This morning, I attended a press conference at Neumo's, where Mayor Nickels and a few members of the music community-- including Neumos owner Steven Severin-- got together to announce that small live music venues with a capacity of under 1,000 occupants will now be exempt from the 5% admissions tax. It's a significant amount, and Severin said, "The main goal is to put more money in musicians' pockets." Purportedly, he added, so that they can stop working several different jobs to support themselves.
As expected, the whole affair was an attempt to smooth things over with the music community after that nightlife licensing fiasco that totally pissed everyone off. And I was really disappointed that no one managed to point out that particularly noisy elephant in the room, except for one reporter, who asked an indirect question about the nightclub ordinance and as a result, got an indirect response. Nickels offered up some dodgy answer about how the clubs they had trouble with weren't live music venues, and that this was for live music venues, etc. Personally, I don't think the nightlife license is off the table, folks, so watch out. This is a step in the right direction, but if Nickels really wants to help out live music venues, he'll go on the record and tell the condo-dwelling assholes that they moved into a downtown neighborhood and that some noise is part of the package. You want quiet? Move to any one of the numerous residential neighborhoods in Seattle that are still close to all relevant conveniences, but are a safe distance from clubs.
ANYway, here are the bullet points from the press release detailing the requirements for clubs to qualify for the admissions tax exemption. To receive an exemption, clubs must:
? Have an established certificate of occupancy of less than 1,000
? Host or present live music on average at least 3 times per week on
a regular schedule;
? Hire on average at least 16 musicians per week; and
? Have committed no more than three violations of any one or more
civil or criminal laws concerning public health, noise, licensing,
taxing or permitting in the calendar year preceding or during the date
the admission tax is due.
The Film and Music Office is also launching a program-- at no additional cost to the city-- to assist venues with obtaining permits, navigating the murky waters of city code, and things of that nature.