UK Music and the MU bring live music to parliament

With confirmation that the recently-passed Live Music Act will come into effect on October 1st 2012, the UK music industry is holding a celebration event in Westminster this afternoon.

Co-hosted by UK Music and the Musicians’ Union, and bringing together those who supported the Act, today’s event will feature performances by Martina Topley-Bird, Daytona Lights and MP4.   

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.

As a result, in England and Wales, performances of live amplified music to audiences of less than 200 people between the hours of 8am-11pm will no longer require local authority permission. There will be no audience limit for performances of unamplified live music.

UK Music has commissioned an extensive research project to evaluate the impact the Act will have on live music in the UK. Bournemouth University is conducting fieldwork to establish for the first time how many licensed premises are intending to offer customers live music once the Act comes into force.  

Jo Dipple, chief executive of UK Music, said: “This Act will reverse the damaging effect the Licensing Act had on live musical performances in the UK. Our most successful musicians, Joy Division, The Sex Pistols, 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.”

John Smith, MU General Secretary, said: “The MU is delighted to be hosting this event alongside UK Music.  Personally, I have been campaigning on this issue ever since the Licensing Bill first started going through Parliament in 2002-03, and once the Licensing Act came into place in 2003 our members immediately started telling us that the number of gigs being held in small venues was going down.

“The exemption that the Live Music Act will bring in is fantastic news for musicians and will be a real boost for live music, and we thought it was right to celebrate it with a live music party in parliament.”

Lord Tim Clement-Jones added: "I very much welcome UK Music's commitment to assessing the impact of the new Act. I am confident that the deregulation of live performances in small venues will be a real boost for musicians and the music economy."

The Live Music Act has won support across the music community:

Martina Topley-Bird:

“I am delighted to be joining UK Music to celebrate the passing of the Live Music Act. I know that playing live has been essential to my creative development as a performer and songwriter and  the passing of this legislation will make more opportunities available to young upcoming artists - great news”  

Dan Lawrence, Daytona Lights:

“Playing live has been a huge part of our life as a band. Playing in venues across the UK has really helped us perfect our craft on stage. In small venues we are able to connect with the audience, gauge reaction to songs and build the rapport we have with each other. The live music scene in the UK is fantastic and we are thrilled to be part of it. As an emerging band this has been a vital to our growth - the Live Music Act is so important, keeping music live and thriving!”

Guy Garvey, Elbow:

“The nerves, excitement and satisfaction that I felt when playing at Glastonbury Festival on the main stage last summer were just as intense when we played the Corner Pin pub in Stubbins twenty years ago. The encouragement the landlord and the friends that gathered back then gave us kept us writing and playing long enough to make a life from our passion. This result is a very important step towards easing the path for musicians of tomorrow. British music is one of our proudest exports, and everyone involved with raising this issue and voting in its favour should be enormously proud. Now let’s get drunk and have a sing!” 

Jack Savidge, Friendly Fires:

“Last year we played a gig at the Horn in St Albans, a small venue that's supported us in various incarnations for over 10 years. It’s a common saying that for a band to get good they have to play gig after gig after, and that there is no substitute for playing to an audience. With more and more small venues facing closure (even the Horn is launching a 'save the Horn' campaign for the first time in its 37 year history) it’s becoming harder for new artists to do this. We hope the new Act will help small venues to survive and thrive.”

Phil Manzanera, Roxy Music:

“A lot of us musicians started out in the smallest of venues, where we learned our trade, and it is fantastic to get this exemption to the Act which will continue to encourage the emergence of new young talent.”

Simon Neil, Biffy Clyro:

“It’s great news that the Act has been passed. It is definitely a day for celebration.”

Sting:

“It's great news that the campaign has been successful and small venues will be able to hold live music events without a licence. Such venues are the essential shop floor of the UK's multi-million pound music industry."

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