UK Music urges industry response to government?s licensing review

UK Music is calling on the industry’s key figures to contribute to a previously reported government consultation on proposals to deregulate elements of the 2003 Licensing Act, proposals which could significantly reduce the bureaucratic strain on live music promoters, particularly at a grass roots level, CMU has reported.

The consultation was announced back in September by Tourism and Heritage minister John Penrose, following years of campaigning by both UK Music and the grass roots live music sector. It argues that the 2003 Act employed too much red tape for promoters of small gigs, making it increasingly difficult for small venues to stage live music, therefore minimising the opportunities for grass roots artists to play live.

While this is not the first consultation on the issue, a Private Members Bill, drafted by Liberal Lord Tim Clement-Jones, is also making its presence felt throughout parliament, addressing many of the live industry’s key concerns.

However, with the government’s latest consultation expected to consider more radical proposals than those put forward since 2003, some groups, including local councils, are known to be opposed to a number of the consultations proposals. For this reason, UK Music is urging as many music industry groups to contribute to the review as possible before the deadline for submissions on December 3rd. Further details about the consultation and how to respond, plus some template response letters should they be required, are online here.

Speaking to CMU about the consultation, UK Music’s acting CEO Jo Dipple said: “These proposed changes would exempt any event under a 5000 capacity from the need to obtain an entertainment licence – a huge improvement on the current situation, where any public performance of live music requires local authority permission. UK Music supports the proposals and will submit a detailed response to DCMS. However, it is very important that government is made aware of the depth of feeling in the industry – and particularly from the artists, composers and musicians who are so adversely impacted by the current legislation.”

Musicians’ Union general secretary John Smith, backed Dipple’s statement on the importance of the consultation, telling CMU: “We welcome this consultation and the government’s intention to cut red tape for live music. At the very least, we hope that the result will be to implement an exemption for small venues putting on live music with fewer than 200 people in attendance, which we have been lobbying on for many years now. The MU has asked its members to write in to DCMS in support of these proposals, which will do a lot to encourage live music performance in this country.”