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Livemusic set to benefit from Licensing Act change

The on-going Licensing Act consultation proposes removing live music from current restrictions and, therefore, much of the red tape that has hampered grass roots gigs in recent years.

Livemusic's Live&Loud - a digital platform at LiveAndLoud.com - offers baby bands access to hundreds of existing and new gig venues around the country. It promises to provide acts with support to develop their live skills, attract an audience and hone their online presence.

Livemusic CEO Mick Newton said: "Many venues want the band to bring at least 50 people, but there are only so many times you can round up all your family and friends. Often they will fall short."

Newton, who cut his teeth in the 1980s managing Bros and continues to steer the fortunes of Steve Winwood, added: "[The Licensing Act] is a ridiculous law. I think it will be changed and that is going to open up a lot more venues to live music. There's something like 55,000 pubs in this country and if the law changes that is really going to help us because a lot more will put on gigs."

Newton is offering new bands the opportunity to build a following by partnering with around 500 pubs and clubs in about 30 major towns and cities in the country and offering gig slots.

Each gig will see four bands perform on the bill. "That way if each band brings just 20 people, there will be 80 at the gig," said Newton. "We want the bands to take ownership of the gigs, by doing their own posters and flyers. The main thing is, don't play to an empty room."

Another 200 staff - mostly students - have been signed up by the company to acts as the Live&Loud road crew and sound engineers to volunteer their services at the gigs.

The gigs will be promoted on the Livemusic.fm website, alongside mainstream performances by the likes of Dappy and Swedish House Mafia. Tickets and merchandising can also be sold through the site - a gateway to over 100,000 gig goers.

"This is a time to get real. We're not X Factor, we're pub factor," said Newton. "This is a tried and tested formula. We are going back to the roots, only digitally."

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