After being antagonized by the Cook County government for not booking “live cultural performances,” small venues in Chicago have received a reassuring piece of news: DJ performances will finally be considered a “recognized art form,” under the same umbrella as live concerts. This means that venues which exclusively put on electronic or hip-hop shows will not have to pay the additional three percent amusement tax that the city was attempting to levy by classifying DJ sets separately from live music.
Cities are the cultural hubs of the modern world, where art tends to evolve the quickest. To charge additional taxes on small venues that put on electronic shows — in the birthplace of house music no less — would be to stifle innovation.
Joe Shanahan, the owner behind popular Chicago venues like Metro and Smart Bar, commented on the new amendment: “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.”
The amendment to the Amusement Tax is set to be heard on Wednesday, October 26, 2016.
The news follows a similar situation in Berlin, which recently declared techno — and more specifically, Berghain’s world-renowned techno parties — as “high culture.”