It's what we've all been waiting for since the 2003 Licensing Act came into force. A clear regime for incidental music and small gigs. So, here goes:
Exempt: a pub promoting a stand-up comedian accompanied by a pianist.
Licensable: a pub promoting a performance by a pianist/singer supported by a stand-up comedian.
Exempt: pub with pianist or other single instrument playing background music.
Licensable: pub promotes a sing-along event with pianist.
Exempt: carol singers outside a shop.
Licensable: shopping centre organises performances of carols in a shopping mall.
(Source: Advice for Licensing Authorities about Incidental Music.Document jointly produced by the Local Government Association, Local Authorities' Co-ordinators of Regulatory Services-LACORS, Musicians Union, British Beer and Pub Association, DCMS- November 2009)