Let's all put an end to this!
“(a) Any person who conducts a public event at night that includes prerecorded music and lasts more than three and one-half hours is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of ten thousand dollars ($10,000) or twice the actual or estimated gross receipts for the event, whichever is greater.”
Full draft for the bill:
I'm writing you to ask you to withdraw support for AB 74. This laws intent is implied to reduce drug use and abuse by youth, but it is clear to me that other such laws already exist, such as those covering event permits, venue security and Fire Marshall requirements for safety. The very definition of 'Prerecorded Music' is itself vague and unrealistic as even the majority of 'live' acts use elements of prerecorded music, or are in fact prerecorded in their entirety and 'performed' (acted) to ensure product and market quality. AB 74 would have a chilling effect on venue and concert production, removing incentive to 'take the show on the road' thus denying music lovers the opportunity to view and hear acts that they appreciate.
AB 74 fails to account for the fact that even with so-called 'DJ music', the DJ is in fact a live performer using existing sonic timbres, layering them and altering them live to the point of creating new music for performance. So, AB 74 introduces an uncomfortable, if not unconstitutional element of arbitrary judgment for enforcement: which 'live' acts are actually prerecorded? Which DJ sets are 'live music'? What element of performance exactly constitutes a 'live' performance?
In my opinion, this is far from a solution to the problem. I'm sure in the coming days you will see an overwhelming backlash against AB 74 and I hope you will take notice. Music is incredibly powerful and important to Californians, and the right to gather and enjoy music (of all genres) with others will not be taken from your constituents without a fight. I urge you to take action against AB 74.
To provide a clear example of how AB 74 would have immediate and negative impact, a local 501(c) non-profit held an annual fund-raiser in Santa Barbara in December 2010. Due to cancellation of a performer, stage management altered the schedule resulting i n prerecorded music to accompany sets of aerial/trapeze and fire dancers spanning 6pm to midnight. Gross receipts were just over $7,000 with a net of $2,000 to fund programs for performing arts local to the area. Under AB 74, the performing arts 501(c) would be liable for $8,000 of losses on what would be an otherwise successful fundraiser. Does it make sense to fine them $10,000, if the night-time neighborhood fundraiser goes for 4 hours and played 'prerecorded' (by a vague standard) music due to necessity?
Judging by the bill's title, this legislation aims to target the electronic music, or "rave" scene. History has shown that targeting specific musical genres almost always results in negative consequences. It was less than a hundred years ago that certain municipalities banned jazz music because it was deemed too "extreme" for civilized society. Other genres which have faced persecution include rock-and-roll, disco, hip-hop, and now "rave musi c". If we want to mitigate issues that happen at concerts and events, we need to focus on legislation that casts attention towards safety and security at such events. AB 74 does nothing to this regard, and instead introduces vague and prejudicial language subject to gross misuse and abuse. Don't let this suppressive, irresponsible, potentially unconstitutional bill pass, for the sake of our country's claim to 'freedom' and for the sake of sanity, free thought and community. AB 74 is no solution to any of the problems it supposedly addresses. I ask you to strike down this bill in support of freedom for music-lovers and safety for all!