Whether it’s the thumping bass, hard-hitting strobes and a DJ making you groove all night long. The sweaty mosh pit, cooling beer showers and harmonious, crowd fuelled choruses. Or the intimate, heart-warming gig in your local, played by local artists for the locals. Amazing memories and experiences are made.

There’s always one crucial catalyst to all these experiences, a catalyst that has been the making of so many of the worlds most loved artists, a catalyst that is so integrated into the industry, that’s it’s embedded in the very the fabric of existence of music. The venue.

Regardless of its size or prestige, a venue gives artists the platform to share and create these memories. Many a venue have in fact gained their fame (or infamy) from the artists they’ve hosted, which only adds to the romanticism further.

All of this aside, from a business perspective, there’s huge benefits a venue can gain from offering music. This month, On-Trade Progress teams up with our good friends PPLPRS in a live music special to get under the skin of the UK’s live music scene. We’ve got two amazing venues to delve into, some important dos & don’ts and some great insight into the process from an artist’s perspective

Do you remember the first time?

I am referring to the first time you ever saw live music of course. Most people remember their first ever ‘gig’.

For me, it was INXS at De Montfort Hall in 1988. I clearly remember the enigmatic, and now sadly departed, Michael Hutchence holding me mesmerised with his voice, stage presence and the all-encompassing sound of the music filling the whole room. Standing up, transfixed, hands in the air, I could feel the music thudding through the floor and through every single part of me. I was 15 years old and very much bitten by the live gig bug!

Live music has the power to bring people together, be it in a small club or pub or a huge muddy field, everyone is there for the same reason.  There are no teams, no different sides, no competition. They are simply there to hear the music they love and have a good time.

Many of today’s globally famous acts were inspired by a live performance. Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Brian Jones met at an Alexis Korner gig in London in 1962, going on to form what was to become one of the biggest rock bands on the planet.

In 1976 an unknown punk band called The Sex Pistols played a gig in Manchester. Unbeknown to everyone in the 200-capacity venue was that this performance would spawn three bands that would go on to become household names during the rise of Manchester bands in the 80s and 90s – Joy Division, The Fall and The Smiths.

The ‘goosebump’ effect

The Music Licence from PPL PRS
The Music Licence from PPL PRS

Live music not only inspires budding musicians and artists, but it can change our physiological balance! A recent study undertaken by Barclaycard and Harvard University* investigated the science behind the ‘goosebump’ effect when watching a gig.

The research, conducted at Reading and Leeds Festival in August last year found that more than half (55 per cent) of the 100 participants wearing monitoring devices were susceptible to experiencing goosebumps during live entertainment, with a chill inducing moment most likely to occur within the first minute of a performance. A total of 126 goosebump moments were experienced during the study, averaging at 2.8 per minute.

Participants that reported an emotional memory associated with the performance or lyrics of a song doubled their chances of experiencing goosebumps. Collective crowd experience, such as singing and dancing along was also a key factor for delivering the shivers. Powerful stuff!

These days live music is booming. It has become so much more accessible than it was 30 years ago. Parents are introducing their children to gigs before they can even sing along, festivals have become family weekends away, we are travelling around the world to watch acts perform live.

All this wouldn’t be possible though if many of the global superstars we know, and love hadn’t been able to start performing in grassroots venues. In June 2003, Alex Turner took to the stage in The Grapes pub in Sheffield, and phenomenon rise of The Arctic Monkeys began. Without small venues hosting bands like this, the UK live music scene would almost definitely decline.

* Research carried out by Matthew Sachs (Harvard University, University of Southern California) and Robin Murphy (Associate Professor of Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford), is association with Barclaycard with a total of 100 participants at Reading & Leeds festivals on location at Reading Festival on Saturday 25 August and Leeds Festival on Sunday 26 August 2018.


Protecting the future of music

The Music Licence from PPL PRS has been introduced to help make playing music to the public more straightforward.

PPL PRS exist to protect the value of music so that music creators can continue making the music that we all love and enjoy. After our business costs, music licence fees are distributed to those involved in making music via our parent companies PPL and PRS for Music. Our parent companies each have databases storing millions of musical compositions and recordings. Together with information about what music is being played or performed at your event, PPL and PRS for Music can determine fairly and efficiently which of their members to pay and how much to pay them. This means that by purchasing The Music Licence, you are supporting the future of music by helping to ensure its creators are paid for their work, so that people who write, perform, compose, record or publish music can continue to make the music you love.

If your venue is hosting events containing live music, recorded music or both, you  will probably need The Music Licence.

Thinking of playing live music in your venue?

When used effectively, live events have the potential to provide a number of benefits to your business or organisation.

The Music Licence from PPL PRS
The Music Licence from PPL PRS

Enhance the environment

Live music has the ability to help set the tone, change the mood and create an atmosphere that people enjoy. It can provide an opportunity for your customers to be more engaged, making the whole experience with your business and brand even more enjoyable and memorable. It can make your organisation seem more relatable and ensures it retains a modern and up to date feel. Not only does this contribute to customer satisfaction, it can also improve loyalty and retention.

Attract new interest

Showcasing both well-known artists and local talent could help your business grow by attracting the artist’s own fans and other fans of the music/genre/style. PPL PRS generally only charge a percentage for events (normally up to 4.2% of either the net admission or gross box office receipts) so live entertainment can potentially be an economical way of helping your business generate new custom.

How is the cost calculated?

The cost of The Music Licence depends on a number of factors. For live events and performances The Music Licence fees are calculated on your specific event, which means our licence is tailored to your individual needs.

At PPL PRS we have a specialised team of Live Music Advisers who will take you through your music licence application step-by-step, making it easy for you to obtain a music licence for the playing or performance of music at your event.  If your organisation is hosting multiple events you will be assigned a dedicated Account Manager; a regular point of contact who understands your business, account and your events. They will help you to manage all the licensing elements of your events and live performances.

To get a quote for The Music Licence for your event or performance please contact our Live Music Team. To help process your application please ensure you read The Music Licence Quote Checklist,  on our website, for each section that is applicable to you, and you have the relevant information ready so we can provide an accurate quote for your music licence.

Contact our Live Music Team on 0208 338 1407 or email livemusic@pplprs.co.uk to get TheMusicLicence for your live event or performance.