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Music Licensing Laws

Comment 3rd July 2010

Is it at all possible to put the music licensing laws back to how they were a few years ago? At out school, we held a Children in Need concert a few years ago with teachers providing the band, as we had some people who could play -great success. We decided to do another one a few months later and found out that now, we would NEED A LICENSE for it. Nobody had the time or energy to face the paperwork for it so we cancelled it! Every time we think of doing something along these lines, we hit the same problem. It seems that anyone wishing to do any kind of musical performance these days, even if its just a couple of people playing, now needs a license! 

Another example of how stupid, stifling, petty and restrictive this law is, is provided by my friend who runs a small wine bar. He would like to have a bit of live music -it used to be the case that a couple of musicians could play and a license wouldn't be required. However, he has discovered that he can't do this and so it's piped music and/or kareoke. Again, the hassle of going through the red tape makes it easier not to bother and that means that talented musicians can't get to perform. 

Why does this matter?

If musicians are to get the experience required to develop good performance skills, then they need opportunities to play -and small venues, cafe bars, school fetes etc can provide an ideal opportunity to gain this experience. -That famous picture of John Lennon meeting with Paul McCartney for the first time at Woolaton Village Fete? Would not have been taken if this law had been around then, as The Quarrymen (Lennon's band) would have been selling ice-cream instead of playing! Ok, maybe this is stretching my point a bit, but I do remember talk of creating a "Cafe Culture" in Britain a while back (ha ha ha) -at about the same time as the music licensing laws were changed to make small live music events difficult to put on.

We should be encouraging people to play and listen to live music whenever possible -not killing it with mindless red-tape!

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