The report, prepared for Arts Victoria by economic consulting firm Deloitte Access Economics, presents the first comprehensive assessment of the contribution that venue-based live music makes to Victoria - socially, culturally and economically.
“Music Victoria commends the State Government for recognising the lack of quantitative data which has hampered our sector,” said Patrick Donovan, CEO of Music Victoria, the peak body for contemporary music.
“We are pleased that social and cultural contributions of live music are now supported by genuine economic data. Now we have to look at strategies and solutions to assist the sector in living up to its potential as one of the live music capitals of the world.”
The report revealed that live music in Victoria’s pubs, bars, nightclubs, cafes and restaurants contributes $501 million to the Victorian economy. Last week’s Live Performance Australia’s Ticket Attendance & Revenue report (measuring larger shows) estimated the Victorian contemporary events market was valued at $224 million. By combining LPA’s ticketed events and Deloitte Access Economics’ smaller live gigs, the total figure is around $725 million.
The report revealed that Victoria boasts the highest number of venues in the country (600, with 370 in Melbourne) which in 2009/2010 hosted 5.4 million attendances, more than the 4.3 million attendances at the AFL’s home and away season games.
Live music also creates 17,200 jobs in auxiliary industries such as sound technicians, production hire, PR, advertising, security, merchandise, managers, band bookers and record manufacturers.
Yet musicians earn on average just under $20,000 a year, $13,500 of which comes from live performance. This deficiency seriously needs to be addressed.
Music Victoria is assisting artists in developing their small business skills, and through the national Music Matters campaign is educating people about the value of music.
Investing money into culture makes Victoria a more attractive place to live. And there is no doubt this investment pays off: a strong creative class attracts other skilled workers. Many of the best musicians in Australia moved to Melbourne because of greater live music opportunities.
Live music is clearly worth supporting and nurturing through forward thinking and planning across all levels of government.
We have come a long way since the SLAM Rally. Music Victoria looks forward to the State Government recognising the contribution of live music by making legislative changes to the objects of the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998 and also in setting up the Live Music Roundtable to address and monitor ongoing issues for venues including planning issues.
It also looks forward to working with Regional Arts Victoria to help stimulate the struggling regional touring circuit.
At a Federal level, Music Victoria urges the Government to acknowledge that music is a legitimate career and factor live performances into Centrelink welfare payments.
Live performance is not the whole story. We need reports into festivals, recorded music, radio and other industry sectors to help shape council and government funding and policy direction.
The report acknowledges the role that Music Victoria will play as a conduit between government and industry to plan, promote, encourage and support the live music industry.
“This important report has filled gaps in the evidence base for policy makers and Music Victoria looks forward to working with all levels of government to help shape future strategies and policy direction,” said Mr Donovan.
“The infrastructure is in place - the industry just needs some nurturing to ensure that our treasured musicians and venues are supported and protected for future generations.”
As legendary musician Kim Salmon says: “Let’s change our attitude to benefit the people without whom there would be no music industry - the musicians.’’