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Live Music News

The LMF Handy Guide To The Live Music Act

The Live Music Act came into effect on 1st October 2012. The legislation has dramatically broadened the circumstances where live music can be presented without the requirement of a special licence from the local Council.

Any venue that qualifies as a 'workplace' for the purpose of health and safety legislation will be free to host live music between 8am and 11pm.  For amplified live music there is an audience limit of 200. There is no audience limit for unamplified live music.

This exemption also applies to pubs, restaurants and bars, indeed any venue which already has a Premises Licence issued under the Licensing Act 2003. There will be no restriction on the number of musicians allowed to perform. Indeed, most licence conditions relating to live music will be suspended if the performance is between 8am and 11pm. There will be a few cases where conditions continue to apply if they were imposed following a licence review. (Expert legal advice may be required in such circumstances).

Importantly, the Live Music Act does away with the requirement to license 'entertainment facilities'. The unlicensed provision of a piano or other instruments or equipment for use in performances will no longer be a potential criminal offence. The Live Music Act also further amends the Licensing Act to allow amplified music to accompany the performance of Morris dancing, or dancing of similar nature."

Copyright - Any venue presenting live music which includes copyrighted titles (standards/covers or originals which are registered with PRS/PPL) will require licenses from PRS and PPL. An existing PRS/PPL license for recorded music is not sufficient. If in doubt about about your license, please check.

Busking - Although busking is exempt from licensing under the Live Music Act (subject to the 8am-11pm period and 200 audience limit for amplification), there may be scenarios whereby councils could try to move buskers on citing byelaws, perhaps relating to the collection of money. So, we recommend that musicians check with the local council for the area where they intend to perform.

Dance - The Live Music Act exemptions only apply to performances of live music.  Performances of dance remain licensable.  However, it might be possible to argue that some dancing genres are similar to Morris dancing (folk dancing essentially), and thereby benefit from the only dancing exemption within the Licensing Act.

Please note; this information is not legal advice and, if in doubt about the effect on a particular gig, such advice should be sought from a specialist licensing lawyer.

Emal: editor@livemusicforum.co.uk