L.A. Musicians Fight to ‘Keep Score’

Sid Khosla and hand-held keyboard, and Rickey Minor playing bass guitar.

Sid Khosla (left, photo courtesy of the band Goldspot); and Rickey Minor (right, photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images).

Los Angeles film and television musicians are turning up the volume on a California tax initiative with a concert headlined by Rickey Minor and Sid Khosla at City Hall. The session musicians “supergroup” will support state assembly bill 1300, the Music Scoring Tax Credit, designed to lure foreign productions to California for music work, and reward low-budget productions for saying here.

The bill — introduced in April by Assembly Majority Leader Ian Calderon, a democrat serving the 57th district, which includes Whittier — would retire a 5 percent general music credit in favor of larger and more targeted incentives.

AB 1300 proposes a 30% credit for motion pictures shot outside of North America that employ 35 or more musicians for at least 75% of scoring in California, and likewise targets projects with budgets of under $5 million — no matter the filming location — if nine or more California musicians are employed on at least 75% of the score.

“By targeting foreign productions, we can lure that work back home and create more scoring jobs here in California. This also ensures that California tax dollars invest in jobs that would otherwise be lost to us,” American Federation of Musicians Local 47 Los Angeles president John Acosta said. “California must act now to save the density of infrastructure and labor pool that we need to both be the tremendous artistic and economic resource that we have, and to maintain our status as a global magnet for the best and brightest.” 

Headshot of John Acosta in a dark gray suit and orange tie.

John Acosta

“Keeping the Score in California,” a free concert and media event sponsored by the American Federation of Musicians Local 47, will feature live performances by, among others, Rickey Minor, former American Idol music director and Tonight Show bandleader, recently nominated for two Emmy Awards (for musical direction). Joining him is Siddhartha Khosla, composer for the hit TV series This is Us and member of the indie rock band Goldspot and surprise musicians to be announced.

Guest speakers include local elected officials, labor leaders, and recording musicians and composers speaking on the importance of bringing and keeping music scoring work in the state. The event will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on the historic steps of  L.A. City Hall at 200 N. Spring Street.

California has seen music scoring work plummet in the last two decades in the face of runaway post-production. The Film & Television Tax Credit Program that went into effect in 2014 was a factor in bringing production-side work back to California, but included little to sweeten the pot for the state’s professional musicians. Data shows that each score employs at least 150-200 different musicians, and that the wages, benefits and residuals generated by that employment create good middle class livelihoods.

The tax credit would provide a huge corrective to the rampant problem of runaway scoring, but the proposed legislation is moving forward as an amendment to production tax credit legislation that went into effect in July 2015 and is set to expire in the middle of 2020, which even in a best-case scenario will leave just over two years of potential use. Preliminary discussions are said to be underway to renew the California Film & TV Tax Credit Program 2.0 that is now entering its third year.

AB 1300 is endorsed by a growing coalition of musicians, film and television composers, and organizations including AFM Local 47, the Recording Musicians Association (RMA), San Francisco Musicians Union Local 6, American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada, The Recording Academy San Francisco and Los Angeles chapters, Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, Recording Musicians Association of Los Angeles, Society of Composers and Lyricists, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Pasadena Symphony and POPS, Santa Barbara Symphony Orchestra, United Teachers Los Angeles, and National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians–Communications Workers of America (NABET-CWA) Local 53. Proponents of the bill are actively meeting with local legislators and community leaders to ensure that music scoring work returns to California. Discussions are currently ongoing with the offices of the mayor and governor of Los Angeles.

Those who would like to support the bill can sign a petition here.

One Response to "L.A. Musicians Fight to ‘Keep Score’"

  1. Earl Madison  August 15, 2017 at 4:04 pm

    AB 1300 is extremely important!

    Reply

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