Live Music Act comes into law

After receiving Royal Assent today (March 8th), the Live Music Bill has officially become an Act of Law.

This means that venues up and down the UK wishing to host a live music event for an audience of fewer than 200 people are exempt from the Licensing Act.

For years, the Musicians’ Union (MU) has been fighting a change in the law and it has welcomed today’s news.

“It’s great news that the Live Music Bill has now passed all of its parliamentary stages, and we would like to thank all of the MPs and Lords who have been involved in this process,” general secretary John Smith said.

“The MU has been lobbying for changes to the Licensing Act for many years now, and this exemption is fantastic news for musicians and will be a real boost for live music.

“We look forward to the implementation of the Act later this year and we will be working with the government to ensure that the Act has maximum impact.”

Introduced in 2003, the Licensing Act required venues to apply for a license to host live music, as well as other forms of entertainment. The expense and administration involved led to a number of pubs and small clubs ending their live music nights and possibilities as gig venues. If they were found to host entertainment without a license they received a heavy fine.

As well as impacting the number of customers visiting these premises, musicians starting out in their career found that they had fewer places they could perform in.

Liberal Democrat culture spokesman Don Foster had been supporting the Bill, along with former UK Music head Feargal Sharkey, said earlier this year that the Licensing Act “has had a deadening effect on the performance of live music in small venues”.

Now, it is hoped that the exemption will mean that bands can return to pubs for intimate gigs, helping them move up in the industry and bring their music to wider audiences and in a live format.

You can visit the bill’s parliamentary website to read it for yourself.

What do you make of the Live Music Bill? Did the now defunct Licensing Act contain any positives that have been overlooked?

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