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Image for Melbourne loves live music more than footy

Melbourne loves live musicmore than footy

A curious mix of reporters, rock pigs and politicians converged on Melbourne’s Tote Hotel yesterday to listen to Premiere Ted Baillieu announce the findings of the first ever official report on the Economic, social and cultural impact of live music in Victoria.

Baillieu assured everyone in attendance that this was “not the first time I’ve been to The Tote, but certainly the first time I’ve been in a suit and tie,” and went on to detail the findings of the study, which was commissioned by the Labor Government following the SLAM ( Save Live Music ) rally in 2010.

The report, which focused on performances in pubs, bars, nightclubs, cafes and restaurants, uncovered some interesting truths; none more so than the fact that last year approximately 5.4 million people attended performances at a live music venue throughout Victoria as compared to 4.3 million who attended AFL matches in the state.

Other findings in the report which can be viewed in full at the Arts Victoria website were:

Venues

Melbourne has more live music venues than any other Australian city – 370 hotels, bars, nightclubs and restaurants featuring live music.

600 venues throughout Victoria provide 3,000 live performances per week, which equates to about five performances per venue per week.

Performers

Victorian performers earn an average of $19,500 per year from live music performance, with 69% of that coming from venue based performance.

Audiences

41% of punters attend one gig or less a month, 40% attend two to three every month and 19% attend at least four gigs a month.

Economic Contribution

Live music in venues generated $501 million to the Victorian economy

There were approximately 5.4 million attendances at live performances in Victorian venues. This compares with 4.3 million attendances to AFL matches in 2010.

Social and Cultural Contribution

74% of venues surveyed regularly feature original bands and performers

The report goes a long way in providing hard data on the importance of live music in Victoria, and will be used to help shape policy on liquor licensing and , it is hoped, property rights and amenity issues in the future.

A key problem faced by many live venues in Australia right now is a lack of first amenity laws; that is, there is nothing protecting established venues from new residents and developers who lodge noise complaints with local councils, who in turn impose noise-restrictions.

While the report doesn’t make any recommendations regarding first amenity it is listed as challenge facing the live music community, and the findings go a long way in producing hard fact that will help assist policy making in this area.

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Comments

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Spicy McHaggis

Spicy McHaggis said on the 10th Aug, 2011

What constitutes a live music performance?

I assume there's a massive skew in those annual wages due to some very big earners? The melbourne musos I know certainly aren't clearing 20k each for their art

therat

therat said on the 10th Aug, 2011

^That's what I want to know, if I walk into a bar where there is a cover band playing does that count or only if money changes hands.

Other thing being you can't by chance just turn up to the MCG at any given time and poke your head in to watch a game of footy.

grattan

grattan said on the 10th Aug, 2011

Can you still get into the last quarter of a game for free?

Maximillian Billion

Maximillian Billion said on the 10th Aug, 2011



Has that ever been a thing? It certainly hasn't happened in Adelaide for the AFL. And thats with Port getting 4-5 people per match.

gumbuoy

gumbuoy said on the 10th Aug, 2011

What constitutes a live music performance?

I assume there's a massive skew in those annual wages due to some very big earners? The melbourne musos I know certainly aren't clearing 20k each for their art



Thats the problem with just throwing numbers into a pile and pulling out statistics. It doesn't give you any true picture about what's happening.

I would assume that pubs which have a stage in the corner where some guy plays music would be counted - I dont believe Melbourne has 370 venues tailor-made for music performance.

In terms of wages, the average, on its own, is meaningless. You also need the standard deviation - if it's low, then your group is all clustered quite close to the average. if it's high, then you've got a lot of high values and low values cancelling each other out. My guess would be the standard deviation on this average would be massive.

neuroticwill

neuroticwill said on the 10th Aug, 2011

If most musicians are earning very little, and some are making a lot more than the mean, the std dev still won't tell you much. A useful stat would be the median income of musicians, which I imagine would be a lot less than $20k.

Whether the statistics are an accurate representation or not, it's great to hear that this is still on the agenda, and that it may actually lead to a change in policy.

Maximillian Billion

Maximillian Billion said on the 10th Aug, 2011

I imagine if they were including Melbournites like Kylie and AC/DC then they would be dragging up the average by a few thousand all on their own.

grattan

grattan said on the 10th Aug, 2011

Interesting commentary from Kim Salmon:

[URL="http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/spare-a-dollar-for-the-maker-music-doesnt-play-itself-20110809-1ikri.html#ixzz1UcdR0wMT"]People like to blame digital technology for the ease of obtaining music free, doing its makers out of their income. Technology will always change things - it is said that some theatre organists committed suicide with the advent of the talkies. Maybe true, sadly, but there are still organists.

I blame attitudes.

''It must be wonderful doing what you love for a living,'' people often say to me.

Or, ''Put yourself in my shoes, I've got a business to run'', which is a common refrain to working musicians from those who don't want to pay much for their services. The attitude behind this remark is taken as some kind of given and perfectly acceptable.

Well, I am in your shoes, Mr Publican. I've also got a business to run. The business of paying the sound guy, fellow musos, transport, rent. I've walked more than a mile in your shoes and I'm still not where you are.

Another thing I've heard said too many times is ''Why don't you get a real job?'' as if it's too much fun to be a real job.

Others will tell you to treat your music like a hobby and if you get paid for it, that's the icing on the cake. This is a big part of the problem; in my view there are so many people who are prepared to treat it like a hobby, that the professional musician is undermined.

HelloSailor

HelloSailor said on the 10th Aug, 2011

What about when Olivia Newton John sings Xanadu at the footy? That's pretty exciting!

jcloudernow

jcloudernow said on the 10th Aug, 2011

thats the problem with just throwing numbers into a pile and pulling out statistics. it doesn't give you any true picture about what's happening.

i would assume that pubs which have a stage in the corner where some guy plays music would be counted - i dont believe melbourne has 370 venues tailor-made for music performance.

in terms of wages, the average, on its own, is meaningless. you also need the standard deviation - if it's low, then your group is all clustered quite close to the average. if it's high, then you've got a lot of high values and low values cancelling each other out. my guess would be the standard deviation on this average would be massive.

too true... all the musos i know are well below the supposed 20k they are all pulling in. its their choice though

themhumm

themhumm said on the 10th Aug, 2011

An interesting read, I think backwater Brisbane needs to take a lesson from this study. We have less then 100 venues for music (most of which happen to be bogan pubs or dangerous RnB venues).

For example compare the amazing line up for Melbourne festival to the fairly average Brisbane festival. I hate being in a cultural wasteland!

gumbuoy

gumbuoy said on the 10th Aug, 2011

Others will tell you to treat your music like a hobby and if you get paid for it, that's the icing on the cake. This is a big part of the problem; in my view there are so many people who are prepared to treat it like a hobby, that the professional musician is undermined.


In my interview with Jason from Trail Of Dead (to be published shortly) he says pretty much exactly the same thing...

Braveheart81

Braveheart81 said on the 10th Aug, 2011

Interesting commentary from Kim Salmon:

[URL="http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/spare-a-dollar-for-the-maker-music-doesnt-play-itself-20110809-1ikri.html#ixzz1UcdR0wMT"]People like to blame digital technology for the ease of obtaining music free, doing its makers out of their income. Technology will always change things - it is said that some theatre organists committed suicide with the advent of the talkies. Maybe true, sadly, but there are still organists.

I blame attitudes.

''It must be wonderful doing what you love for a living,'' people often say to me.

Or, ''Put yourself in my shoes, I've got a business to run'', which is a common refrain to working musicians from those who don't want to pay much for their services. The attitude behind this remark is taken as some kind of given and perfectly acceptable.

Well, I am in your shoes, Mr Publican. I've also got a business to run. The business of paying the sound guy, fellow musos, transport, rent. I've walked more than a mile in your shoes and I'm still not where you are.

Another thing I've heard said too many times is ''Why don't you get a real job?'' as if it's too much fun to be a real job.

Others will tell you to treat your music like a hobby and if you get paid for it, that's the icing on the cake. This is a big part of the problem; in my view there are so many people who are prepared to treat it like a hobby, that the professional musician is undermined.


I read that article in SMH the other day and am really not sure that I agree with much of what she said.

I don't believe that the fact that people are willing to play music as a hobby for their own enjoyment undermines professional artists. It just means that if you want to be a professional artist and actually make a living out of it, you need to be good (or probably more accurately, popular).

I don't think for a second that just because someone wants to be a professional musician means they should be able to achieve that regardless of their talent.

chico21

chico21 said on the 11th Aug, 2011



you gotta watch those dangerous venues! there are power cords hanging loose, knife blades sticking out of the walls, and a bucket of paint can fall on you every time you open a door.

hedonism gibbon

hedonism gibbon said on the 12th Aug, 2011

from my experience in Melbourne, which is not nearly as extensive as i'd like admittedly, the punters do turn up to gigs, but hang on lounges smoking joints (wish you could do that in sydney pubs and get away with it but nevermind) rather than dance and get up close to the band

70000 people turned up for collingwood and essendon last week for what was essentially a mismatch this year (despite the traditional rivalry) so sport is still pretty bloody popular there

Braveheart81

Braveheart81 said on the 12th Aug, 2011

I wonder how many people attended VFL matches?

It seems a bit of a mismatch that this would include every music venue under the sun, but only include AFL attendances.

tyler07

tyler07 said on the 12th Aug, 2011

An interesting read, I think backwater Brisbane needs to take a lesson from this study. We have less then 100 venues for music (most of which happen to be bogan pubs or dangerous RnB venues).

For example compare the amazing line up for Melbourne festival to the fairly average Brisbane festival. I hate being in a cultural wasteland!

Cultural wasteland? If you think Brisbane is a cultural wasteland then open your eyes and start going to decent places you fuckwit.

Braveheart81

Braveheart81 said on the 12th Aug, 2011

That's it. Fuckin' fly kick him in the head with some culture.

Maximillian Billion

Maximillian Billion said on the 12th Aug, 2011

I wonder how many people attended VFL matches?

It seems a bit of a mismatch that this would include every music venue under the sun, but only include AFL attendances.

From my experience VFL matches usually pull about 1500 people. I don't have any hard figures to back that up, but it does say something similar on Wikipedia. It's not really a patch on AFL crowds, but with 5+ games in Melbourne per week it certainly adds up over a season.

Napoleon Solo

Napoleon Solo said on the 12th Aug, 2011

Why not take into account all the park footy as well. What a rubbish report.

Braveheart81

Braveheart81 said on the 12th Aug, 2011

Yeah, it's a bit of a case of comparing a crate of oranges with a bag of apples.