It's ironic that here in Austin, some 10,000 attendees at the South by Southwest Music Conference all received a flier proclaiming that "Austin Is Music," lauding the city's support of the local music scene and its new music initiative as part of the City of Austin Economic Growth & Redevelopment Services Office.
Seattle, Memphis and New Orleans all have similar offices under their mayors, while Chicago has... a chief executive seemingly determined to thwart the local music community at every turn, with the reintroduction of the promoters ordinance simply Mayor Daley's latest assault.
The musical advocacy group the Chicago Music Commission has long trumpeted the economic benefits to the city from the music scene, and it's becoming increasingly pointed in its opposition to the promoters ordinance. Now it's posted an alternative proposal on its Web site. The full statement is best read there, but the group does offer an outline of what it's suggesting, and that follows the jump.
Meanwhile, word here among several of the founders of Chicago's best indie labels is that the city has finally wised up (apparently in part under the prodding of the CMC) and devoted an entire stage at this year's Taste of Chicago Festival in Grant Park to showcasing the local stars on the labels' rosters. Stay tuned for more details.
Here are the CMC's alternative proposals for the promoters ordinance.
* With the music community, develop "self-help measures" that the community can implement on its own. The music community has not been given a chance to fix what the City finds so concerning about music promotion in Chicago. Many in the music community are not even aware of what specific conduct the City is attempting to address with this proposed ordinance. Let's engage industry leaders--including small promoters--to identify best practices.
* Amend the PPA/Special Events code (which regulates music venues) so that the venue owner (PPA licensee) would be required to clearly and unequivocally control--and be responsible for--all that happens at the venue, including conduct of the promoter and insurance coverage of promoter conduct.
* Commission an independent survey of the promoter industry to accurately determine who is in fact "in the business of promotion" and assess current industry practices, identify best practices, and make clear where public safety problems are occurring.
* Create a pilot City-managed registry for promoters that would require registered promoters to provide the City with their contact information and which events they will promote.
* Adjust the PPA code to require PPA licensees to only do business with registered promoters, rather than creating a new licensing class as this ordinance does.