Taking place on Saturday 25 November 2017, the second Melbourne Live Music Census analysed the current climate of Melbourne’s live music industry and found it to be not only healthy but flourishing. Looking at a variety of subjects and issues around the state of live music in Victoria, the census addressed the health of the industry, the dollar value, patron attendance, safety and inclusion, and the audience share compared to other recreational activities.
Since the first Live Music Census in 2012, the Victorian music community has flourished but changes to the live music climate over the last five years called for an updated census which aimed to garner positive results and change in the Victorian Music Industry. Along with Music Victoria and the City of Melbourne, the 2017 Melbourne Live Music Census enlisted the services of students from Collarts and RMIT, in partnership with the Cities of Yarra and Port Phillip, where they collected data from patrons, venue staff and musicians.
“The live music scene is also a major contributor to Melbourne’s employment with Music Victoria estimating that the 73,000 gigs recorded in 2017 directly created more than 18,300 part-time jobs for musicians, venue and security staff, public and private transport workers and more.”
In 2017, Greater Melbourne hosted more 73,605 advertised gigs compared to 62,000 in 2012, representing a steady 19% increase. Melbourne’s live music performances, attracting a patronage exceeding 17.5 million visits and accounting for more than $1.42 billion spent in small venues and at concerts and festivals in 2017, represented a 16% increase on the $1.22 billion spent in 2012.
The census has found, among other key figures in the final report, that on each Saturday night Melbourne’s live music venues can boast the equivalent audience of an AFL Grand Final with around 112,000 attendees to local gigs and concerts across the city.
The live music scene is also a major contributor to Melbourne’s employment with Music Victoria estimating that the 73,000 gigs recorded in 2017 directly created more than 18,300 part-time jobs for musicians, venue and security staff, public and private transport workers and more.
Other key findings included:
- 2017 live music attendance of 17.5 million, an increase of 12% from 15.6 million in 2012.
- 55% of live music venues reported that their audience had increased in the past 12 months. (Only 16% recorded a decrease).
- Live music attracted more attendance than the AFL, Spring Racing Carnival, A League, Basketball, Netball, NRL, Cricket and the Australian Grand Prix combined.
- In 2017 the census confirmed that greater Melbourne had 553 venues that hosted live music performances – of those 464 were classified as ‘regular’, compared with 465 in 2012.
- Melbourne has one live music venue per 9,503 residents, making Melbourne the live music capital of the world.
- By comparison London has 245 venues (1 per 34,350 residents), New York has 453 venues (1 per 18,554 residents) and Los Angeles 510 venues (1 per 19,607 residents).
“The students involved in the census gained a unique insight into the process of the large-scale project and their valued contributions showed a commitment to the future of Melbourne’s live music landscape.”
What The Industry Says
According to Music Victoria CEO Patrick Donovan, the census proves that Melburnians can’t get enough of live music. ‘’It’s fantastic to see that Melbourne has grown as a live music city in the past five years. While the number of regular gigs is about the same, we’ve bucked global trends of a declining live music scene. The number of gigs and audiences are growing, as well as the number of part-time live music venues, which is consistent with the popularity of live music at non-traditional venues, such as sporting events, and at institutions such as the NGV, the Melbourne Zoo and Melbourne Museum.”
Project Manager of the 2017 Melbourne Live Music Census, Dobe Newton believes Melbourne loves music more than it loves sport. “With more gigs, bigger audiences, more jobs for the industry’s workers and more spending compared to the 2012 Melbourne Live Music Census, there is little doubt that the live music scene in 2017 is in good health. Live music is confirmed as the city’s dominant cultural and social pursuit, and is a significant contributor to the city and state economies.”
Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley said the Census results demonstrate the important role the music plays across the state, noting: “Music is part of our DNA in Victoria. Over the past two years we’ve been rolling out a range of programs that are strengthening our music scene at all levels, right across the state… our $22.2m Music Works initiative is producing real results.”
As Jess Carroll, Live Music Census Coordinator and Collarts Lecturer shares: “It has been a pleasure to work closely with the team in the development of the report. The students involved in the census gained a unique insight into the process of the large-scale project and their valued contributions showed a commitment to the future of Melbourne’s live music landscape.”
The executive summary can be found here and the full report will be presented at the Music Cities Convention – Melbourne on Thursday 19 April 2018. Passionate about having a career in the thriving Melbourne Music scene? Check out our courses here. Applications for 2018 are now open!