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Wednesday, 3 July, 2002, 01:53 GMT 02:53 UK
Hucknall urges live music reform
Mick Hucknall
Hucknall: Also part of the government's Music Industry Forum
Singer Mick Hucknall of pop group Simply Red has called on the government to reform pub and restaurant licences to encourage live music.

He was speaking at the first briefing of the All Party Music Group (APMG) at the Houses of Parliament on Tuesday, set up to discuss the state of live music in the UK.


If there is to be regulation, let's try to make sure that it encourages venues to put on new music

Mick Hucknall
Labour MP Stephen Hepburn chaired the group, which included MPs and peers with an interest in key issues facing the music industry.

The group is currently pressing the government to reform public entertainment licensing to make it easier for pub, bar and restaurant owners to employ live musicians.

Currently the "two in a bar" rule makes it a criminal offence for licensees without a public entertainment licence to employ more than two musicians.

'Gigging musicians'

"A healthy music industry depends upon there being, not hundreds, or even thousands but tens of thousands of active gigging musicians," Hucknall told the MPs.

"I'm not advocating a free-for-all, with no regulations.

Stephen Hepburn
Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn heads the group
"Musicians and audiences must be safe. People who live near these venues should be free from unnecessary disturbance.

"But, if there is to be regulation, let's try to make sure that it encourages venues to put on new music by musicians who are starting out," he said.

Other speakers at the briefing included Bob Wearn of the Musicians Union and Billy Bragg's manager Peter Jenner, representing the Music Managers Forum.

Stephen Hepburn MP said that live music was chosen as the theme for the briefing because of "the vital contribution it makes to the development of new talent".

The APMG is administered by the music industry organisations British Music Rights, representing songwriters and music publishers, and the record company body the British Phonographic Industry (BPI).

See also:

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