Tax Update: California Competes Tax Credit (CCTC)

California Competes Tax Credit (CCTC)

The state of California is offering an income tax credit to businesses that want to locate or stay in and grow in California. All industries of any size may apply for more than $180 million in tax credits during one of the three application periods. Businesses will be selected based on several different factors. Of note is the number of full-time jobs created, the amount invested, and the strategic importance of the business to the state.

Application Periods

  • July 25-August 15, 2022
  • January 3-23, 2023
  • March 6-20, 2023

Evaluation Factors

  1. The number of jobs the business will create or retain in this state.
  2. The compensation paid or proposed to be paid by the business to its employees, including wages, benefits, and fringe benefits.
  3. The amount of investment in this state by the business.
  4. The extent of unemployment or poverty where the business is located.
  5. The incentives available to the business in this state, including incentives from the state, local government, and other entities.
  6. The incentives available to the business in other states.
  7. The duration of the business’ proposed project and the duration the business commits to remain in this state.
  8. The overall economic impact in this state of the applicant’s project or business.
  9. The strategic importance of the business to the state, region, or locality.
  10. The opportunity for future growth and expansion in this state by the business.
  11. The training opportunities provided to employees.
  12. The extent to which the anticipated benefit to the state exceeds the projected benefit to the business from the tax credit.
  13. The extent to which the credit will influence the applicant’s ability, willingness, or both, to create new full-time jobs in this state that might not otherwise be created in the state by the applicant or any other business in California.

Additional Information

California Competes Application Workshop PPT

California Competes Tax Credit Information

CCTC FAQ

Email CCTC

Contact CCTC via Phone: 1-916-322-4051

Trade

NAMM supports free and fair trade. Review the recent informational webinar, including exemption-filing procedures and ongoing updates about the impact of the 2020 Chinese trade agreement.

NAMM Supports Free Trade

On behalf of 10,400 global members, NAMM believes that a strong and vibrant music and pro audio products and entertainment technology industry is important to the educational and cultural vitality, as well as the economic prosperity of all countries. As a trade association, NAMM will continue in our efforts to proactively engage elected officials to keep the lines of dialogue and trade open and urge U.S. and world leaders to reaffirm a commitment to such.

Ongoing updates and resources will continue to be posted to this page. Resources below include policy updates from the U.S. Trade Representative, The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and The National Retail Federation.

To contact NAMM's Public Affairs and Government Relations team, email publicaffairs@namm.org  

Latest Updates

June 2022: Ocean Shipping Reform Act Addresses Supply Chain Challenges and Carrier Shipping Practices 

On June 16, 2022, the Ocean Shipping Reform Act (OSRA) was signed into law, updating ocean shipping ‘rules of the road’ for the first time since 1998, ensuring foreign ocean carriers are not unfairly rejecting American exports. The bipartisan package of U.S. shipping law reforms addresses supply chain disruptions, rising ocean shipping costs, and insufficient vessel service. U.S. agricultural exporters and importers of retail goods and raw materials that depend on competitive and efficient international ocean transportation services have faced ongoing challenges in securing timely and adequate vessel space, skyrocketing shipping costs, and inefficiencies in the pickup and delivery of cargo. 

The 2022 Ocean Shipping Reform Act authorizes appropriations for the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) for fiscal years 2022 through 2025; establishes additional requirements and prohibited conduct for ocean carriers; requires the FMC to issue rules related to certain fee assessments, prohibited practices, and establishment of a shipping registry; and authorizes the FMC under certain circumstances to issue an emergency order requiring common carriers to share information directly with shippers and rail and motor carriers.  As mentioned previously, we’ve heard stories of violations of FMC rules occurring at some ports.  The FMC provides specific guidance to parties wishing to dispute charges assessed by common carriers that they believe may not comply with the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022. NAMM members in this difficult position are urged to file a complaint with the FMC here.  

NAMM, which was part of a coalition supporting passage of the new law, will continue to monitor this topic and will provide updates here as they are available.  

May 2022: USTR Seeks Public Comment Regarding the Continuation of Expiring 301 Tariffs  

The Biden administration is soliciting feedback from U.S. industries about whether to extend soon-expiring tariffs on billions of dollars in Chinese goods. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative sent notices to 600 companies and entities that have previously commented on the Section 301 tariffs seeking their input. 

Background: On May 13, 2019, the USTR posted the draft Federal Register notice announcing the HTS lines and the process for the List 4 China 301 tariffs. This included just about everything that wasn’t already subject to the additional 301 tariffs such as apparel, footwear, toys, consumer electronics, and musical instruments.  

  • Products on HTC list 4A (stringed instruments, pianos, wind instruments, percussion, keyboards, accessories, and more) are currently subject to a 7.5% tariff 
  • Products on HTC lists 1, 2, and 3, are currently tariffed at 25% 
  • Products on HTC list 4B (some stringed instruments, stands, and some accessories) are not currently subject to additional tariffs 
  • A full view of HTC List 4 is here.  Note: Music instruments and related accessories can be found under HTS 9201.10.00 “Upright Pianos,” through 9209.99.80 “Parts and Accessories for Musical Instruments”  

Public Comments: To make public comments in favor of continuing tariffs for the July 6, 2018 trade action (list 1), link here from May 7, 2022, through July 5, 2022. To make public comments in favor of continuing tariffs for the August 23, 2018 trade action (list 2), link here from June 24, 2022, through August 22, 2022.  NAMM Members who wish for the continuation of tariffs under List 3 or List 4A may submit requests through either portal. NAMM will continue to monitor this important issue and will provide updates as they are available. Please visit this page regularly

 

 

    Tax

    NAMM monitors tax reform issues and provides periodic updates on advocacy efforts and pending legislation. For up-to-date information on this issue, please visit this page regularly.

    Latest Updates as of July 27, 2022

    California Competes Tax Credit (CCTC)

    The state of California is offering an income tax credit to businesses that want to locate or stay in and grow in California. All industries of any size may apply for more than $180 million in tax credits during one of the three application periods. Businesses will be selected based on several different factors. Of note is the number of full-time jobs created, the amount invested, and the strategic importance of the business to the state.

    Application Periods

    • July 25-August 15, 2022
    • January 3-23, 2023
    • March 6-20, 2023

    Evaluation Factors

    1. The number of jobs the business will create or retain in this state.
    2. The compensation paid or proposed to be paid by the business to its employees, including wages, benefits, and fringe benefits.
    3. The amount of investment in this state by the business.
    4. The extent of unemployment or poverty where the business is located.
    5. The incentives available to the business in this state, including incentives from the state, local government, and other entities.
    6. The incentives available to the business in other states.
    7. The duration of the business’ proposed project and the duration the business commits to remain in this state.
    8. The overall economic impact in this state of the applicant’s project or business.
    9. The strategic importance of the business to the state, region, or locality.
    10. The opportunity for future growth and expansion in this state by the business.
    11. The training opportunities provided to employees.
    12.  The extent to which the anticipated benefit to the state exceeds the projected benefit to the business from the tax credit.
    13.  The extent to which the credit will influence the applicant’s ability, willingness, or both, to create new full-time jobs in this state that might not otherwise be created in the state by the applicant or any other business in California.

    Additional Information

    California Competes Application Workshop PPT

    California Competes Tax Credit Information

    CCTC FAQ

    Email CCTC

    Contact CCTC via Phone: 1-916-322-4051

     

    3/29/22: NAMM Endorses the Performing Artist Tax Parity Act: Provides tax relief for musicians, other performing artists

    NAMM is pleased to support the Performing Artist Tax Parity Act (H.R. 4750 and S. 2872); federal legislation which would restore and update a tax deduction to help performing artists deduct business expenses. The legislation is sponsored in the House by Reps. Judy Chu (D-CA) and Vern Buchanan (R-FL) and in the Senate by Sens. Mark Warner (D-VA) and Bill Hagerty (R-TN).

    A provision in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 largely eliminated the option to claim miscellaneous itemized deductions that allowed many performers and other artists to deduct work expenses not covered by their employers. As a result, many artists ended up paying more in taxes since the costs of instruments, equipment, travel, and other business-related costs were no longer deductible.

    To address this problem, the Performing Artist Tax Parity Act would revise and expand the Qualified Performing Artist (QPA) tax deduction. QPA allows eligible performing artists, such as musicians, actors, and others employed in the performing arts, the option to take an “above the line” deduction for unreimbursed expenses. But the current adjusted gross income maximum threshold for the QPA deduction is just $16,000 - a level unchanged since QPA’s inception in 1986. The current threshold, as established more than 50 years ago, severely limits the number of individuals eligible for the QPA deduction. The legislation would make business expense deductions more widely available by modernizing the QPA’s income thresholds.

    The bill increases the income level to $100,000/single taxpayer and $200,000/joint filers, adds a built-in phase-out of the deduction and provides threshold income increases based on the Consumer Price Index. With these revisions, more lower and middle-income performers would be eligible for the QPA deduction.

    Congressional sponsors are seeking to advance the bill this year, possibly through inclusion in an end-of-the-year tax measure. In addition to NAMM, supporters of the legislation include the American Composers Forum, Americans for the Arts, Actors’ Equity Association, American Federation of Musicians, League of American Orchestras, SAG-AFTA and the Motion Picture Association. NAMM will continue to monitor this issue and will post updates here as they are available.

     

    • 5/7/21: U.S. Dept. of Labor Withdraws Independent Contractor Rule

    The U.S. Department of Labor officially withdrew the “Independent Contractor Rule” effective May 6, 2001. The rule, adopted by the prior administration, would have made it easier for businesses to classify workers as independent contractors rather than employees.

    Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA), covered employers are required to pay employees at least the federal minimum wage and overtime compensation. These FLSA requirements do not apply to independent contractors. Independent contractors, however, typically have more flexibility to set their own schedules and can work for more than one company.

    According to the Department’s press statement, it is withdrawing the rule for several reasons, including:

    • The independent contractor rule was in tension with the FLSA’s text and purpose, as well as relevant judicial precedent.
    • The rule’s prioritization of two “core factors” for determining employee status under the FLSA would have undermined the longstanding balancing approach of the economic realities test and court decisions requiring a review of the totality of the circumstances related to the employment relationship.
    • The rule would have narrowed the facts and considerations comprising the analysis of whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor, resulting in workers losing FLSA protections.

    For the near term, it appears unlikely that the Department of Labor will re-examine or issue rules that could ease criteria for classifying workers as independent contractors.

    The official notice of the rule’s withdrawal is published in the Federal Register.

    CA Prop 65

    Update on Proposition 65 Short-form Safe Harbor Warning Amendments: OEHHA Delay to Require Restart of Proposed Rulemaking 

    On May 20, 2022, NAMM received a notification from California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) stating that OEHHA is unable to complete the pending rulemaking within the allotted time to amend sections of the California Code of Regulations related to the short-form safe harbor warnings under Proposition 65 (Register No. Z2020-1229-01) (Title 27, sections 25601, 25602, 25603, and 25607.2).  

    As a result, OEHHA must restart the rulemaking process on the short-form amendments with a re-issued regulatory proposal.  OEHHA plans to issue the new rulemaking for public input in the next several weeks. The agency noted that the new rulemaking will likely incorporate some recommendations it received from stakeholders about the previous proposal.  

    These are welcome developments as the delay signals that OEHHA recognizes the need to revisit the proposal in response to significant issues raised by the California business community.  NAMM, as a member of a coalition that submitted comments during the rulemaking process, urged OEHHA to withdraw the proposal or, absent a withdrawal, to substantially revise the amendments. NAMM and dozens of stakeholders expressed concerns about the imposition of new and burdensome labeling requirements – especially when businesses continue to struggle with supply chain issues and recovery from the pandemic.  

    For more information, please visit the short-form rulemaking webpage.

     

    Formaldehyde Emissions and CA Prop 65 Information and Resources

    CA Prop 65

    In 1986, California voters approved Proposition 65, an initiative to address their growing concerns about exposure to toxic chemicals. The law requires California to publish a list of chemicals known to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity, and for businesses with ten or more employees to provide warnings when they knowingly and intentionally cause significant exposures to listed chemicals. Penalties for violating Proposition 65 by failing to provide warnings can be as high as $2,500 per violation per day. Prop 65 also provides for enforcement "in the public interest" by private attorneys, who typically send a required 60-day notice to prospective violators and then seek to reach settlement agreements which usually include a monetary payment (shared by the lawyers and the state) and a correction of alleged labeling violations.

    Formaldehyde Emissions

    In 2013, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a proposed rule that would regulate the amount of formaldehyde emissions from composite wood, such as hardwood plywood, medium-density fiberboard, and particleboard. Additionally, the proposed rule would regulate laminated wood products, impose more precise labeling on covered products and require compliance information to be passed down from manufacturer/importer through the distribution chain. 

    On December 12, 2016, EPA published a final rule to reduce exposure to formaldehyde emissions from certain wood products produced domestically or imported into the United States. The rule regulates laminated wood products, imposes more precise labeling on covered products and requires compliance information to be passed down from manufacturer/importer through the distribution chain. Any musical instrument made of composite or laminate wood is impacted by the new regulations. In July of 2018, the EPA suppressed a draft health assessment on formaldehyde, suggesting that current regulations protecting the public from overexposure to formaldehyde might not be stringent enough to prevent increased risks of developing leukemia, nose and throat cancer, and other illnesses. NAMM will continue to monitor developments. 

    CARB2 - California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) Phase 2. CARB2 stands for the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) Phase 2, a stringent standard for formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products, including hardwood plywood (HWPW), particleboard (PB), and medium-density fiberboard (MDF). Composite wood products are panels made from pieces, chips, particles, or fibers of wood bonded together with a resin. In the production of laminate flooring, the core board is made up of medium to high-density fiberboard. This is where the emissions concerns come from.

    Note: The formaldehyde emission standards for composite wood products under the EPA final rule, and set by Congress, are identical to the California “Phase 2” formaldehyde emission standards (CARB2). EPA worked to align the other requirements of the federal rule with the California requirements. However, there are a few differences. Unlike the California requirements, among other things, the EPA rule:

    • Requires records be kept for three years versus two years;
    • Requires importers to provide import certification under TSCA beginning March 22, 2019;
    • Requires manufacturers to disclose upon request formaldehyde testing results to their direct purchasers; and
    • Requires laminated products not exempted from the definition of hardwood plywood to meet the hardwood plywood formaldehyde emissions standard beginning March 22, 2024.

    Registration, Evaluation, Authorization, and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) Regulations. Manufacturers exporting musical instruments to the European Union (EU), or operating within the EU, should be aware of the REACH regulation. Effective June 1, 2007, the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization, and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) reg (EC1907/2006) is regarded as the strictest in the world pertaining to chemicals (e.g., glues, resins, etc.) used in the manufacture of a wide variety of products. Learn more. 

    Resources:

    Understanding REACH Regulations

    Compliance Guide for Formaldehyde Emission Standards for Composite Wood for Fabricators and Laminated Product Producers

    Formaldehyde Updates from the EPA

    Manufacturer Frequently Asked Questions

    Formaldehyde Emission Standards for Composite Wood Products

    Rule resources and guidance materials

    EPA Fact Sheet

    EPA FAQ and Regulations re Curved Plywood

    Webinars for small entity compliance

    Find an EPA-recognized Accreditation Body

    Find an EPA-recognized Third-Party Certifier

    Endangered Species

    NAMM and global coalition achieved revisions to CITES wood listing (2019 Conference of the Parties) and has established a forum concerning sustainability in the music industry.

    CITES, Traveling with Musical Instruments, LAWGS/LACEY Act and Ivory Ban Information and Resources

    Latest Updates: 

    July 6, 2022: CITES agenda proposed; travel and trade of musical instruments containing protected species may be affected. 
    The agenda for November's meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) is almost complete and NAMM and its music industry partners are studying the potential impact of proposals to protect several species of wood.  Among the species being studied is pterocarpus, which is used for marimba and xylophone keys, and khaya, used in guitars.

    Especially troublesome is a proposal by Brazil to upgrade pernambuco to CITES Appendix I, which would place severe international shipping restrictions on this species, which is widely used to make violin and other string instrument bows.The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is expected to publish a formal notice seeking public comment on the position FWS should take on these proposals and NAMM will be meeting with FWS officials to get feedback on the government's stance. NAMM will also urge FWS and the CITES participants to streamline the procedures for obtaining and using the musical instrument certificate.  Similar to a passport, the certificate is designed to make it easier for musicians and orchestras to travel internationally with their instruments. NAMM will continue to monitor this issue closely and will post updates here as they are available. 

    March 22, 2022: Music Products Industry Represented at CITES Standing Committee Meeting

    Following two years of online meetings throughout the pandemic, representatives from more than 60 countries met in-person in Lyon, France March 7 through 11, as the CITES Standing Committee considered a full agenda of policy recommendations.

    NAMM continues to represent global music interests in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), as international governments arrive at a consensus on new policies that may impact travel and trade involving musical instruments containing species protected under the treaty. NAMM supported the participation of Heather Noonan of the League of American Orchestras who is leading a collaboration of instrument manufacturers and music organizations.  Music stakeholders advanced policy requests including the Musical Instrument Certificate, and ongoing special considerations for tonewood in musical instruments. These talks are a precursor to the 19th Conference of the Parties (CoP19), which will take place in Panama City, Panama November 14 through 25, 2022. CITES member parties are currently drafting proposals for resolutions and new species listing requests for consideration at CoP19, which will be announced by mid-June, after which each of the 183 parties to the Convention will develop their position on the new proposals. NAMM and its international collaborators in the musical instrument industry will continue to collaborate to advance policy solutions that support both conservation efforts and travel and trade with musical instruments. NAMM will continue to monitor this issue closely and will post updates here as they are available.

    February 14, 2022: Online tool launched to facilitate travel preparations with musical instruments containing CITES-protected species

    On 2/8/2022 Pearle Live Performance Europe and the International Federation of Musicians (FIM) announced the launch of their joint website Traveling with musical instruments in compliance with CITES rules. The site includes questions to help musicians and music ensembles, prepare their touring activities with musical instruments containing CITES-protected species. The objective is to help users determine whether a CITES Musical Instrument Certificate (MIC) is required when crossing international borders with their musical instruments for non-commercial purposes, such as concerts and other live performance events, competitions, teaching, and recording. Musicians, orchestras, and other music groups can also identify steps to be taken before their departure. Read the full release here

    September 1, 2021: Reminder: New October 1st Lacey Act Import Requirement Includes Drums, Clarinets, Flutes, and Piccolos

    As reported this Summer, the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced that implementation for Phase VI of the enforcement schedule will start on October 1, 2021. Phase VI mandates that companies importing musical instruments containing wood - including drums, clarinets, flutes, and piccolos - will be required to file a new import declaration form.  Learn how to comply with this new import requirement by viewing our short webinar.

    Since 2010, the import declaration requirement has been applicable to pianos (including player pianos, harpsichords, and other stringed keyboard instruments) defined in Harmonized Tariff Schedule 9201 and "other stringed instruments" (including acoustic guitars, violins, and harps) in HTS 9202. Beginning on October 1, 2021, the import declaration requirement expands to imported products falling within the following HTS codes:

    • 9205.90.20.00 -- wind musical instruments, bagpipes
    • 9205.90.40.20 -- clarinets
    • 9205.90.40.60 -- flutes and piccolos
    • 9205.90.40.80 -- other woodwind instruments
    • 9206.00.20.00 -- drums
    • 9207.90.00.40 -- fretted stringed instruments, the sound of which is produced or must be amplified electrically.
    • 9209.92 -- parts and accessories for musical instruments (e.g., instrument stands, tuning pins, bows)
    • 9209.92.80.80 -- parts and accessories for musical instruments, other
    • 9209.99.20.00 -- parts and accessories for bagpipes
    • 9209.99.40.40 -- parts and accessories for other woodwind instruments
    • 9209.99.80.00 -- parts and accessories for musical instruments, other

    The import declaration form must be filed electronically or in paper format by the importer although as a practical matter the information required by the form must be obtained from the product manufacturer or exporter.

    The European musical instrument organization CSFI has prepared a guidance document for European manufacturers and exporters, but it can also be helpful to U.S. importers. 

    July 6, 2021: Lacey Import Declaration Implementation Date Extended to October 1, 2021.

    On Friday, July 2nd the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced a change in the date of implementation for Phase VI of the enforcement schedule, from July 1, 2021, to October 1, 2021. Read the Federal Register posting.

    Phase VI mandates that companies importing musical instruments containing wood - including drums, clarinets, flutes, and piccolos - will be required to file a new import declaration form.

    To learn the steps you must follow to comply with this new import requirement, View our short webinar..

    Since early June, NAMM has been in communication with APHIS administrators, urging an extension of the July 1 deadline, allowing the industry more time to comply. NAMM will continue to monitor this issue closely and will post updates here as they are available.

    Traveling with Musical Instruments

    During the 16th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties in 2013, the United States proposed a “passport” program to ease the burden on musicians traveling with musical instruments made from CITES-listed species. The proposal was adopted and as a result musical instruments with CITES-listed species may travel through a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) designated port with proper documentation. Individuals traveling abroad with musical instruments that contain Brazilian rosewood, tortoiseshell, elephant ivory, or any other parts or products protected under CITES or the Endangered Species Act (ESA) must obtain special documentation before traveling.

    For more information on the permit process, documentation requirements, and how to file, please visit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Musical Instruments website.

    Lacey Act

    The Lacey Act is a federal statute that regulates the import, export and commerce of protected wildlife, plant species and products. The law covers all fish and wildlife and their parts or products, plants listed on the CITES Appendices as well as those protected by state law. In 2008, Congress amended the law to include new provisions covering plants and plant materials.  Under the revised law and subsequent regulations,  all shipments of imported pianos and other stringed instruments (e.g., guitars and violins) must be accompanied by a declaration listing that includes, among other things, the scientific name (genus and species) of all wood and other plant material used in the imported product, as well as the country of origin of the wood. Specifically, any imported product subject to Harmonized Tariff Schedule Chapters 9201 and 9202. For more information on the Lacey Act and how it relates to injurious wildlife, visit the Office of Law Enforcement.

    Ivory Ban

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has been tasked with developing specific rules and regulations for oversight and enforcement. Along with other music and musician organizations, NAMM is actively  advocating for the development of compliance rules that assure fair and legal trade of instruments that contain ivory and that regulations are congruent with exiting requirements (CITES, etc.). The release of proposed rules and a public comment period is expected in the coming months. NAMM continues to be active in advocacy and oversight of rule development process and will advise NAMM Members of the public comment period.  NAMM Members seeking further clarification on the ivory ban can visit the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife’s FAQs.

    Updates and Resources:

    Daniel Liston Keller

    Co-founder of Mix Magazine, TEC Tracks, and the TEC Awards, David Schwartz's career has been a study in the evolving landscape of the pro audio industry, and he's got the stories to go with it. We met up for a great chat at his home in Santa Fe.

    Insights in Sound with David Scwartz

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    Daniel Keller has followed a wide and eclectic career path within music and pro audio. He’s been a touring and studio musician, songwriter, composer, and arranger. He has worked in music publishing, as a studio technician, audio engineer, independent producer, and record label owner. He’s been involved in product design, music software consulting, and studio design and maintenance. He’s managed artist relations for major manufacturers. He’s a published writer with hundreds of articles in trade magazines, blogs, and websites, and has written more product manuals and technical documents than he cares to remember.

    Since 2002 he’s headed up the PR firm Get It In Writing, providing consulting, marketing, brand building, product development, and video content creation for clients ranging from Avid to Zildjian. He’s VP of the Board of Directors of the Bob Moog Foundation, as well as working closely with the MIDI Association, SoundGirls, Women’s Audio Mission, and the Hey Audio Student Facebook group. He’s a presenter and moderator for NAMM’s TEC Tracks sessions, a long-time member and mentor of the Audio Engineering Society, and host of several audio and video series including “Insights In Sound” and “30 Second Chances.”

    Elizabeth Dale

    The MIDI Innovation Awards are presented each year with the support of The MIDI Association, Music Hackspace, and NAMM.

    The awards program provides a “platform for MIDI innovation and rewards products, prototypes, installations or concepts that are thought-provoking and inspire new, creative use cases.” In May, world-renowned performer and presenter LJ Rich of the BBC’s flagship technology show, Click, hosted the Awards, joined by a panel of international judges and finalists to explore the latest in MIDI Innovation.

    Winners from five distinct categories were recognized for their contributions to their respective fields: Artistic/Visual Project or Installation; Commercial Hardware; Commercial Software; Hardware Prototypes/Non-Commercial Products; and Software Prototypes/Non-Commercial Products. This year’s panel of judges included Craig Anderton, Michele Darling, John Kao, Helen Leigh, Moldover, Kate Stone, and Yuri Suzuki.

    NAMM Members were well represented throughout The 2022 MIDI Innovation Awards, with winners including AmeNote (2nd place, Hardware Prototypes/Non-Commercial Products), CME (2nd place, Commercial Hardware), DAWn Audio (3rd place, Software Prototypes/Non-Commercial Products), and Moog Music (3rd place, Commercial Software).

    In response to the recognition, CME’s Marketing Manager Thomas Gerbrands said, “It is truly an honor because the MIDI community selects the finalists. In addition, the recognition from MIDI enthusiasts and members of the MIDI Association makes this award even more special.”

    Many of these innovative products will be presented at The 2023 NAMM Show April 13 - 15, in the MIDI Showcase collection, and across the campus, helping continue to celebrate the ingenuity and achievements of members of NAMM and the MIDI Association, organizations that share a vision to create a more musical world.

    Earlier this year, The NAMM Foundation and the MIDI Association announced the MIDI Fund. The fund, administered by The NAMM Foundation, will serve to support projects and programs that advance engagement in music-making and the varied and unique opportunities to make, create, and explore music made possible by MIDI. The first major project for the MIDI Fund focuses on the development of a MIDI curriculum and certification program to raise awareness about MIDI in education at secondary and post-secondary schools, and for manufacturer and reseller staff members. To learn more about the MIDI Fund, please visit https://www.nammfoundation.org/donate.


    The MIDI Association is a global non-profit 501(c)6 trade organization that connects companies that develop MIDI products and new MIDI specifications with people that create music and art with MIDI. The MIDI Association offers two paths to membership, corporate and individual memberships. The corporate membership is open to any commercial entity that “designs, develops, or produces products that use MIDI technology.” Individual membership is free to “musicians, artists, educators, retail salespeople, DIY/Arduino enthusiasts, DJs, game developers, and sound designers.” Today, the association boasts that over 40,000 individuals create music and art with MIDI and are part of The MIDID Association ecosystem. For more information on the MIDI Association, please visit https://www.midi.org/.

    Music Hackspace is a community of engineers, artists, and companies with a “passion to build innovative music experiences.” The organization hosts online workshops and meetups from world-leading experts on music, video instrument design, and more. Founded in 2011 by Jean-Baptists Thiebait, Music Hackspace’s mission is to “foster a community of innovating artists, entrepreneurs, and hobbyists eager to build new technologies for music production and interaction.” For more information, please visit https://musichackspace.org/.

     

    Mr. Bonzai

    In this edition of the Bonzai Beat, GRAMMY® award-winning singer and songwriter Lisa Loeb sat down with Mr. Bonzai to discuss her foray into writing and performing children’s music, her love of summer camp, iconic eyewear, and answered what it means to be a songwriter.

    Bonzai Beat with Lisa Loeb

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    Born in Dallas, Texas, Loeb who also counts actor, SiriusXM DJ, and philanthropist to her credits, started her career with the platinum-selling hit song “Stay (I Missed You)” from the film, Reality Bites. As a trailblazing independent artist, Loeb was the first pop musician to have a number one single while not signed to a recording contract. Throughout her career, she has had several hit singles from six albums, two of which were certified gold. In the last three years, Loeb has released three children’s albums, exclusive to Amazon including her 2018 album, Feel What U Feel, earning her the GRAMMY for “Best Children’s Album.”

    As an actor, Loeb’s recent film and television appearances include Community, Netflix’s Fuller House, GEICO’s “Claims Audition,” Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, and Orange is the New Black. She also voices commercials, including spots for Alfa Romeo, Chili’s, CNN, and Uber Eats.

    In 2008, inspired by her love of summer camp, Loeb started The Camp Lisa Foundation. The camp provides a pathway for underserved kids to attend summer camp where they can sing songs, play sports, make friends, and do arts and crafts, all while learning about community, sharing, empathy, and having fun.

    For additional information on Lisa Loeb, please visit www.lisaloeb.com.


    Mr. Bonzai is an award-winning photographer, author, and interviewer. He has written more than 1,000 articles for outlets in the United States, Europe, and Asia. He has published numerous books, including Studio Life (Mix, 1984), Hal Blaine and The Wrecking Crew (Mix, 1992), The Sound of Money (Focal, 2000), Faces of Music (Cengage, 2006), Music Smarts (Berklee Press, 2009), and John Lennon’s Tooth (BookBaby, 2012). His photos and articles have appeared in Rolling Stone, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Billboard, Mix, EQ, Keyboard, Daily Variety, Hollywood Reporter, Los Angeles Magazine, Disney Channel Magazine, Sound & Recording, and Relix, among others. http://www.mrbonzai.com.

    Elizabeth Dale

    In 1968, Denis Wick started the company that would bear his name to make products better suited to produce the musical results he was hoping to achieve. He first manufactured mutes and mouthpieces for brass instruments, primarily to aid his colleagues and himself in the London Symphony Orchestra. Having played in London’s Royal Festival Hall, one of the world’s most acoustically challenging stages, Wick and his counterparts required tools to create the correct tonal qualities to combat this harsh acoustic environment.

    Wick’s mutes and mouthpieces “have helped create this distinctive timbre and have come to represent an important part of our musical heritage.” During the development of one of its most popular mutes, Wick played multiple prototypes of the trombone for English composer Benjamin Britten. Finally, with the help of Britten’s keen ear, he selected the trombone mute he preferred, and that selection remains in production today.

    Denis Wick Promo Video

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    The company has since grown into one of the world’s leading manufacturers of brass instrument accessories. Stephen Wick is the Executive Chairman following his father's retirement and the company is run by newly-appointed CEO Steven Greenall. The factory, located in Hamworthy, Dorset, houses skilled technicians and craftsmen, who, alongside a global system of distributors and dealers, sell products to musicians worldwide. In 2013, Denis Wick was awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade, an extremely coveted accolade in the British business community.

    Nearly a decade ago, the NAMM Member embarked on a plan to reduce its impact on the world through a multi-faceted sustainability plan. Its efforts include alternative ways to generate energy, dispose of waste, and source wood.

    At the company’s factory an array of solar panels are optimized to combat the effects of running a factory on traditional energy sources. The electricity generated powers the manufacturer's CNC machines and lathes and has saved over 28,294 kg of CO2 emissions since its installation, or planting over 1,295 trees. In addition, when the factory is not operational on evenings and weekends, the energy harnessed through the solar panels is diverted back to the national grid, providing sustainable solutions across the country.

    In addition to its solar project, Denis Wick is committed to responsible waste handling and recycling most of its waste material. For example, the mute production process accumulates scrap aluminum and swarf, the fine chips or filings from manufacturing mouthpieces. This byproduct is sent to foundries where the byproduct is melted down and recycled.

    The need for birch wood in its wooden mute production has led the company to take a proactive approach to mindful sourcing its wood. Although, according to the NAMM Member’s website, birch trees “play a vital part in the biodiversity of northern forests and help promote the growth of many species including birdlife, fungi, herbivores, and insects,” the company sources all its birch from certificated sustainable forests in Finland.

    The importance of the efforts made by the NAMM Member is evident in a statement made by Stephen Wick. He said, "As climate change continues to affect our lives as well as the fate of all other species on the planet, we must all do what we can to reduce our carbon footprints and find ways to become more sustainable."

    The team at Denis Wick began its programs years ago, starting with the simple task of swapping their incandescent lighting for low voltage options. Wick also commented on the expansion of solar, saying, “The panels proved to be an astute investment and, although they were expensive to install, they paid for themselves within seven and a half years.”

    The future for Wick includes the increased limitation of plastics. The team has been reducing the use of plastics in its packaging, with most of it already being recyclable. Examples include the replacement of bubble wrap with more sustainable cardboard honeycomb alternatives. In addition, Wick reported that the company has already replaced all its vinyl tape, used for sealing boxes, with reliable paper tape that is both recyclable and biodegradable.

    Wick used his experience leading a company that puts eco-friendly initiatives at the forefront of operations to advise other NAMM Members. “Sustainability is at the heart of everything we do. We try to be environmentally aware, and we like to think that we consider more than just profits. Companies would be wise to follow our lead. Apart from the small matter of saving the planet, some tenders for government and educational contracts are now beginning to be dependent on environmental considerations and will not be awarded to companies that do not have a well-considered sustainability policy.”


    The manufacturer’s efforts to remain mindful of the state of our planet and the steps they are taking to preserve our world for future generations have not impacted its ability to produce high-quality products. The skilled artisans who craft Denis Wick’s line of accessories do so with the intention that they will be used for decades by talented musicians. For more information from Denis Wick, please visit https://www.deniswick.com/.

    Elizabeth Dale

    Marc Minarik’s journey to becoming a successful designer of musical instruments has one overarching theme, passion. When he talks about music, and his bass and guitar builds, you can feel it seep out of every part of his being. In June, Minarik returned to Anaheim to exhibit at The NAMM Show and debuted one of his latest collaborations.

    Minarik began his career in the industry as a musician earning an endorsement from a well-known guitar manufacturer. After developing a friendship with the owner, it became apparent to the seasoned manufacturer that Minarik’s true talent was in conceptualizing and designing guitars. With encouragement and connections from his friendship, Minarik connected with a prolific pickup brand that was instrumental in manufacturing the first run of his debut shape, the Inferno, resulting in the arrival of Minarik Guitars. In our conversation, Minarik encapsulated the goals of his designs, saying, “We create guitar shapes that visually inspire people to dig deep and bring out their gift, their music, their craft.”

    Attendees at The 2022 NAMM Show stopped in their tracks when they passed one of Minarik’s latest builds, a Disney Haunted Mansion 50th Anniversary electric guitar. Disney reached out to Minarik to collaborate on a limited run of officially Disney-licensed guitars that celebrated half a century of the beloved ride. The visually stunning builds and the story behind their creation sparked a conversation at The NAMM Show that we continued with Minarik about the importance of collaborating with artists in creating his instruments.

    Minarik said of the project with Disney and all his artist collaborations, “Some of the best and most amazing things come through collaboration.” From the start, bringing artists, including galleried artists, on board to uplift his designs has been critical to Minarik. He credits the relationship that led to the Haunted Mansion 50th Anniversary build to a meeting at The NAMM Show. He said, “Somebody saw the Minarik booth and dragged a friend over saying, ‘You have got to see this!’ I got the introduction, and it happened to be a licensed Disney artist. We developed a friendship and a professional relationship, and the opportunity was there to do this project it was a result of a chance meeting at The NAMM Show.”

    Minarik reflected on his desire to start a company solely comprised of ornately inlayed, highly decorative, incredibly sounding instruments as its bread and butter. He credits this mindset as the foundation for being able to create 13 of the “outrageously inlayed, airbrushed, UV painted” Haunted Mansion guitars.

    “We are always open to meeting new people, and if we can find some synergy, we are bringing you in on a project. When you work with us, I’m going through my mind the minute I’m out of a meeting saying, ‘Okay, who are some people we can collaborate with?’ The relationships we have with artists flowing in and out of our lives over the years never fades. We are a family and a network, comprised of people who are incredibly gifted at creating beautiful things.” says Minarik.

    Minarik made it a point to share that he and his team always allow artists to do what they do best, create. “I do not micromanage artists. If we have a direction we are going in, I hand it off to them and say, ‘Go, be an artist.’ I have never had a bad experience doing this, and I know artists appreciate it.”

    Today, Minarik still lives his original dream of being a musician, writing, singing, and releasing albums while doing what he’s come to be known for best, creating exceptional guitar and bass designs that help other artists reach their goals. Many of Minarik’s designs appear at The NAMM Show every year, and the company is already predicting making another big splash at The 2023 NAMM Show.


    For more information about Minarik Guitars or the latest information on The 2023 NAMM Show, please visit https://www.minarikguitars.com/ and /thenammshow/2023/attend.

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