The big idea
The lst licencing act in effect made it an offence punishible by a large fine for 'performing' music. This included rehearsing at home, if a single person is listening, or playing the piano in a pub, or even playing a guitar out doors if someone appears to be listening. Absolutely everyone has to obtain a licence, which costs hundreds of pounds.
The playing of amplified recorded music, TV or Videos is not covered, so it is illeagal in England and Wales to play accoustic music without a licence, but any premisis or house can play recorded music almost as loud as they like.
This licencing law should be replaced by a requiement for a licence based not on the presence of the musicians, but on the volume of noise generated – ie a guitarist singing quietly anywhere should be permitted, but anyone playing recorded music over a certain volume should obtain a licence.
Why does this matter?
In Scotland, where people value their folk music traditions, the last licencing laws were not enanacted, so people are still free to play music live in a pub in Scotland.
To ban all live music in England and Wales is an infringement of our human rights to express ourselves.
What constitutes a nuisence to others is a volume of noise that impinges on them, and that is more likely to come from recorded or broadcast music or video or live TV.
The hundreds of pounds it costs to get a licence is prohibitive, and has lead to lots of pubs getting rid of their pianos for fear that someone would play it. Live music is very important culturally to the UK and is part of an industry that generates huge profits and cudos for the UK.