• Petitioned Carolyn McLaughlin
  • Responded

This petition was delivered to:

Albany Common Council President
Carolyn McLaughlin
1st Ward
Dominick Calsolaro
See response
2nd Ward
Lester Freeman
3rd Ward
Ronald E. Bailey
4th Ward
Barbara Smith
5th Ward
Jacqueline Jenkins-Cox
6th Ward
Richard Conti
7th Ward
Catherine Fahey
8th Ward
John Rosenzweig
9th Ward
James Sano
10th Ward
Leah Golby
11th Ward
Anton Konev
12th Ward
Michael O'Brien
13th Ward
Daniel Herring
14th Ward
Joseph Igoe
15th Ward
Frank Commisso, Jr.

Reject Albany's Proposed Live Music Tax

    1. Jeremy Routhier-James
    2. Petition by

      Jeremy Routhier-James

      Albany, NY

One of the proposed changes to the city's zoning laws would require businesses such as coffeeshops and restaurants to pay an annual fee of between $300 and $900 to be allowed to host amplified entertainment such as live music performances, open mic nights, stand-up comedy, karaoke, and trivia. This annual fee would represent a significant burden for small businesses and would serve as an obstacle to live entertainment options in a city already bereft of such.

Live music and entertainment are integral to a thriving city. Countless independent musicians, comedians, poets, and karaoke and trivia hosts depend on a vibrant nightlife scene in the region for their livelihood and means of artistic expression. Small venues such as coffeeshops that host open mics and performances by local musicians play an important role in the local music scene. We fear that the already limited opportunities for performers in Albany will only diminish if the Albany Common Council adopts this proposal.

While many of the aspects of the proposed changes seem reasonable, such as attaching permission for amplified entertainment to a business rather than a property, the fee schedule does not. Many small businesses in Albany are already struggling to keep their doors open, and the addition of a new annual expense will be unnecessarily burdensome. This proposed expense threatens not only those businesses, but the artists who perform there, the fans who come from near and far to attend their performances, and the cultural and artistic diversity of Albany.

When asked if this was simply a way for the city to bring in extra revenue, Albany Common Council President Carolyn McLaughlin said to a local television station, "It is certainly not about the money at all." We take her at her word and ask that the Albany Common Council therefore reject the proposed fees.

Recent signatures


    1. Decision-maker Dominick Calsolaro responds:

      Dominick Calsolaro

      There is a misunderstanding going around about the fees for the license. For coffee shops and other establishments that don't sell alcohol, the fee is $50 (capacity less than 300 persons) or $100 (capacity of over 300 persons) for the en...

    2. A new version of Albany's proposed cabaret law

      Jeremy Routhier-James
      Petition Organizer

      You spoke and they are listening. The Albany Common Council has put forth a revised version of the proposed cabaret law. Under the new version, establishments that do not serve alcohol (such as coffeeshops) would only be subject to a $50 per year fee. Fees for establishments that do serve alcohol have been significantly reduced to between $150 and $500 per year, depending on the size of the venue. Thank you all for the support. This development is really promising, and shows that we the people still have a voice.

    3. Reached 2,000 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Caroline Wright HONOLULU, HI
      • over 2 years ago

      As a longtime NYS resident who still owns property there, I protest ANY tax on live music! I absolutely agree that live music and entertainment are essential in ANY city. Please reject this tax!!!

    • Bonita Bryant GUILDERLAND, NY
      • over 2 years ago

      Stifling struggling musicians and other artists is not a good way to encourage the arts in the Capital District.

    • Kevin Partlow SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY
      • over 2 years ago

      I see this as simply an over-reach of the music/media industries looking to tax-out-of-existence competition to their classic distribution models.

      When culture is 100% controlled, unable to be disseminated publically, is it still culture at all?

      • over 2 years ago

      Proponents claim that musicians bring in more business. Those of us that have played to empty houses know that isn't always true, even on weekends.

    • Andrew Doonan GREENWICH, NY
      • over 2 years ago

      The fee is unreasonable.


    Develop your own tools to win.

    Use the Change.org API to develop your own organizing tools. Find out how to get started.