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New protocol to keep live music alive in Yarra

15 Apr 2014

Yarra Council has pledged to work with peak music bodies to develop new ways to support live music venues facing compliance and operating issues.

Early discussions with Music Victoria and the National Live Music Office have focused on the development of a protocol to facilitate a more cooperative relationship between Council and live music venues when complaints about noise or amenity issues arise.

Mayor Jackie Fristacky said the protocol was about approaching issues in a collaborative way that recognises the challenges some live music businesses face so that solutions can be reached.

“We recognise that live music venues in Yarra face increasing pressures as more people choose to live in the inner city,” Cr Fristacky said.

“Council still has a responsibility to ensure venues comply with state and local laws, but we’re also acknowledging that sometimes their operating issues are complex and need time to be worked through.

“It’s when those complex issues arise that we would be seeking Music Victoria’s involvement, not so much as a mediator, but as a party that can provide practical advice to Council as well as venue owners and licensees on potential solutions.

Announcing the protocol at the launch of the Yarra’s Leaps and Bounds Music Festival on Wednesday 9th April, Cr Fristacky said the approach was about getting the right people together in room early to discuss solutions.

She said the State Government’s commitment to introduce the ‘Agent of Change’ principle into the Victorian Planning Scheme was a positive sign for local live music, but that the positive change also needed to be backed by innovative policy at the local level.

“The introduction of the ‘Agent of Change’ principle would make developers and new residents responsible for sound proofing their properties if they choose to move near an operating live music venue,” she said.

“That would give Yarra’s live music venues some more certainty about the viability of their operating conditions, but Council would also need to continue exploring new ways to support venues.”


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Music Victoria launches 'Melbourne Music City' guide digital app

21 Feb 2013

Victoria now has its first dedicated live music guide digital app with the launch of Melbourne Music City.

The free app, conceived by Music Victoria and sponsored by Tourism Victoria and City of Melbourne, follows the success of the first two editions of the physical Melbourne Music City guide.

The guide provides a comprehensive list, maps and contact details for live music venues and music stores in Victoria, in addition to a music festival calendar, resources and media sections for music fans and musicians.

The app is aimed at tourists visiting Victoria who are interesting in sampling the hugely diverse live music scene and record stores on offer in Melbourne and the rest of the State. Music lovers will be able to search for nearby venues and record stores, browse upcoming festivals, and call venues and access websites direct from their device.

The app is available now for free download on iPhone, iPad, Android and Blackberry on the iTunes App Store and Google Play by searching under ‘Melbourne Music City’.

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National SLAM Day 2013 - celebrating live music & small gigs

8 Feb 2013

After a huge debut in 2012, National SLAM Day is back!

On Saturday February 23rd 2013, musicians and music lovers will come together in the largest simultaneous celebration of Live Music and Small Gigs that’s ever been held in Australia, for the second annual SLAM Day.

National SLAM Day 2013_banner

On February 23rd 2012, over 150 gigs were held in small venues across the country from Perth to Port Douglas, Tamworth to Tennant Creek, Katherine to Kensington and with the support of musicians, venues, music fans and the media, the first ever SLAM Day was a massive success.

In 2013 SLAM Day falls on a Saturday - ‘gig day’ and already SLAM have been swamped with registration enquiries.  It's a race between the states to host the largest SLAM day, with WA and NSW challenging Victoria as Australia’s home of live music. Over 200 gigs have been registered as participating so far.

National SLAM Day is a campaign aimed at the broader community as an event that celebrates our local musicians and our small gigs. SLAM Day was embraced all around the country with thousands of musicians and tens of thousands of punters getting involved.

Support a SLAM Day gig in your town – any style, any genre. Small gigs can happen in your backyard, in a venue, in your community hall, in a cafe, on the street or in the park.

It’s easy to get involved and free to register, just head to


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Music Victoria launches second edition of the Melbourne Music City free guide

20 Nov 2012

Following the success of last year’s inaugural guide, Music Victoria is proud to announce the launch of the 2012 edition of Melbourne Music City - a guide to the Live Music Capital of Australia.

The Melbourne Music City guide helps music lovers find live music venues, record stores, festivals and other music-friendly resources in Melbourne and regional Victoria.

“You can catch a gig just about anywhere in Melbourne – from laneways to rooftops, bowls clubs, concert halls and pubs. For many of these venues, live music is its primary business, showcasing diverse, original music across rock, pop, roots, jazz, electronic and experimental spectrums.” said Music Victoria CEO, Patrick Donovan.

“Music Victoria encourages you music enthusiasts to treat the guide like a treasure map and wander around this amazing city, pop into one of the many dedicated record stores, visit landmarks such as AC/DC Lane and check out the incredible local music and venues we have on offer.”

Produced with the support of Tourism Victoria and the City of Melbourne, Melbourne Music City maps Melbourne’s main metropolitan entertainment hubs as well as venues in regional Victoria. The guide also includes a Victorian music festival timeline, a plotted history of key music events in the state plus information on gig guides, media, public transport and music-friendly accommodation.

Tourists to Melbourne and locals alike can find this free 66 page pocket-sized booklet at the Federation Square Visitor Centre and various music stores in Melbourne, as well as selected interstate cafes, venues and tourist hot spots. 

Austrade (the Australian Trade Commission) will distribute the guide through its offices in Los Angeles, New York, Tokyo, Toronto and Frankfurt, as well as through overseas embassies and consulates, Tourism Victoria will make them available at the Singapore leg of the Laneway Festival, and visitors to overseas music conferences can pick them up via the Sounds Australia stand.

A smartphone and iPad version of the guide will be available to download in late January, with interactive maps, links to handy resources for touring musicians and regularly updated content.


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'The case for regulatory reform' music industry position paper

13 Nov 2012

The State Government established the Live Music Roundtable as a permanent live music industry forum, bringing together music industry representatives, licensees of live music venues, government and Victoria Police.

Music Victoria, along with SLAM (Save Live Australia’s Music) and Fair Go 4 Live Music, spent many months preparing a policy position paper to make recommendations to remove barriers to live music.

The report ‘The case for regulatory reform’ addresses crucial issues faced by live music venues including liquor licensing, planning, environment protection, the Agent of Change, and other areas of the regulatory framework such as the building code.

The first roundtable meeting was held in July 2012 where we presented the report and the government has since taken the issues outlined in our report and set up a working group to work through the issues.

The next roundtable meeting will be held tomorrow (14th November) and we look forward to working with the Live Music Roundtable representatives on addressing and resolving the many barriers to live music in our state.

Read the report here: Music industry position paper - The case for regulatory reform (July 2012)

Music Victoria will be providing an update on the Agent of Change issue at the Face the Music conference at the Arts Centre on Friday 16th November at a special panel.

Melbourne Music City: An Endangered Species?
Members of the Roundtable will discuss the key issues and explain the complexities and priorities, provide an update on progress on areas such as regulatory reform and barriers for under age gigs, and discuss what needs to be done to maintain our vibrant live music scene.

Cate Carr (Director Liquor & Gambling Policy – Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing)
Ashley Admiraal (Planning & Environment Advisor, Music Victoria / FairGo4LiveMusic)
Dr Kate Shaw (Future Fellow in Urban Planning & Geography, University of Melbourne)
Matthew Minchin (Senior Manager Portfolio Strategy – Environmental Policy Division, Department of Sustainability)
Patrick Donovan (CEO, Music Victoria)
Associate Professor Shane Homan (Music/Cultural Policy Researcher, Monash University)

Day: Friday 16th November
Time: 1.45 – 2.45pm
Location: Fairfax Studio, the Arts Centre (Level 3)

Tickets available from

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CEO report May 2012

17 May 2012

Greetings Music Victoria members and subscribers, and a big welcome in particular to all the new members who signed up during our inaugural membership drive, Jump on the Bandwagon.  

We boosted our membership by more than 100% during the drive, which culminated in a wonderful get-together at Richmond’s Corner Hotel with more than 150 members enjoying live sets by Dan Sultan, Brous, Graveyard Train and Courtney Barnett.

May is budget time and the arts sector is always going to be a little nervous with tight budgets handed down in fiscally challenging circumstances. Music Victoria received two years funding in May 2011, on the condition that the organisation works towards self-sustainability, so we will be presenting our business case next year. We will soon be employing an Operations Manager and using our momentum to shore up some new revenue streams.

It was great to see the Office for Youth finding an additional $1.6 million over four years to boost the Push’s FReeZA mentoring and skills development program for young people. Our major cultural institutions were the main beneficiaries from the Office for the Arts in the budget.

A week later, Treasurer Wayne Swan handed down the federal budget which included $3 million over four years to assist the Australian contemporary music industry. While Federal Arts Minister Simon Crean postponed the announcement of the National Cultural Policy Review, some of the beneficiaries of the budget included Sounds Australia to encourage music exports and encourage international acts to use local support acts; the South Melbourne-based Australian National Academy of Music; and the National Film and Sound Archive.

Sadly, AMRAP (the Australian Music Radio Airplay Project) did not have its funding renewed. AMRAP provided a critical support role to Australian artists by distributing new songs to more than 1500 broadcasters from 300 community radio stations. Good luck to AMRAP manager Chris Johnston and the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia in their attempts to keep this important project going.

The decision to cut AMRAP funding by the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy was particularly surprising given the support Australian music received in the Convergence Review’s recommendations released by the Department’s Minister, Stephen Conroy, last month.

Concerning music on radio, the independent review recommended that Australia music quotas should continue on analogue radio and be extended to digital-only radio services, while temporary digital radio services, such as Austereo’s 24 hour Pink and Metallica stations set up to coincide with tours, should be exempt from quotas. This is what the contemporary music industry has been arguing for, and at a recent Music Council of Australia Symposium into Media, in which Music Victoria participated, the industry agreed to lobby the government to amend regulations to require those quotas to be fulfilled during peak listening times (between 6am and 7pm). The AMRAP project was exactly the kind of infrastructure radio needs to get easy access to the best new music.

Community radio is vital to the health of Victorian music, so make sure you get behind PBS’ Be Our Hero radio drive over the next fortnight. And check out Triple R’s new radio on demand service which lets listeners hear any show at any time.

Congratulations to Balnarring’s finest, Wally De Backer aka Gotye, who continues to create history this week by becoming the first artist in US history to hold the top position on four of Billboard’s biggest charts with his smash hit Somebody I Used to Know. The international career of his collaborator in the song, New Zealand-born and Melbourne-based Kimbra, looks bright too after she recently took out the US-based International Songwriting Competition for her song Cameo Lover. Our congratulations also go to Missy Higgins, Michael Paynter and all of the other Victorian winners and placegetters.

Congratulations also to all of the winners at the 10th Annual Australia Jazz Awards held at the Regent Plaza Ballroom on 3rd May: Andrea Keller Quartet, Peter Knight, Nick Haywood Quartet, Luke Howard and Janos Bruneel, Alan Browne and Brian Brown.

Music Victoria was sad to hear that our neighbour, the Phoenix Public House, will close its doors to live music on 12th June. Band booker Paris Martine said the closure was due to their inability to negotiate viable terms for a new lease. While liquor licensing issues didn’t contribute to the closure, it’s a reminder of precarious situation for many of our venues.

The good news is that the Premier has sent out invitations to members of the Live Music Roundtable, which Music Victoria will be part of. One of the first issues we will be raising will be the very important Agent of Change issue, which we wrote about recently in the Sunday Age.

Music Victoria is thrilled that the National Library of Australia has requested to include our Melbourne Music City guide in its publishing collection to recognise our contribution to Australia publishing. We are looking into developing iPad and Smartphone applications to support the physical guide this year and will be offering advertising opportunities to the industry.

Music Victoria has a series of education workshops coming up over the next few months in Melbourne and around the state. You can catch us in Ballarat, Wangaratta, and Geelong; at the Abbotsford Convent, the Darebin Music Feast and the Small Business Victoria Festival over the next few months. Check out our website for all details.

And finally, Music Victoria would like to acknowledge the contribution made to the Victorian music industry by Greg Ham, who passed away last month. Not only was Greg a vital member of one of Victoria’s most successful groups, Men At Work, but he gave plenty back as fearless Chairman of The Push in the 1990s. He left a wonderful legacy and his tireless work will continue to benefit young artists for decades to come.

That’s all for now, see you at a local venue soon

Patrick Donovan
Music Victoria 

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Music Victoria launches Melbourne Music City free guide

16 Nov 2011

Music lovers will have a new guide to help find venues, music stores and other music resources with the release of Melbourne Music City – a guide to the Live Music Capital of Australia. 

Melbourne Music City maps Melbourne’s main metropolitan entertainment hubs as well as venues in regional Victoria. The guide also includes a Victorian music festival timeline, a plotted history of key music events in the state plus information on gig guides, media, public transport and music-friendly accommodation. 

Music Victoria, the state peak body for contemporary music, is a partner of the Face the Music industry conference, the Australasian World Music Expo and Melbourne Music Week, all of which begin this week.

This free 60 page pocket-sized booklet hits Melbourne and Sydney cafes, venues and tourist hot spots from this Friday in time for these three key events. You can also view it online here.

Austrade (the Australian Trade Commission) will distribute the guide through its offices in Los Angeles, New York, Tokyo, Toronto and Frankfurt, as well as through overseas embassies and consulates. The physical guide will be published annually and there are plans to develop a website and a smartphone application.

 If you love music, then Victoria’s the place to be over the next fortnight. The Melbourne Music Guide will help locals and tourists alike discover some hidden musical treasures.

For information about event tickets or schedules, check websites:

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