How Florence’s music scene is changing

Changing regulations impact Florence

Michelle Davis
December 3, 2015 - 10:00

Sometimes it is necessary to delve into tediously complex matters in order to gain perspective on the important cultural and social changes that our city is undergoing. In Florence, event organizers deal with the burdensome bureaucracy of public entertainment licensing required by local regulations on a near-daily basis, on top of which they have to budget for the royalty taxations levied by SIAE, the Italian Society of Authors and Publishers. Since 1882 this organization has been collecting the revenue owed for the use of works protected by copyright, and redistributes it to the rightful owners and publishers. Added up, at times these fees prove crippling for young associations and newly founded venues. But, as Bob Dylan once sang, ‘the times they are a-changin’.’


With the effective application of the Decreto Valore Cultura, since March 2015, Florence became the first city in Italy to take an important step towards a more flexible and economically viable approach to small-scale event planning. To learn more about the regulation, I met with Tommaso Sacchi, Florence’s councillor for culture, who played a crucial role in the implementation of this long-awaited improvement. Sacchi is also the brain behind Opera Musica, a day-long national forum on live music that will take place at Florence’s Teatro dell’Opera on December 14.


‘Live music is an invaluable source of cultural enrichment and local income. One of our main inspirations for the upcoming local simplification was the 2012 Live Music Act in the United Kingdom, which did away with the local authority requirement for live entertainment licensing in small venues. This allowed more than 30,000 businesses to flourish and hold concerts, creating new musical hotbeds and fostering new talent,’ explained Sacchi.


The requisites to apply for this licensing deregulation are quite clear: the venue must have a capacity of fewer than 200 people, the concert must take place within the 24 hours of the chosen date, entry must be free and the purchase of drinks must not be mandatory. If all these requirements are met, authorization of the event can be obtained simply by providing an online self-certification to the city.


Sacchi explained further, ‘We worked with SIAE to create a simplified fee for deregulated venues showcasing musicians under 31 years of age, introducing, from March 2016, a special Wednesday-only price of 25 euro per event. Only original material must be performed. No cover bands are allowed.’


To explain the new regulation, Opera Musica is featuring a panel discussion (in Italian) with Florence mayor Dario Nardella (himself a music lover and classical violinist) and the president of SIAE, Filippo Sugar. Afterwards the audience will be free to explore Florence’s new opera house, a modern multifunctional complex. Guided tours are also offered and the theater is also hosting a number of concerts for the event, featuring leading names on Italy’s contemporary music scene, including alternative rock band Afterhours and Florentine rock-pop superstar Irene Grandi.


Opera Musica

December 14

Teatro dell’Opera

Viale Fratelli Rosselli, 7

Free, but registration is required.

Panel discussion on Decreto Valore Cultura, 5pm

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Alexandra Korey

8 hours and 53 minutes ago
This is good news - though I had no idea it was so complicated in the first place!