Economic developers have launched the Shoals Music Makers Recording Incentive, which will offer recipients up to a 30% reimbursement on projects recorded in the Shoals.
With a goal of continuing the legendary hit-recording tradition of the area, the Shoals Economic Development Authority board is embracing a cultural economy that views music and film as viable economic drivers.
Shoals EDA President Kevin Jackson said the plan for music and film incentives has been in the works since 2019.
Funding for the incentives came through the Shoals Industrial Development Committee, which adopted the plan in 2021.
“Music and film recruitment has been one of our targets,” Jackson said. “At this stage we’re focusing on the music, but the film aspect is right there ready to be tapped as well.”
“Everyone’s ready to really amp this thing up,” he said.
The incentives are based on reimbursement receipts presented and are ranked in four tiers, from a Tier 1 of $5,000 to $10,000 to Tier 4 at $75,000 to $200,000.
Reimbursements range from 10% on the smallest projects to 30% on the largest.
Judy Hood, the chairwoman of the Muscle Shoals Music Foundation, said the time is right for such incentives.
“During the past few years, we’ve had several producers, artists and managers move to the Shoals area from Nashville, Los Angeles, Portland, Atlanta and other large cities,” she said. “This program is designed to build on that momentum.”
She said the goal of the program is to boost the local music industry by encouraging producers and recording artists to bring their projects to one of the Shoals studios, where dozens of artists have recorded hits through the years.
“We’re already seeing results,” she said. “Several producers have reached out to us.”
The selection process for the reimbursements will involve an interview with the candidate and an analysis of the project’s economic impact.
Swampers bassist David Hood said the program is a welcome addition which will help his own efforts and those of other musicians to bring in even more artists.
“It always helps to reach out to potential clients with incentives like this,” he said. “This will definitely help our recruiting efforts and increase business.”
Last week, Hood spent time at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio overdubbing the song “Woman,” which is part of the soundtrack for the upcoming film “Sweetwater Road.”
The film, which was directed and produced by Myk Watford, was shot mostly in the Shoals. Watford has applied for the incentive.
Studio Executive Director Debbie Wilson said Watford’s project is an example of how the Shoals is primed to accommodate talent from all over.
“We fully expect to see continued growth with the music and film industries here, and to contribute to that with these incentives for artists is huge,” she said.