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Live Music Bill becomes law, in force from autumn 2012

Ahren Lester
Live Music Bill becomes law, in force from autumn 2012

The much-anticipated Live Music Bill received Royal Assent this morning (March 8th) meaning that it has become the Live Music Act and has become law.

It has also been confirmed—as previous rumours suggested—that the new regulations will not come into force until the autumn 2012 after the massive events such as the London 2012 Olympics and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

The news that the Bill was to get Royal Assent was delivered on March 5th by one of the proposers of the Private Member's Bill, the Lib Dem MP Don Foster, on Twitter. The other proposer, fellow Lib Dem Lord Tim Clement-Jones, had also suggested that the Act would not come into force until October 2012 in order for the government to “educate local authorities about the [Bill] as well as police on how to enforce it.”

The Act has brought about amendments to the Licensing Act of 2003 which was linked to the dramatic drop in live music performances due to its over-regulation and the high cost of licenses.

The new Act will mean that venues in England and Wales that have an audience of 200 people or fewer would not be required to go about getting a costly licence in order to hold performances of live amplified music between the hours of 8am and 11pm.

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There will be no audience limit for performances of unamplified live music.

The Private Member’s Bill—meaning it was proposed by an individual member of parliament rather than a member acting on behalf of the executive government—was first proposed back in July 2009. Its successful passage in itself is unusual.

“For a Private Members’ Bill to receive Royal Assent is a monumental achievement, even more so for one that is introduced in the House of Lords,” explained the Chief Executive of UK Music, Jo Dipple. “This has happened only 5 times in the past decade. The assent of today’s Act is the result of a dogged commitment to musicians combined with outstanding Parliamentary skills. UK Music thanks Lord Clement-Jones and Don Foster MP for their work.”

It is hoped that this new legislation will reverse the decline in grassroots live music performances in England and Wales.

“The global success of our industry is dependent on a flourishing network of small venues,” added Dipple—whose organisation has long-supported the Bill, “where tomorrow’s headliners can learn their craft and develop their career.  Allowing these venues the freedom to host live music is a huge boost for British artists and means more opportunities for developing talent, as well as enriching our local communities and the economy overall.”

The Musicians’ Union who—along with the Incorporated Society of Musucians—also supported the Bill were equally delighted with the news.

“The MU has been lobbying for changes to the Licensing Act for many years now,” stated the Musicians’ Union General Secretary, John Smith, “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.”

The co-proposer, Lord Clement-Jones, has even suggested to Music Week that further progress could be made in the future. Clement-Jones suggested that consultations were already under way regarding the possibility of raising the threshold beyond the 200 attendee mark for live amplified music.

Tags: live music bill

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