Every day Philadelphia breaks my entrepreneurial heart a little more

Apparently learning about Philadelphia’s messed up tax structure wasn’t enough.

This week I got an email that broke my little entrepreneurial heart a bit more.

You may have read in the City Paper about the new bill introduced by City Councilmen Darrell Clarke and Bill Greenlee a few weeks ago, Bill 100267. The Philadelphia music blogosphere has been exploding in protest. You can see a few examples here, here and here.

This bill is being deemed as the potential death of Philadelphia’s music scene.

Under the proposed rules, promoters would have to apply for a permit from the Philadelphia Police Department (PPD) 30 days before every single event — meaning if you promote a weekly club night, that’s 52 permit applications per year . More than just a bureaucratic nightmare, this would all but abolish last-minute shows or pickup parties. These applications would have to include detailed security plans, the promoter’s business-privilege-license number, the venue’s capacity and the expected crowd. Perhaps most importantly, the bill would hold promoters liable for the actions of the crowds at the events they promote.

Additionally, the bill requires that every permit application include a copy of the contract between the venue and the promoter — in effect, making rental prices and rates for each individual promoter a matter of public record . To make matters worse, the cops can deny a permit for any reason and without explanation up to 10 days before the event — which could devastate businesses that fronted costs, to say nothing of destroying the credibility of those trying to book events.

Our City’s music scene has already been struggling with the increased corporate ownership of music venues by entities such as Clear Channel. A bill like this could single-handedly wipe out independent hip-hop and rock promoters, even the more established ones like R5 and Eavesdrop Sessions.

Everything is likely to become more expensive. And the space for less well known people to play in some random joint and be discovered will be gone.

Remember the days of Hollertronix and how folks like Diplo and Spank Rock rose up on that wave? It’ll be a huge challenge for things like that to happen here anymore.

Like I’ve said before, I know nothing about economics, but I gotta say this feels like a bad decision for retaining young creative people in this city.

P.S. If you want to sign the petition against the bill, go here.


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