Live music is back

The law relating to live music changes today. The Live Music Act 2012 gets rid of some of the red tape that caused such controversy for small, amateur music makers all over the country when the Licensing Act 2003 came into force.

From today, live, unamplified music provided between 8am and 11pm, to any size of audience, regardless of where it takes place, will no longer be classed as "regulated entertainment" under the Licensing Act 2003.

In addition, a licence is no longer required to provide "entertainment facilities". These can include pianos in pubs, dance floors etc. (However, note that other ancillary activities may still attract licensing regulation, e.g. sale of alcohol or music and dancing)

If premises hold a premises licence or club premises certificate permitting on-site sales, and it is open for the sale or supply of alcohol for consumption on those premises, there are a couple of extra points to note:

  • If the music is amplified, the audience must be fewer than 200 people
  • Recorded music for discos or dancing still counts as regulated entertainment
  • The licensing authority has powers on review to bring live music back into the licensing regime
  • Residents retain all current rights to apply for review and all existing health and safety, nuisance etc. legislation continues to apply in case of disturbances.

This article was written by Caroline Matthews, an expert on licensing matters.