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Live Music Act comes into effect on Monday

By | Published on Friday 28 September 2012

Houses Of Parliament

The grass roots live sector is feeling optimistic today that the Live Music Act, which comes into effect in England and Wales on Monday, could have a quick, tangible, positive results. As much previously reported, the live music legislation removes some of the bureaucracy introduced by the 2003 Licensing Act, forms and paperwork which many grass roots musicians said led to many smaller music venues, especially cafes and bars that used to host live music, to stop doing so, reducing the opportunities for artists to play live.

As the act – which stemmed from a private members bill put forward by Lib Dem Lord Tim Clement-Jones, and which was approved by parliament in March – goes properly live, the Musician’s Union has launched a ‘Live Music Kit’, which aims to encourage and enable smaller venues that are now able to stage live music without any tedious form filling to do just that. Available online and in print, it outlines how the provisions of the act work, presents the business case for staging music, and offers tips on how to stage music events.

MU General Secretary John Smith told CMU: “The implementation of the Live Music Act signifies 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. As 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. At a time when many working musicians are struggling, and events such as the Olympics and Jubilee celebrations seem to have brought about only unpaid gigs, this exemption is great news for them because I am confident that it will bring about a real resurgence in live music in pubs and other small venues”.

He continued: “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. We also believe that live music performance is an essential aspect of culture in the UK and that it should be promoted in its own right. This is why the Live Music Act is so important, and we hope that the Live Music Kit will help venues to make the most of the new exemption”.

Earlier this month cross-sector trade body UK Music published research that said that up to 13,000 British venues could stage live music for the first time as a result of the Act, and that a further 20,400 might step up their output. Though the research, by The Market Research Group at the University Of Bournemouth, said that awareness of the Act amongst the people and companies running premises that could now stage music without the red tape was relatively low, hence the need for initiatives like that just announced by the MU.

On publishing that research, UK Music CEO Jo Dipple said: “The results of this baseline research are very exciting. The act, as we had hoped, has a potentially huge impact on the live music scene. The purpose of this legislation is to encourage more live music performances. Small venues will no longer have to apply to their local authority to stage live music. The act will mean that the staging of live music will be cheaper and easier for venues up and down the country. UK Music has committed to working with the Musicians’ Union on an awareness campaign for venues and artists to ensure that the act has the biggest impact. We also look forward to working with government on the implementation of the act”.