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Patrick Donovan, Founding CEO of Music Victoria, Announces Departure

“It’s been an exciting journey over the last ten years being at the helm of Music Victoria,” Paddy Donovan tells Billboard.

Patrick Donovan is stepping down as chief executive of Music Victoria, the trade association that he played a central role in launching a decade ago.

“It’s been an exciting journey over the last ten years being at the helm of Music Victoria,” Donovan tells Billboard. “I remember when I went to SXSW in 2011 and I struggled to get people to meet with me because they had hardly heard of Melbourne. And now we’re recognized globally as a leading music city with best practice live music laws.”

Prior to joining MV as its founding CEO, Donovan was The Age newspaper’s chief music writer, and he’s an adjunct professor of RMIT’s Bachelor of Arts (Music Business) Course.


Donovan will leave the organization later this year having ticked-off a long list of accomplishments.

During his tenure, MV played its part in world-first regulatory reform through Agent of Change legislation, the Victorian Music Development Office (VMDO) was established, and membership has ballooned to 6,000. Also, MV guided groundbreaking initiatives such as the Live Music Censuses to develop the brand of Melbourne as the “Live Music Capital of the World” and the trade body helped secure A$15 million from state government to save grassroots venues.

Those achievements and others helped thrust MV into the shortlist for Best Global Music Office at the inaugural Music Cities Awards, with the winners in all categories due to be announced Sept. 21.

From the start, MV took the cue from Austin, Texas “because they were the best in the world at supporting their music industry,” adds Donovan, “and up there with Nashville in terms of selling their Music City Brand. We took those great ideas and then kept building – the world first Agent of Change Policy, Live Music Census, and with that confidence that we had one of the strongest live music scenes in the world, the state government invested $25 million into contemporary music.”


Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley and Music Victoria Chair Sally Howland thanked Donovan for his service.

“Under Paddy’s stewardship,” notes Foley in a statement. “Music Victoria has grown into a significant voice for local music. Music Victoria is now the leading champion for live and local music not only for our state but on a national and international level.”

Howland adds, “The Board is forever grateful not only for Paddy’s tireless work but also for the legacy of leaving behind a robust organization ready for its next chapter. He takes with him the goodwill from all of us as he tackles his next venture.”

Before he embarks on his next endeavor, Donovan will assist the MV board in locating his successor.

The live industry in Victoria is current in a state of deep freeze. In time, life and live should return to a new norm. “The industry is very resilient and can survive the current stage 2 lockdown with clever strategies and innovation,” concludes Donovan, “and in my next journey I look forward to supporting music ecosystems in Victoria, around Australia and the world.’’