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Edinburgh economy suffering due to council’s live music rules, reports find

By | Published on Thursday 15 October 2015

University Of Edinburgh

A new report published by Edinburgh University has found that 44% of musicians in the Scottish capital have had problems related to the city’s strict noise restrictions in the last twelve months. As a result, council leaders have pledged to review rules stating that all live music in the city must be “inaudible” in nearby homes.

The Edinburgh Live Music Census also found that live music is worth £40 million to the local economy, with music fans spending on average £1120 each a year on nights out in the city’s venues. But this, say researchers, is being hindered by the local council’s current strict rules on noise, which are acting as a “handbrake” on the development of the city’s live music scene.

As well as individual shows being pulled, the research found that some venues have stopped putting on live music altogether. Council rules state that just one noise complaint will trigger an investigation into a venue, resulting in many buildings that could host music events choosing not to, not wanting to take the risk of losing their licence.

The council’s Vice-Convenor Of Culture, Norman Austin Hart, told the Scotsman: “There has definitely been an issue over amplified music in Edinburgh. There’s no point in the council saying that there hasn’t. The inaudibility clause has been policy for ten years, but there’s enough of a case to look at it again. We can’t just hide behind it”.

He added: “There’s been a tendency for the council to say that there hasn’t been a problem and that all complaints have been resolved without anyone losing a licence. What that conceals is the fact that 44% say they have been personally restricted over some form of noise complaint. That tells us is there is a problem”.

Adam Behr, one of the researchers on the project, said: “Our research shows high levels of engagement from the city’s audiences and a driven community of musicians. Nevertheless, the inaudibility clause appears to have a chilling effect on provision. Dialogue between the different parts of the council, venues and musicians is a crucial factor in unlocking the further potential of Edinburgh’s year round music scene”.