Music Victoria recently announced the complete findings from the 2017 Melbourne Live Music Census to over 300 music industry leaders from across the globe at a sold out Music Cities Convention. This is the second Live Music Census that the city has undertaken and the results showed a city’s whose live music sector is in extremely good health.
The study, which involved more than 2000 respondents, showed that:
- The annual audience for live music in Melbourne (17.5 million) is nearly triple that for all major sports games in Melbourne combined (6.5 million).
- In a single week the iconic Tote Hotel presents over 50 bands.
- Twenty-five years ago, a loaf of bread cost on average $0.28. The average cost is now $2.38. The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports that, since that time, incomes have grown annually by 4%. Except for musicians! Artists are being paid the same fee for gigs in 2017 that they were paid twenty-five years ago.
- Musicians cited the main barrier to their music practice is financial viability (47%) with 69% of respondents saying that their music earning does not cover the costs of their music practice.
- The main problems affecting venues holding live music events are noise restrictions (67%) and property developments (47%).
- More music fans in Melbourne listen to community/public radio stations Triple RRR and PBS FM, than any commercial station. This happens in no other major city in the world.
Music Victoria CEO Patrick Donovan told The Music Network that he “attributes the growth of the number of venues and audience attendance in the past five years, since the first census was held, to the rise of part time live music venues as house parties and porch/ lounge sessions.”
He also puts it down to the popularity of live music at non-traditional venues, such as sporting events, and at institutions such as the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) the Melbourne Zoo and Melbourne Museum.
Project Manager of the 2017 Live Music Census, Dobe Newton said: “Music City’ is the new black! As we increasingly talk about the creative city, the 24/7 city, the night-time economy … etc, music is at last receiving the attention it deserves as a vital part of our cultural offering to residents and visitors, as an economic generator and job creator, and central to the social fabric of Marvellous Melbourne.”
A census can be a useful policy tool, providing an effective snapshot across one or more cities or regions. Here in Australia, in addition to Melbourne’s newly released census activities have also been undertaken in Adelaide. If held sequentially, as is the case in Adelaide, useful trends over time can be identified.