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An Advocacy Update from Music Victoria

At Music Victoria, we think of advocacy as challenging the root causes in order to bring about long-term change.


It’s about engaging with you to get to the root causes of the issues being faced and banding together as a powerful united voice to make a life of music easier, in Victoria.

For us, advocacy:

  • Is based on a theory of change
  • Includes a wide variety strategics and tactics (not just media coverage or poster campaigns)
  • Is not predictable or linear
  • Includes interim outcomes
  • Requires collaboration and the identification of allies
  • Requires identification of those blocking the change or those in opposition
  • Includes celebrating success along the way

 We work on building:

  • Awareness of the problem
  • The will to do something about it
  • Action

And do this:

  • Across the general public
  • With our music community
  • With influencers
  • With decision makers

Ultimately, we don’t just want policy wins but we want to build power for the music industry in Victoria.

Advocacy Table

We achieve our advocacy though:

  • Representing the industry in the media
  • Meetings with agencies
    (eg. Creative Australia, Creative Victoria, Environmental Protection Agency, Visit Victoria, etc)
  • Liaison with politicians and advisors
    (across creative industries, small business, tourism, treasury, liquor, etc.)
  • Public campaigns
    (e.g. Our Soundtrack, Our Stories; #VaxTheNation, #GetVaxxed4Vic & The Big V; Music Is Essential; Green Ban to protect The Curtain; MEAA's $250 minimum for musicians)
  • White papers and position papers
  • Representing issues to political inquiries via submissions
  • Collaborating with our advocacy partners
  • Research and Reports
  • Advocacy tools and resources



We take our advocacy work very seriously. By advocating on behalf of the broader music community, we push beyond any one individual's needs towards a thriving ecology that is reaching its full potential, often working behind the scenes, but always making things happen, we hold the government, and each other, to account.

Broadly speaking, in terms of advocacy, we identified and have been working on addressing these three key issues (as per our Industry White Paper developed in 2022 ahead of the State election – Key Issues for The Victorian Music Industry):

  1. Industry capacity and capabilities: reduced business capacity, and a siloed sector has led to inefficiencies, lost revenue and missed opportunities.
  2. Business and Career Growth and Sustainability: high business costs, volatility and risks, made worse by covid, are stifling industry recovery, growth and sustainability.
  3. Work conditions and culture: a lack of policies, accountability and support for safe and fair work has led to systemic inequity, harassment and bullying.

Some consistency still remains, but as the Victorian Government Creative State Strategy comes to an end, we again asked for the industry’s input (via roundtables in April 2024) to inform our current and future positions. You can still add you voice.

The sessions provided a wide-ranging diversity of opinions and valuable insights into the immediate challenges, ideas, solutions and successes of the Victorian music sector.

The updated issues can be categorised loosely as:

  • Economic and Market Shifts
  • Regulatory and Operational Pressures
  • Strategic Investment and Development

We’re still brining all parts of the most recent consultation together, which will be made public in July 2024. We'd love to hear from you with ideas, questions or feedback.

A breakdown of some of the advocacy we have done over the past 12 months includes:



With the exponential increase in public liability insurance costs faced by our live music venues, we took action including:

  • Exploring all possible solutions as recommended by the Insurance Council of Australia and their members, including risk mitigation, formal industry training, group buying power, specialist brokers and self-insurance
  • Bringing the issue to the attention of those with power to make change via briefings with:
    • theHon Tony Burke MP, Minister for the Arts
    • Minister Colin Brooks, Minister for Creative Industries
    • Minister Pearson, Assistant Treasurer
    • Bruce Bilson, Australian Small Business Ombudsman
    • Finity Consulting (engaged by Insurance Council of Australia) to explorethe current civil procedure and liability settings, and potential reform, most likely to improve insurance capacity and affordability for the sector.
  • Getting John Trowbridge to provided us with his professional endorsement of market failure
  • Gathering experiences from local venue operators (you can stilladd your experience of price hikes here) to ensure we can make an accurate budget bid
  • Maintaining our presence in the media on such key issues
  • Undertaking a state-wide live music venue audit to track the recent losses and changes.
  • Holding a Navigating Insurance session to understand the problem in more detail and our work
  • Continuing to share our work and learnings with Local, Federal and State government representatives
  • We continue to call on the Victorian government to provide access to the VMIA (Victorian Managed Insurance Authority)
  • We continue to advocate for a live music tax offset



Last year, we surveyed over 500 young people aged under 35 across Victoria, asking questions about the attitudes and behaviours surrounding live music experiences to provide data that can inform venues, festivals and our own strategic priorities.

The primary emphasis of the research was on the under-35 age group, with a specific interest in understanding the dynamics among the youngest audiences, particularly those aged 16-25 who will have a major influence on the future success of live music.

Music Victoria members had observed this missing demographic in their festival and venue attendances, and there had been similar studies undertaken in the UK, so we sought to back these observations and findings up with local data, to understand why this might be, and to ultimately work together on potential solutions. 

We were delighted to see that the research confirmed that there is a passion to experience live music from a young age, which will create rewarding lifetime habits, with 78% young Victorians saying their first live music experience shapes their overall passion for music.

80% of people under 35 expressed an interest to attended live music events at least once a year, but the challenges are based on the broader economic climate:

  • I am trying to reduce my spending to only essentials at the moment (73%)
  • I have less disposable income to spend on tickets (67%)

Paired with a lack of motivation (consumer behaviour changes since COVID).



The report made 17 very clear recommendations, and a lot of the immediate work has been for each business to get its own house in order, including Music Victoria.

  • We immediately signed the statement of acknowledgement alongside our colleagues
  • We reviewed all our policies and procedures to ensure that they are explicit on behaviour standards and consequences and have made our Code of Conduct public on the Music Victoria website
  • We joined with (at least 150) our colleagues in signing up to Support Act’s Minimum Standards for a Mentally Healthy Workplace
  • We undertook Phase One of the Music Money Matters survey to begin benchmarking salaries and drive gender equity in the industry–earnings data is common in other industries and yet very limited for the music industry
  • We gifted our pilot Access All Areas bystander intervention training to Support Act who have refined it further to now allow it to be rolled out nationally to the industry for free
  • We supported the distribution of remaining review funds to be directed towards a First Peoples-led consultation to review systemic racism in the music industry
  • Our CEO, Simone personally undertook ‘Responding with Compassion’ training by Full Stop Australia to ensure that disclosures in the workplace are met with a trauma informed approach
  • We continued with the work that we were already doing in adhering to our policies including our cultural equity mission and gender quotas for all programs that we deliver, and advocating for such criteria to be included in all government funding arrangements



We have been working behind the scenes to develop an Enforcement Map that serves as a guide for live music venues in understanding the rules and regulations related to noise enforcement.

The Enforcement Map will be designed as a one-page infographic, providing venue staff with essential information on regular inspections conducted by Liquor Control Victoria (LCV) and Victoria Police (VicPol), the specific aspects checked during inspections, inspection frequency and timing, and the consequences of non-compliance.

Additionally, the map will offer insights into various regulators' responses to noise complaints, their testing methods, and the powers they possess if complaints are substantiated.

The objective is to empower venues with the necessary knowledge to effectively respond to inspections and complaints and to work with regulators and the Department of Treasury and Finance on possible reforms.

This initiative is a direct response to industry demands for more guidance and aims to equip venues with valuable information sought by regulators, leading to more efficient inspections and smoother interactions between the parties involved.



In addition to exponential insurance costs (covered above), there is no doubt that everything just costs more these days. Our industry is also needing to navigate and accommodate increases in alcohol tax, security costs, minimum wage for employees, and (rightfully so) artist fees, while traditional revenue streams are simultaneously disappearing.

We were pleased to see that the Payroll Tax Threshold to be raised to accommodate the rise in minimum wage in the 25/26 State Budget, and to be working with the Victorian State Government to deliver much needed funding to Victoria’s live music scene, which will get a $10 million boost over four years with the launch of two programs that will support  music festivals and venues while providing more paid gigs for local musicians.

The programs, delivered by Music Victoria on behalf of the Victorian Government, will create more paid opportunities for local artists, from those just starting out to established acts, and give Victorian music lovers the chance to see more great local live music. At least 25 per cent of funding in both programs will go to music festivals and live music venues in regional Victoria.

Victoria’s music venues and festivals are the lifeblood of so many communities across our state. The $10 million investment will deliver a steady pipeline of gigs at live music venues, and support more local music festivals to expand and grow and to ensure more artists have paid opportunities.

The Live Music Festivals Fund will provide grants of up to $50,000 to established Victorian festival organisers to help them stage new or existing events – creating more local jobs for people on and off the stage and attracting thousands of fans to cities and towns so they can see their favourite local artists up close.

10,000 Gigs: The Victorian Gig Fund, is part of the Victorian Government's commitment to back 10,000 live music gigs across the state in the next four years. Live music venues can apply for a grant of up to $10,000 to go towards Victorian artists’ fees for gigs at their venue.

This targeted support for our vital live music sector will create more paid opportunities for local artists - from those just starting out to established acts. It will also make it easier for venues across the state to host great local gigs while giving Victorian music lovers the chance to see their favourite acts close to where they live.

While alcohol tax is not a focus area for Music Victoria, we continue to work with Minister Horne and the Victorian Liquor Commission, to ensure that the liquor licence obligations on live music venues are fit for purpose – including de-licensing for all ages gigs and the scale of security required.



We worked hard to achieve a commitment from Victorian Government to use more Victorian music across all that they do.

We partnered with Visit Victoria to engage twelve artists and bands from around Victoria to create unique playlists that reflect their region’s sound.

This running initiative began in 2022 with Evelyn Ida Morris, Tom Richardson, Alice Skye, This Way North, Benny Walker and Harry Hook Is Real, and expanded in 2023 to include Cool Sounds, Jonnine Standish, Jae Laffer, Aaron Shultz, Hollie Joyce and Allara.

The series celebrates Victoria’s talented musicians and performing arts culture. It is supported by Visit Victoria’s Stay close, go further campaign, encouraging Victorians to turn the music up, hit the road less travelled and explore more of what Melbourne and regional Victoria has to offer.

Visit Victoria’s most recent campaign Every bit different unveiled a new destination brand for the State – including a new brand platform, global tourism campaign and visual identity, accompanied by Victorian music – to continue to drive record growth of the Victorian visitor economy.

The campaign films, created by AJF Partnership, leverage Melbourne and Victoria’s creativity in all its forms, including the Cable Ties performing at ‘The Gaso’ in a film edit and campaign music composed by Joe Walker from King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard.

Further to this, VMDO is working to develop the Victorian Music Library to create an easy way to discover, source and clear Victorian music for commercial use.  The library will exist alongside educational resources, seeking to aid in the following outcomes:

  • Discovery - a broad diversity of musicians and music from Victoria being discovered locally and globally
  • Revenue - Increased sync & work-for-hire activities for Victorian acts 
  • Knowledge - Education leads to more understanding of sync processes among artists
  • Data Collection - Catalogue of VIC artists assists with benchmarking and future research



We fought hard to get the Victorian Music Development Office (VMDO) refunded as part of an election commitment. VMDO is a State Government-funded initiative delivered by Music Victoria that exists to provide value to the Victorian music industry. As an organisation it focuses on servicing micro to medium business and mid-career to established professionals with the goal of creating opportunities, facilitating connections and bolstering growth on a local level for global success.

VMDO provides a rich resource offering of workshops, panels, reports, information sheets and industry consultation. They offer professional development initiatives and assistance both at home and abroad. They share the latest in industry news, jobs and opportunities and most importantly, champion the success stories of our vibrant music business sector.

The continued funding of VMDO ensures further support for Victorian music businesses.

This is just some of what we've been working on in the past year. Explore our website to learn more about our advocacy work.

Music Victoria strives to be a significant influencer, profiling best-practice, driving a united agenda, and achieving positive policy outcomes for a diverse membership.

As the state peak body for contemporary music, we are only as strong as our community. Ensuring a vibrant member base means that we have a direct line of communication to provide important advocacy updates, lend support and learn from those who make the Victorian music ecosystem what it is.

Amplify your voice. Become a member.