Keep the doors open, work together and always protect the musos. These are just some of the key ingredients for a thriving live music city, according to a new 10-point plan published by trade association Music Victoria.
The Victorian Live Music 10-Point Plan (see below), which pays homage to Spinal Tap and actually goes to 11, highlights the steps the state’s music industry has taken over the last seven years to help foster its live music scenes. These trade secrets, published Monday (May 22), could even “help save live music in your city,” the trade body enthuses.
The city of Melbourne has a reputation as a world-class music city and is arguably the live heartbeat of Australia. Music Victoria hopes its top tips can serve as a guide to other cities. “Melbourne seems to be bucking the international trend of the decline of live music industries and I’m often asked what is the secret to our success,” Patrick Donovan, CEO Music Victoria and chair of the Australian Music Industry Network, tells Billboard. “We thought it timely to document the reforms and initiatives that Victoria has undertaken in the last seven years and to share it with the world.”
The 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.
Music Victoria shaped its top-10 rules after fielding multiple requests for strategic advice from such cities such as London, Bangkok and Amsterdam, the latter of which is interested in adopting the “Agent of Change” principle, a world-first initiative introduced by the Victorian Government in 2014 which protects venues from encroaching residential developments.
“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,” notes Alex Mann, acting live performance official from the British Musicians’ Union’s live performance department. “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.”
Earlier this month, the Victorian government announced Melbourne had won the bid to host the Music Cities Convention in April 2018. Music Victoria’s Donovan says his organization will use the platform of the confab to discuss the plan and “other great ideas to support music.”
Visit Music Victoria for more.
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