” explained studio manager Pamela Jardieu.
The featured bands on Interesting Selection: volume 1 are: Bad Cello, Comfy, Flashing Astonishers, Mandate of Heaven, Mason’s Revolt, The Rusty Doves, J. Schnitt, Joe Sweet & John Kelsey and Twin Speak.
Record Store Day was conceived in 2007 by storeowners to promote independent, locally owned record shops. Hundreds of artists now make special releases and promotional products exclusively for the day, which is celebrated on the third Saturday of every April.
For more information on the included bands or for a free download of the compilation, visit www.BigBlueNorth.com after April 19, 2014.