One size fits all solution probably another bad idea.
This article inspired by a post on Buzzkers
If you are a musician who needs to use amplification for your performance on the streets of New York it will cost you $45. Also you can only use the permit in 100 defined spots. If you use amplification anywhere else you will be fined.
If you want to play in the park, amp or not, it will cost you $45. If you want to play in the subway you need another permit. It is hard to imagine in a city like New York that there are only 100 spaces suitable for amplification and quality performance but apparently that is the view of the Nanny Government there and 2000 buskers are going to have to figure out how to make a living while complying.
One size fits all is always the problem with government involvement in individual and community enterprise. Street Culture is perhaps the most glaring example. While it might be better for some areas to charge more for a permit in order to ensure a better quality performance, (ie great performers will get better tips), however it only inhibits the free expression of art when the price of expression is punitive or space is drastically limited.
Under the terms of the new law there is only a fee to perform in certain areas so performers just starting out will still have space available for free to perfect their craft. However if they are an acrobat, a juggler, a beat boxer or other performer who needs amplification to stage a decent performance this will be a repressive ordinance at best and a new talent culture killer for local New Yorker’s at worst.
Lets talk about noise for a second. In some areas you do not want amplification after a certain hour but 1 block away you may want it till late in the evening. Under this law if the bureaucrats have not deemed it appropriate to perform with amplification you cannot. This law then seems to disregard the obvious need for amplification for beginners or those who in an effort to share space with other amplified performers cannot fit into one of these 100 precious spaces. For this reason alone the law needs to change.
Communities need organizations for street culture that apply to their specific needs and reject these blanket laws that empower the lazy administration of an indifferent ruling class and not the citizens and artist entrepreneurs.
Charging to sell CD’s or DVD’s for performers is just plain greedy and repressive but don’t tell that to the bureaucrats. It certainly does not cost the city any more to regulate CD sales during a performance but greed knows no propriety.
Since there are only 100 permit spaces available in what must be the prime spots in Manhattan it is logical to assume that the performers will need to organize themselves just to keep from getting into fist fights over prime real estate. They may want to consider organizing themselves and their communities to force the City of New York to adopt more community culture friendly laws. No government can administrate well if communities do not tell them what they want. The NYC government site for the rules for buskers is located here