Live Music Recognized as Art, Chicago Officials Now Agree
Posted on 15 October 2016
In August, Cook County, the municipality that includes Chicago, proposed new legislation seeking to clear up a local debate over whether rock, rap, and electronic music count as art when it comes to tax laws. Today, Cook County Commissioner John Fritchey announced an agreement on a rule change that would settle the question by recognizing live music and DJ sets as art forms. Other sides agreeing to the deal include Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle’s administration, representatives from the City of Chicago, and industry stakeholders, according to a press release from Fritchey’s office. A hearing on the amendment to the county’s amusement tax ordinance is scheduled for October 26.
Fritchey said in the release: “This agreement makes it clear that it was never the intent of the Administration for the County to play culture police and make decisions on what is, or isn’t, music or art, and that fact is bolstered by President Preckwinkle’s desire to co-sponsor my amendment. By bringing together public officials and music industry representatives, we were able to arrive at language that all parties agree recognizes the diverse and robust nature of live music while providing the County with the ability to collect those taxes that are legitimately owed to it.”
Joe Shanahan, owner of Chicago venues Metro and Smart Bar, cheered the move. “These musical styles are all recognized as art around the world and Chicago is rightly recognized as the birthplace of some of the best-known artists,” he said in the press release. “This agreement confirms that government officials should not be the arbiters of what constitutes art while affording small venue owners a sense of certainty as they continue to present musical talent to Chicagoans and the many visitors who flock to our venues based on our city’s international reputation as a music capital.”
Read “Music Is Art, OK: Why Chicago’s Absurd Nightclub Shakedown Matters” over on the Pitch.
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