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The Live Music Act 2012

Here is what you need to know about hosting live or recorded music at your premises

This page focuses on the Live Music Act 2012. For a more detailed overview of music, entertainment and deregulation, click here.

The Live Music Act took effect from 1 October 2012, and since 6th April 2015 now applies to recorded music, and covers larger audiences.

The Act disapplies any live music related conditions on your licence if the following criteria are satisfied:

  • There is a premises licence or club premises certificate in place permitting ‘on sales’;
  • The premises are open for the sale or supply of alcohol for consumption on the premises;
  • Live or recorded music is taking place between 8am and 11pm;
  • If the music is amplified live music or recorded music (e.g. DJs or a disco for example), the audience consists of no more than 500 people.

Live music also ceases to be classed as regulated entertainment under the Licensing Act 2003 if the above criteria are satisfied.

“Live Music” includes vocal and instrumental music and also karaoke singing. Pre-recorded videos played on karaoke machines are likely to require authorisation for “Films” but if only the words to the song are displayed then no authorisation is required.

The Act also creates a general exemption that live unamplified music provided anywhere shall not be regarded as the provision of regulated entertainment under the Licensing Act 2003 if it takes place between 8am and 11pm, regardless of the number of people in the audience.

There are a number of mechanisms for the protection of residents and these are:

  • Upon a review of the premises licence the Licensing Authority can determine that conditions on the premises licence relating to live or recorded music will apply even between 8am and 11pm;
  • If the Premises Licence doesn’t presently authorise live or recorded music the Licensing Authority can add conditions to the Premises Licence as though the live or recorded music were regulated entertainment authorised by that Premises Licence, again to apply between 8am and 11pm
  • The Licensing Authority can determine that live or recorded music at the premises is a licensable activity and live or recorded music can no longer be provided without permission on the Premises Licence or a Temporary Event Notice
  • Other noise legislation, for example in the Environmental Protection Act 1990, will continue to apply. The Live Music Act does not allow licensed premises to cause a noise nuisance.

The Live Music Act removed the need to licence entertainment facilities completely – regardless of time or audience size. This means that dance floors, microphone stands, pianos made available for use by the public etc. will not be licensable once the Act comes into effect. Health & safety law will of course continue to apply.

The Live Music Act does not remove the requirement for copyright permission to play live and recorded music from PPL PPR.

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