The Live Music Bill is due to receive Royal Assent on Thursday, which will make it the Live Music Act. The Act states that an exemption to the Licensing Act should take place when ‘the live music entertainment takes place in the presence of an audience of no more than 200 persons.’ John Smith, Musician’s Union general secretary, said today: “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. “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.” As the Bill becomes law, small venues wanting to host live music events will no longer need a local authority entertainment license – cutting bureaucracy and expense, and making it easier for pubs and clubs to host live performances. PSNE has followed the Bill's progress extensively over the last three years. It was introduced in July 2009 by Lib Dem Peer Tim Clement-Jones and promoted in the Commons by Bath MP Don Foster. Speaking with sister publication Music Week, Lord Clement-Jones confirmed that the Act was not likely to become law until October this year:
“We have to educate local authorities about the [Bill] as well as police on how to enforce it,” he said, joking that making the act law too early risked “irritating every village up-and-down the country”. Jo Dipple, recently appointed CEO of UK Music, the UK commercial music industry’s umbrella body, recognises that this 7-month hold-up was inevitable: “Because of Parliamentary procedure, there was always going to be a delay between Royal Assent and deregulatory measures coming into effect. It’s no surprise."
However, this should not overshadow how important the new regulations will be: speaking back in January as the Bill passed its third reading, she commented: “The Live Music Bill will make a real and positive difference to lives of musicians. There is no doubt that the current Licensing Act has created needless layers of bureaucracy, making it complicated and expensive for pubs and other small venues to host live gigs.”