Tourism and Heritage minister John Penrose hopes to support ‘grassroots music’ by scrapping the 2003 Licensing Act for smaller venues, who must apply for the permit if they want to offer live music gigs.
Since its inception, the number of intimate gigs – which often help new artists get off the ground – has fallen. Research conducted in 2007 revealed that there had been a five per cent drop in live music pubs because of the regulation, the Guardian reported.
This is one of the reasons by MPs opposed the idea and in 2009 called for a licence for venues only with more than a capacity for 200 people.
It is expected that Mr Penrose’s proposal will go to a consultation period where businesses and individuals can comment on the issue before a final decision is made by the government.
If it is passed, small venues like pubs and clubs could save on average £1,600 a year by not having a permit.
“We’re optimistic that this will be positive news for the industry, and especially for emerging talent,” commented Feargal Sharkey, chief executive of UK Music, which represents the nation’s commercial music industry.
“I’d wager that all of [the] Mercury music prize nominees started their careers playing in pubs or clubs. In the meantime, we’ll have to wait for the actual detail of the consultation, and under what specific circumstances the requirement for a music licence would be removed.”
According to the news provider, large venues with more than 5,000-person capacity will have to apply to the council for a live entertainment licence.
And it is not just up-and-coming musicians who will benefit from the move. Schools are also expected to do well out of the change in regulation.
Currently, schools must obtain an entertainment licence if they sell tickets for a public performance.
UK Music is to publish an Equality & Diversity Charter this autumn, which will seek signatories who pledge to take practical steps to improve equality and diversity within the music industry.