Composer Anne Kathrin-Dern performs in Los Angeles during the ASCAP 2016 Film Scoring Workshop
Photo: Lester Cohen/Getty Images
What The New Soundtrack State-Incentives Program Means For Tennessee
A new day is dawning in the world of film and videogame scoring, and Hollywood isn't the only place the sun is rising. On Nov. 20 the Tennessee Entertainment Commission (TEC) and the Recording Academy announced the creation of a new Scoring Incentives Program, providing financial incentives for productions to create soundtracks with music professionals and facilities across the state in order to entice film projects to score their movies in the Volunteer State.
TEC Executive Director Bob Raines told the Tennessean earlier this month that, "If I were to say, 'What would be a great goal?' it would be wonderful to put an additional $8 million of economic impact into the community on income and small business." Because there is more than just money at stake, it is important to keep costs competitive, and that includes preventing Tennessee from being at a disadvantage relative to other states' incentive programs.
But with nearly 1,100 businesses and more than 6,725 music professionals hard at work in Tennessee's music business, the program stands to make an impact by providing a 25 percent rebate for productions that meet its qualification requirements. Leaders from the Recording Academy's Memphis Chapter and Nashville Chapter advocated to ensure those requirements were tailored just right to enhance in-state music livelihoods while attracting out-of-state productions—a prime example of the power of local advocacy.
Of course when people think of Memphis and Nashville, blues, soul, country music and great live venues come to mind, but it’s the jobs behind the scenes that also have great economic effects across the state, spurring new development and industries like videogames.
Earlier this year Recording Academy Nashville Chapter board member and TEC commission member Steve Schnur with Electronic Arts vouched for the tale of how Quavo grew up fantasizing that he was inside EA's Madden football videogames, and then succeeded in having his song "They Can't Win" included in Madden 19. Jobs and music placements in soundtracks bring dreams to life in less conspicuous ways too, boosting the local infrastructure for professional creativity for years to come.
Videogame soundtracks are just one of the many categories of music business scoring in Tennessee and EA has been bringing more of its soundtrack production to Nashville, but it's not all about pop hits. While classical music fans bemoan the genre's falling off in popularity for some listeners, classical music soundtracks are right at home in many videogames. At the 53rd GRAMMY Awards, composer Christopher Tin won the first GRAMMY for a piece of music created for a videogame. His "Baba Yetu," which won Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s), was originally created for the game Civilization IV. Tennessee has increasingly become a magnet for orchestral scoring in videogames, and its new incentives and 25 percent rebate should help this trend continue to grow.
The incentive program is applicable to productions throughout Tennessee; productions with $25,000 in relevant expenditures can qualify if located outside of Nashville, while in Nashville that minimum is set at $50,000.
Soundtrack music is pervasive across all of these forms of media, and many believe that nothing enhances emotional engagement more than the right musical accompaniment. The Tennessee Entertainment Commission and the Recording Academy are proud to have worked together to craft the state's new enhancement to its own power of attraction, carefully calibrating parameters like those above to ensure a win-win-win, for Tennessee's music talent and businesses, for productions bringing their business to the state, and ultimately for audiences around the world who appreciate the results.
"As Tennessee attracts more scoring projects through TEC's new program, it will allow our creative class and content creators to showcase their superb quality to audiences across the globe," said Bob Raines. It is a sweet mix of art and commerce, promising great things ahead.