Moving the conversation forward on the promoter ordinance
March 18, 2009 by CMC
In our last post publishing the City’s latest version of the promoter ordinance, we also put up CMC’s statement on that version of the ordinance (all the good stuff on the ordinance is collected at our dedicated promoter ordinance page). Our statement is in-depth because we take this ordinance very seriously and we take the City’s power to legislate the music community’s conduct very seriously. But we at CMC believe that our independent advocacy on behalf of Chicago’s music community involves not just pointing out when and why the City isn’t acting in the community’s best interests, but also how we think we as a city can do better.
So we suggest in our statement a detailed proposal that if acted on will allow the music community to continue to thrive, add no new regulatory burdens (or significant costs) for working Chicago music community members, and ensure greater accountability and transparency of promoter’s conduct in Chicago: no new license, more sunshine on the promoter community, and, we think, a win-win.
Here’s the basic outline of our proposal:
- 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.
A few things worth nothing here—CMC is under no illusion that this proposal is air-tight. We want you to comment here with your thoughts. And we will seek music community input beyond this blog. But for now, since no one is discussing alternatives to the ordinance and a new class of license for promoters, we feel it’s necessary to get the conversation moving away from a back-and forth on the particulars of promoter ordinance language, and towards a more expansive—and productive—discussion on what will work best for Chicago music and the general public alike.