Local musician outraged over requirement of business license

Published: Jan. 5, 2017 at 3:53 AM EST|Updated: Jan. 5, 2017 at 7:45 AM EST
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MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - One man is voicing frustrations with Myrtle Beach leaders after learning he needs a business license to play music at a local bar.

Requiring a business to have a business license is nothing new, but Rich Johnson says he feels it's unfair to require musicians to apply for one and pay license fees just to make few bucks playing with friends.

"It seems way over the top," Johnson said. "I mean, you put the guys together, say you play every other Tuesday at a particular place in the city of Myrtle Beach, even if you're getting $25 a man and free burgers and free beer, you still have to get, from my understanding, this Myrtle Beach business license."

"I'm making $100 a night, $150 dollars a night," Johnson added. "That's same musicians were getting back in 1985, now the cost of burger went up, booze went up..."

Johnson recently retired from Long Island and came down to the beach. He started a petition to get rid of the requirement for musicians to have to carry business licenses. Less than 24 hours later, it's gained some momentum.

"We're almost at over 300 in less than 24 hours, we're trying to spread it to everybody, tourists, our friends, anyone who visits Myrtle Beach, because we don't want just musicians to sign it," Johnson said. "You want a vibrant music scene in the city of Myrtle Beach and the whole Grand Strand North to South."

A spokesperson with Myrtle Beach says the requirement to have a business license is nothing new, and it's not just in Myrtle Beach, but across the county. Johnson says the law discourages musicians who just want to earn a few dollars doing something they enjoy in their spare time.

"I mean why should a guy who plays once a week on a Tuesday night and make $75 or a hundred bucks be forced to pay a $100 license when he might play a couple of times a year?" Johnson asked.

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