The secrets behind Melbourne’s success as one of the great live music cities in the world have been revealed with the release of a 10 point plan by Music Victoria. See the plan here.

Melbourne’s credentials as a top live music city are the result of collaboration between the industry, businesses and government, a commitment to protecting artists and venues, and a pledge to band together and rally if needed.

Produced by Music Victoria, the peak body for contemporary music, the 10 Point Plan is based on initiatives developed with partners and stakeholders including the State Government of Victoria, Fair Go 4 Live Music, Save Live Australia’s Music (S.L.A.M) and venue and studio owners, promoters and academics.

The 10 point plan was developed after fielding enquires from all over the world about how the music scene works in Melbourne and what sets the city apart. It was in part motivated by multiple requests for strategic advice from around the globe including cities such as London, Bangkok and Amsterdam, which is interested in adopting the Agent of Change principle.

The Victorian Live Music 10 Point Plan, which like Spinal Tap, actually goes to 11, highlights the steps the Victorian music industry has taken over the last seven years to save, nurture and grow the state’s live music communities. It also serves as a guide for cities worldwide who can use it to strengthen their own live music scenes.

The Victorian Live Music 10 Point Plan

  1. Know your value – collect and publish data
  2. All aboard – Political buy-in
  3. Keep the doors open – “No lockouts here”
  4. Build your case – Present a clear, evidence-based plan
  5. Come together – Industry and government work together to achieve mutual benefits
  6. Localise it – Council commitment to live music
  7. Get smart – Excellence though best practice
  8. Get with the program – Attract funding and initiatives/programs to benefit industry
  9. Protect the players – There is no music without the creatives
  10. Rock n’ roll High School
  11. The Circuit Breaker – If all else fails, rally the troops

The plan acknowledges initiatives and programs including the Victorian Government’s world-first ‘Agent of Change’ principle which protects venues across the state from encroaching residential developments, and its $22m Music Works package which includes funding and programs for artists, venues, promoters and industry organisations. It also recognises the role councils play in supporting live music and strategies such as the City of Melbourne’s Music Strategy, and takes into account Music Victoria’s own programs including the Rock Star Parks initiative and the annual Victorian Live Music Census.

The Plan’s launch coincides with the Victorian Government’s announcement that Melbourne won the rights to host the prestigious global Music Cities Convention in Melbourne in April 2018.

International music strategy expert, Dr. Shain Shapiro, from convention presenter Sound Diplomacy, believes that every city can learn from Music Victoria’s Victorian Live Music 10 Point Plan.

When a city or region commits to developing their music infrastructure, they must realise that it’s not a race, but a never ending process that has to continually be measured, refined and tested,’’ said Dr. Shapiro.

‘’Victoria is one of the best at not just realising this, but also putting it into practice. This 10 point plan is demonstrating their commitment to ensuring music remains at the top of the policy agenda in Melbourne and the region and should be commended.

Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley says “Melbourne’s position as Australia’s music capital is not something we take for granted. That’s why our Music Works package provides support for the industry at every level; from the artists making the music, to music managers, promoters, technicians and venues.

We’re also supporting projects that celebrate our music heritage, such as the development of the Australian Music Vault and the Rockin’ the Laneways program. Music Victoria’s 10 Point Plan reflects the strong links between government and the music industry. It also reminds us why Melbourne is a music city, and we are the creative state.”

Music Victoria CEO, Patrick Donovan says “Melbourne, Australia has already got more live music venues per capita than anywhere in the world and a diverse range of artists that bring them alive every night of the week. It’s in our best interests to have strong live music circuits all over the world. It has worked for us and will be of huge benefit to music communities everywhere.”

Alex Mann, Acting Live Performance Official from the British Musicians’ Union’s Live Performance Department said “We’re really impressed by the strength of Victoria’s music offer, particularly the way their live scene is so neatly and harmoniously woven into the city’s complex infrastructure. By using legislative measures such as Agent of Change, Victoria’s music industry has shown that it’s possible for live music to run alongside planning, licensing and environmental priorities in a way that works for everyone. It’s a really great example for aspiring and established music cities around the world”.


Patrick Donovan

Patrick Donovan is CEO of Music Victoria.

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