Musicians rally at City Hall still on as Philly councilman kills music bill

 District 1 City Councilman Mark Squilla. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

District 1 City Councilman Mark Squilla. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Despite the fact Philadelphia city councilman Mark Squilla is planning to kill his controversial bill regulating music in entertainment venues, musicians are still planning to rally at City Hall on Thursday.

Squilla came under fire on social media last week for language in the bill that asks music venue operators to collect addresses and phone numbers for all performers and share that information with police upon request. The councilman has said his “original intent” was to close a loophole that allowed venues to play music streamed over the Internet or from an iPod or to host bands or DJs without a “special assembly license.” 

Promoters, musicians and other performers slammed the bill for violating artists’ privacy and infringing on their civil liberties. 

A spokeswoman for Squilla said he decided to withdraw the bill, rather than make changes to the existing legislation in response to the controversy. 

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Lea van der Tak is one of the organizers of the rally-turned-victory march.  It will begin at City Hall and move to Independence Hall once the council session is over. While more than 600 people have RSVP’ed for the march on Facebook, she expects the crowd will not be as large now that word is spreading of the bill’s demise. 

“We’re happy that the bill has been withdrawn and we’re happy that they’re working with venue people in the industry that might help better for the issues that they’re trying to address,” said van der Tak, who is still concerned about what will be included in the next iteration of Squilla’s legislation.

Anne Kelly, Squilla’s spokeswoman, said the councilman will withdraw the bill at Thursday’s meeting and plans to introduce a new one that will likely leave out the so-called “artists’ registry.”

“We were hoping that…by withdrawing… there wouldn’t be a need for such a rally, but everybody’s entiled to what they want to do,” Kelly said.

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