Published: 20 April 2015 by Andy Grimsey
Live and recorded music is generally licensable under the Licensing Act but there are many exemptions.
Live amplified music in on-licensed premises authorised and open for the sale of alcohol does not require a licence for audiences up to 500 (a 300 increase) until 11.00pm This includes beer gardens and terraces if they are included in the licensed premises. Live music related conditions do not apply unless they are re-imposed at a Review. If a beer garden is not shown on the licensed plans then it is likely to nevertheless be a workplace which benefits from a similar exemption. Karaoke is considered live music. Live unamplified music does not need a licence anywhere and with no audience limit between 08.00 to 23.00.
Entertainment facilities (stages, karaoke machines, microphone stands, even electrical sockets) have not been licensable since October 2012. You may still see these “authorised” on your licence if it has not been amended but they are no longer relevant to licensing.
Recorded music in on-licensed premises benefits from the same exemption as live music above, with the same audience limit. This covers DJs and discos and is a new development, as hitherto most recorded amplified music above background level has been licensable under the Act. There is no equivalent “workplace” exemption. Background, live and recorded music continues to be exempt.
None of the exemptions affect the need to apply for copyright licensing or the requirement not to cause a noise nuisance. Regulated Entertainment is a complex area and there are other minor exemptions – we recommend you take legal advice if in any doubt.
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