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Live Music Act

The Live Music Act officially came into effect on October 1st 2012 and removes the Local Authority requirement for venues with an alcohol licence to purchase an additional licence for hosting a performance of live music for small venues.

It removes the Local Authority licensing requirements for:

  • amplified live music between 8am and 11pm before audiences of no more than 200 people on premises authorised to sell alcohol for consumption on the premises;
  • amplified live music between 8am and 11pm before audiences of no more than 200 people in workplaces not otherwise licensed under the 2003 Act (or licensed only for the provision of late night refreshment); and
  • unamplified live music between 8am and 11pm in all venues.
  • There will be no audience limit for performances of unamplified live music.

Introduced by Lib Dem Peer Tim Clement-Jones and promoted in the Commons by Bath MP Don Foster, the Live Music Act will encourage pubs and other small venues to host live music events.

Lord Tim Clement-Jones said: "I am confident that the deregulation of live performances in small venues will be a real boost for musicians and the music economy."

Jo Dipple, chief executive of UK Music said: "This act will reverse the damaging effect the Licensing At had on live musical performances in the UK. Our most successful musicians, Joy Division, The Sex Pistols and the Rolling Stones all learnt their trade and earned their livings in small clubs and bars. Reversing overzealous licensing regulations will create new opportunities for British artists. The Rose & Crown in Totteridge Park and The Constitution in Camden Town will be - thanks to this Act - full of music and seedbeds for talent. Tomorrow’s headline acts will grow from these seedbeds which is great for music lovers and for the wider UK economy."

Visit the Live Music Act page in the research section of this site to find out more about our work.

2013 Roundtables:

To celebrate the first birthday of the Live Music Act, UK Music and the Musicians Union joined forces to find out how it was working in practice.

Given that the main beneficiary of the Act is grassroots music, the lifeblood of our industry, we decided to join forces with the Musicians Union to address this knowledge gap. We conducted a series of roundtables meeting musicians, venue owners, venue managers, music producers, music managers and most importantly, the local MPs who made this Act a possibility.

From the survey last year, 17% of venues indicated that they would consider putting on live events for the first time. 24% said they would increase their current provision.

The Rocktober Report is intended to highlight some of the feedback and feelings from people who know the live music business best.  We spoke to people in Bristol, Birmingham, London, Liverpool, Cardiff and Manchester.

This is an exciting time for both venues and musicians, who can use the opportunity to work together to create a growing audience and profile, and long-term success. Research undertaken by PRS for Music has shown, live music can be hugely beneficial for pubs -pubs without featured music being three times more likely to close than pubs with featured music.

The MU has a Live Music Kit available for download which contains practical and creative advice for venues. It outlines the terms of the Act, and explains how a live music programme can enhance a business by creating a higher profile, a more vibrant atmosphere and, ultimately, an increase in clientele and revenue. It also advises on the legislative, practical and creative elements involved in hosting live music, and features a range of resources, including performance contracts, health and safety issues, promotional advice and useful contacts.

Small venues are, after all, the places where most musicians start their careers and so promoting opportunities for live performance in small venues protects the career progression of musicians in the UK.


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