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CEO report February 2014

28 Feb 2014

Greetings Music Victoria members and subscribers

It was great to see Melbourne transformed into a 24 hour city at last week’s White Night Melbourne, with the city becoming a canvas for over 500 artists to strut their stuff. Of course there were plenty of teething problems, such as too little public transport and not enough music performances, and it certainly impacts the local music venues not involved in the official program, but you’ve got to love so much Victorian art being devoured by half a million people. Now that they have been given a taste for free, let’s hope that they go back and pay for it at one of our hundreds of live music venues throughout the year.

There have been a lot of reports in the press recently about some venues closing down and others going on the market. It’s important to put things into perspective: there will always be an ebb and flow of venues in Victoria; the key is to ensure all venue operators have a supportive regulatory landscape in which they can thrive. While running a live music venue in Victoria has its complexities and challenges, they are still very much viable businesses, as evidenced by the new owners of Richmond’s legendary Great Britain committing to continuing to host live music three nights a week. With the Espy and Yah Yah’s currently on the market, Music Victoria is working with the government and councils to try and ensure red tape is further reduced and compliance officers have a better understanding of the machinations of live music venues. We are planning on getting the venues and compliance officers from various councils together to work through some issues next month, and we helped pen the Live Music Best Practice Guide which is an important resource for not just venues but councils and residents.

With the government committing to strengthening the Agent of Change planning principle to protect existing venues from complaints from new neighbours, rising rents is possibly the biggest issue faced by city and inner city businesses (this, along with declining CD sales, led to Polyester Records announcing last week that it would close its city store to focus on its Fitzroy business). City of Yarra has come up with an innovative way to keep artists living and working in the municipality through the Room to Create Fund, where artists and venues can apply for grants from everything from acoustic consultations to rent subsidies.

The Minster for Liquor Regulation, Edward O’Donohue, last week introduced legislation in State Parliament to deregulate mixed-ages shows on licensed premises without alcohol being served. This will make way for all-ages gigs to be reintroduced, while eliminating the burdensome 45 day, $180 application process. Once the legislation is passed, venues will simply have to notify the Victorian Commission for Gaming and Liquor Regulation a week before the show. It will take a few months for the legislation to be passed, and venues will have an opportunity to make suggestions about a further streamlining of conditions. In the meantime, the commission has set up interim measures for youth gigs (12 to 25 year-olds) in licensed venues.

The next Music Victoria newsletter you receive will be launching our 2014 Membership Drive. We have been busy preparing our ‘White Paper’ election policy list leading up to the November 29 state election, and will be launching the membership drive on 26th March. In the second week of the drive, we will be launching our eagerly anticipated Regional Live Music Census report and recommendations. We will be encouraging Music Victoria members to renew their memberships, and newsletter subscribers to sign up to support us this year.

Regards
Patrick Donovan
CEO, Music Victoria 

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CEO report January 2014

30 Jan 2014

Greetings and Happy New Year to our Music Victoria members and subscribers

We have hit the ground running in 2014 with the Victorian State Government announcing some red tape cuts for live music venues. Music Victoria welcomes the Government's initiative to remove onerous requirements in the building code which discriminate against live music, as well as the statement of the Minister for Planning to implement the Agent of Change principle and give it statutory weight. Collectively, these reforms will ensure a more vibrant future for artists, venues, and the music loving public.

Music industry representatives met with Planning Minister, Matthew Guy, last week to start discussions about the best way to implement the Agent of Change Principle, which will protect Victorian venues from noise complaints from new residents, and vice versa. It’s worth remembering that music fans are residents too, so we are seeking a win-win solution for all Victorians.

We also met with the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), which is about to undertake the first thorough review of SEPP N2, which is the statutory measure for the emission of music, in 25 years. For the Agent of Change Principle to work, it has to be recognised by environmental law as well as planning law. Music Victoria is contributing to the discussion paper, which will be put out for public consultation in May.

Music Victoria’s submission into the Victorian Parliament’s Inquiry into the Extent, Benefits and Potential of Music Education in Victorian Schools has been included in the committee’s final report. The Victorian Government will respond to the report, which calls for a statewide music education strategy, increased education, training and support for teachers and a music education guide, by May this year.

Music Victoria has a busy few months ahead. We will launch the next update of the free Melbourne Music City app with exciting new features including landmark videos and a gig guide next month; run our third Jump on the Bandwagon membership campaign in late March; and run skills workshops and information sessions all around the state, including Mildura for the first time, throughout the year. Keep checking our website and Facebook page for updates.

It’s great to see Victorian acts doing so well in the recent Australian Music Prize (AMP) and Triple J Hottest 100 competitions, as well as the Grammy Awards. Local musician Vance Joy took out the #1 spot in the Hottest 100 for Riptide, which also won The Age Music Victoria Awards APRA Song of the Year last year. The song has just gone Top Ten in the UK and is on the way to becoming the biggest international Australian hit since Gotye’s Somebody That I Used to Know. Beaches, Jen Cloher and Big Scary, who opened the inaugural The Age Music Victoria Awards last November, have all been shortlisted for the 9th Coopers Australian Music Prize for the best albums of 2013. Congratulations also to Jen Cloher for picking up the Lighthouse Award for 2013 for her outstanding contribution to the field of music management.   And Northcote group Hiatus Kaiyote, which won The Age Music Victoria Awards gong for Best New Artist, became the first Australian band to be recognised in an R&B category at America's most prestigious music industry event, The Grammys, for their song Nakamarra.

And finally, a big congratulations to Daddy Cool for its classic Eagle Rock being voted the greatest Australian song of all time in the Music Max Australia Day poll. It will be a big year for singer Ross Wilson, who is celebrating 50 years in the music business.

That’s all for now, see you at a local venue soon

Regards
Patrick Donovan
CEO, Music Victoria 

 

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CEO report December 2013

20 Dec 2013

Well, what an amazing finish to the year!

Music Victoria staged the first ever Victorian Music Awards; hosted bands at Melbourne Airport for Airplay; launched the 2014 edition of the Melbourne Music City guide; and then a year’s constructive work on the Live Music Roundtable led to the State Government announcing the deregulation of the mixed-ages gigs industry, which will allow all ages gigs in pubs again, and the Planning Minister committing to implementing the Agent of Change principle to protect existing venues from encroaching development.

The Minister for Planning, Matthew Guy, committed to implementing the Agent of Change Principle – and helping save the Palace Theatre - in Parliament’s Legislative Council last Thursday.

Minister Guy agreed that resolving these issues should be a priority for the Government, and said the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing (OLGR) will assist the Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure (DTPLI) as needed to deliver a positive outcome for the live music industry.

“Melbourne should be proud of its live music scene,” the Minister for Planning, Matthew Guy, said in the recent sitting of Parliament’s Legislative Council.

“We should be proud that this city has a live music scene that is a long way better than anywhere else in this country. This government has done more to protect that culture and that element of our city than any other government.”

Mr Guy said he had met the Minister for Liquor Regulation, Edward O’Donohue, the day before, about ensuring that the Agent of Change principle “…plays an important role and at how it can be implemented best”. “Whether it is through a state amendment or a local planning scheme amendment, we will find a way. More to the point, we will find a way to give certainty to that industry and to that section of the population that enjoys what is one of Melbourne’s greatest tourism and cultural assets.”

It is a great result for the Live Music Roundtable, which has been working tirelessly over the last couple of years to bring about these crucial reforms. The Roundtable also recently launched the Live Music Best Practice Guide, which offers practical tips to any venue hosting music. Check it out here.

After a short break, Music Victoria will return with all guns a-blazin’ in January. We will launch the next update of the free Melbourne Music City app with exciting new features including landmark videos and a gig guide in February; will run our third Jump on the Bandwagon membership campaign in March; and run skills workshops and information sessions all around the state, including Mildura & Swan Hill for the first time, throughout the year.

We have started compiling a list of policy ideas that we will take to all state political parties early next year ahead of the November state election. If you have any great ideas for the next twelve months and beyond, then please drop us a line at info@musicvictoria.com.au

That’s all from us in 2013, have a great holiday break and we’ll see you in the New Year.

Patrick Donovan
CEO, Music Victoria
on behalf of the Music Victoria staff and Board

 

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CEO report November 2013

27 Nov 2013 CEO report November 2013

Dear Music Victoria members and subscribers

Renée Geyer and an all-star cast of Victoria’s finest musicians told the story of Australian soul music to a near capacity crowd last week at the inaugural The Age Music Victoria Awards at Billboard.   

Renée  Geyer and Michael Gudinski were the first people inducted into The Age Music Victoria Awards Hall of Fame. Musicians from all around the country and the world paid tribute to them in video tributes shown on the night.

Congratulations to all the winners and the two Hall Of Fame inductees, and thanks to The Age and SAE, RRR and PBS, all of our staff, judges, volunteers and sponsors for making these amazing nights so special.

The awards topped a huge week for Victorian music. Over the weekend, hundreds of members of the music industry packed the Arts Centre and surrounding venues for Face the Music, Australasian Worldwide Music Expo (AWME), and Melbourne Music Week, while local artists greeted arrivals at Melbourne Airport for our Airplay project.

The Awards also featured a speech by the Minister for Liquor and Gaming Regulation, Edward O’Donohue, who launched the Live Music Best Practice Guide and announced that the State Government was amending legislation to enable the re-introduction of alcohol-free all-ages live music events in licensed premises after 20 years in the wilderness.

The Best Practice Guide will also be of interest to councils, venues and residents in light of the friction between a neighbour and The Bendigo Hotel in Collingwood - particularly the chapters on building relationships and dispute resolution. While councils currently can’t force complainants into mediation with venues, we believe that increased communication and shared responsibility can go a long way to avoiding these kind of disputes.

Music Victoria has made its submission to the government regarding the Agent of Change principle which, if adopted, will offer more protection to Melbourne’s 460 venues from new developments, and hopefully we will see some movement on this in 2014, otherwise the community will start taking matters into their own hands, by warning prospective new residents that they are moving next a live music hub.

That’s all for now, see you at a local venue soon

Regards
Patrick Donovan
CEO, Music Victoria

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CEO report September / October 2013

17 Oct 2013

The awards season is well and truly upon us. Music Victoria and The Age presented the inaugural Age Music Victoria Genre Awards at last Thursday night before 300 people - including awards nominees, judges and media - in an incredible event that united the state’s musical tribes.

How wonderful it was to see the best of all of the genre practitioners – from blues to hip hop, jazz to soul, folk to electronic, Indigenous to avant-garde - celebrating together under the one roof. Congratulations to all of the 55 nominees and 11 winners

Now that the genre awards are done and dusted for 2013, it’s time to focus on the public-voted main awards. We have announced the 55 nominees for The Age Music Victoria Awards (formerly known as The Age EG Awards) and being the ‘people’s awards’, the public will decide the winners through The Age voting site. We have already had more than 30,000 votes in less than a week, so make sure you get online and vote for your favourite Victorian performers, songs, albums and venues of 2013. You can check out the list of the nominees here.

Join us at The Age Music Victoria Awards, which features a star-studded line-up including a greatest hits set by this year’s Hall of Fame inductee Renée Geyer, plus a set from Album of the Year nominee Big Scary, and in a one off performance, Australia’s best soul singers and DJs. Music Victoria members receive a 20% discounted ticket (only $40 – just type the code MEMBER into the Oztix promotional box at tickets.oztix.com.au/?Event=38149).

So vote for your favourites, and buy a ticket to the awards. Come along and have a great night, celebrate with your fellow music fans, rub shoulders with the nominees and feel good about yourself too!

November is gearing up as a monster month for music again, with the Age Music Victoria Awards, Face The Music, Australasian World Music Expo (AWME), Melbourne Music Week, Airplay at Melbourne Airport, and also Mushroom Records’ new exhibition: Music, Melbourne & Me: 40 Years of Mushroom and Melbourne's Popular Music Culture at RMIT Gallery.

Read the full report below:

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CEO report August 2013

30 Aug 2013

Greetings Music Victoria members and subscribers

Plans are afoot for another bumper November, with the Australasian Worldwide Music Expo (AWME), Face the Music, and Melbourne Music Week taking place at various venues around Melbourne. Music Victoria will once again be running the Airplay project at Melbourne Airport, as well as launching the latest edition of the Melbourne Music City guide.

On Friday 6th September, we will also be announcing a massive new project involving some of the biggest names in music, which we are sure you will want to be part of. Keep a look out in your inbox next week for details and a special 10% discount offer for members.

A Federal Government $560,000 funding boost over three years to the National Live Music Office will assist Music Victoria’s work on the Live Music Roundtable. Dr Ianto Ware from the National Office will speak about their plans and priorities in a Music Victoria National Music Issues panel at Face the Music on Friday 15th November.
Dr Ware will also attend two Live Music Summits and workshops in Ballarat (Wednesday 2nd October) and Geelong (Thursday 3rd October). The invite-only summits, co-presented by APRA and the City of Ballarat and City of Geelong councils, will be an opportunity for live music leaders in these regions to express any regional issues or ideas, which will be fed into council arts and music policies. These sessions will be followed by free public Live Music Panels in the evenings. Check the Music Victoria website soon for all info and details on how to RSVP for the free discussions.

On Saturday 12th October, we will be sending dozens of student volunteers out to regional venues to conduct Stage Two of the Live Music Census. In conjunction with NMIT and the City of Melbourne, the first Live Music Census was conducted in the metropolitan Melbourne area in October 2012 – you can read the Census results here. Once we compile the results from the summits and census, we will look at working with local councils and government to develop some strategies to boost the regional touring circuit.

The Federal election campaign is heating up and, after the spirited debate between Arts Minister Tony Burke and shadow Arts leader George Brandis at the Western Sydney Arts Forum last week, the Greens launched their arts policy – Young and Emerging Artists – at the Corner Hotel this week. Music Victoria is pleased to hear that the Greens are advocating for musicians to include their work – including performance, rehearsals and marketing – as artistic activities eligible for Centrelink mutual obligation requirements, as well as its plans to provide tax breaks to start their own small businesses. The feedback we received in our 2011 Centrelink survey ‘Barriers to Career Progression’, included widespread dissatisfaction with Centrelink for not recognising the work involved in being a practicing musician. We look forward to the major parties releasing their arts policies. Make sure you are aware of all of the arts policies before you vote on Saturday 7th September.

Music Victoria’s Annual General Meeting will be held on Tuesday 22nd October. Members of Music Victoria are all welcome to attend and participate, and will receive an email officially announcing the details and how to nominate for the board in the next few weeks. If you are thinking about nominating, make sure you are a paid up member by 7th October, which is the last chance for the board to approve your membership prior to the AGM.

Read the full report below 

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CEO report July 2013

26 Jul 2013

It’s been a bumper first half of the year for live music. The latest Pollstar figures announced Rod Laver Arena, The Palais Theatre and the Sidney Myer Music Bowl were amongst the top performing arenas, theatres and amphitheatres in the country, with each of them placed in the top 25 in the world, confirming that Melbourne is not just the live music capital of Australia but one of the leading music cities in the world. And it’s not just the big venues – the City of Yarra’s recent inaugural Leaps & Bounds Music Festival, which Music Victoria partnered in, saw thousands of people celebrate the municipality’s diverse and dynamic scene. Victorian music fans just can’t get enough of their live music.

But we can’t take these figures for granted. The threat to another one of our great mid-sized venues - the Palace Theatre - by development; the closure of another Geelong venue, The Yarra Hotel (although the local bookers are now working at the Wool Exchange); and the constant risk to venues by outdated planning, liquor licensing and EPA laws, are reminders of the precarious nature of  the live music industry.

We are making strong headway on the Live Music Roundtable. Along with The Push, we organised meetings and led the campaign for the industry to make submissions to reform under age gigs, which resulted in 23 submissions being made to the Victorian Commission for Gaming and Liquor Regulation. We have also finished our Live Music Venue Best Practice Guide and plan to launch the guide on our Melbourne Music City app around later this year.

The music industry faces a dilemma when looking at ways to reform laws to protect venues. While we need to ensure that laws are supporting Victoria’s 600+ music venues, any reforms also need to support future venues and encourage the next generation of licensees and promoters to enter the industry.

Musician members of Music Victoria look set to save hundreds of dollars a year through a cluster of new discounts negotiated over the last month. It’s pretty easy to make your $66 band membership outlay back. See the Music Victoria website for more details. If you’re not a member yet, it’s easy to sign up as an individual, a band or a business – apply online today!

Music Victoria has recently welcomed two new board members. Matt Topfer, Director of Strategy at design and branding company Clear Design, is a big supporter of Music Victoria and has provided pro bono work for us over the last year. Simon Huggins is a musician, director of the Two Bright Lakes Record Label, director of Sugar Mountain Festival, a Councillor at The City of Yarra and Member of City of Yarra Arts Committee. Welcome to both Matt and Simon!  If you too would like to get involved and run for one of four board positions at our Annual General Meeting in October, make sure you are a paid up member before 7th October, and keep an eye out for AGM details and nomination deadlines on our website.

Click the link below for the full report: 

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CEO report May / June 2013

13 Jun 2013

Can you remember your first gig? Back in the 1980s, there were ample opportunities for a teenager to experience live music, whether it was Painters & Dockers at Rockin’ the Rails, or Spiderbait playing at Fitzroy’s Friends of the Earth warehouse. Opportunities like these left an indelible imprint on a teenager’s mind, setting them up for a lifetime of gig-going. They may have even started a band or got a job in the industry. But there are fewer opportunities for young people to experience underage gigs these days because of the prohibitive compliance burden on de-licensing a licensed venue. 

The Victorian Commission for Gaming and Liquor Regulation is now asking for submissions regarding reform on underage gigs. Download the Consultation Discussion Paper at vcglr.vic.gov.au and make your submission by 5pm on Tuesday 18th June. Let your voice be heard in this once-in-a-generation opportunity to reform underage/all ages gigs in Victoria, and ensure the next generation of music fans, bands and industry workers get the same opportunities that we had.

The Victorian State Government continued Music Victoria’s funding in its recent budget with $250,000 over two years, which is half the level of the previous two years. Music Victoria looks forward to continuing to be the voice for the industry and to ensure that voice is heard loud and clear.

However, in the recent Federal Budget, the Government failed to deliver the funding needed to keep all community digital radio services up and running. “It was a set-back, but not the end,” said CBAA President Adrian Basso. “The sector will now be calling all parties to show where they stand on the issue ahead of the Federal Election. We met with Minister Conroy the other day and he has agreed to have further discussions. While there’s no news yet, there’s still hope.”

Music Victoria is a proud partner in the inaugural City of Yarra Leaps and Bounds Music Festival. Named after the iconic Paul Kelly song, it will celebrate the vibrant and diverse scene in one of the most happening music municipalities in the world. Participating venues have programmed their own entertainment for the festival and will be ticketing their own shows. Music Victoria is also running two workshops during the festival.

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CEO report February 2013

22 Feb 2013

This weekend is shaping up as a massive one for music in the state, with about 140 Victorian venues (and over 300 nationally) registered to celebrate live music in small venues as part of the second annual SLAM Day, and the Melbourne CBD set to party all night long as part of the inaugural White Night Melbourne Festival.

Music Victoria will help you navigate your way from venue to venue with the launch of Victoria’s first dedicated live music guide digital app - Melbourne Music City. The app is available now for iPhone, iPad, Android and Blackberry on both the iTunes App Store and Google Play by searching ‘Melbourne Music City’. 

This week we also launched our second annual membership drive, Jump on the Bandwagon, which will run from 18th to 28th March.

On top of the usual member discounts, this year the Hilton has come on board as a partner, offering  a great prize of a free night’s stay in an executive room at Hilton on the Park, and Flight Centre is offering five $500 vouchers to be won by both artists who sign up for a band membership, and individuals.

Members will also have the chance to attend the exclusive invite-only wrap party at the end of the membership drive at Ding Dong Lounge on Thursday 11th April, featuring Henry Wagons and other special musical guests.

Become a member of Music Victoria for as little as $33 per year for an individual. Sign up at musicvictoria.com.au/become-a-member-of-music-victoria

Music Victoria been very busy this year working with the government on the Live Music Roundtable and its four committees, which are researching problem areas to make recommendations to government about ways to improve the operation and regulation of live music venues in Victoria.

It has been timely to receive expert advice from new Roundtable member, Sounds Australia National Live Music Coordinator, Dr Ianto Ware. The creation of this new position is part of the Australian Government’s $3 million commitment to boost industry innovation, music export and address skills development in the live music sector.

The music industry breathed a collective sigh of relief when Minister for Broadband, Communications & the Digital Economy Senator Stephen Conroy, funded The Australian Music Radio Airplay Project (AMRAP) $250,000, enough to keep the project going for another six months. But not all is rosy in community radio land. The sector is calling on the government to commit to the $1.4 million per year shortfall in funding in the next federal budget or the number of community digital radio services currently on air will have to be substantially reduced, possibly even switched off. You can show your support by signing an online petition at committocommunityradio.org.au

There’s been a lot to celebrate already this year, with Education Advisory Committee member Dobe Newton receiving an Australian Day Order of Australia honour for service to the performing arts as an entertainer and advocate.

And then of course there’s Gotye’s phenomenal troika of Grammy wins. Montmorency’s favourite son was awarded Music Victoria’s trophy for Most Outstanding Achievement in Victorian Music at 2011’s Age EG Awards, and it’s been wonderful to see his uncompromising, independent vision reach the pinnacle of contemporary music – the equivalent of three Olympic Gold medals.

Good luck to all of the Victorian artists nominated in this year’s Australian Music Prize (The AMP) which will be announced on 7th March in Sydney.

If you live near Port Fairy or are attending the Port Fairy Festival on the Labour Day Weekend, make sure you come along to our free workshop, co-presented by APRA, on how to get a gig at a festival, on Saturday 9th March at 2pm at the Port Fairy RSL.

We will also be hosting a free discussion on the past, present and future of music in the City Of Moreland at the Brunswick Music Festival on Monday 18th March.

That’s all for now, please don’t forget to Jump on the Bandwagon this March and become a member!

Patrick Donovan
CEO
Music Victoria

February 2013

 

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CEO report December 2012 - the big end of year wrap-up

12 Dec 2012

You couldn’t escape the music in Victoria this past November. Whether it was Mick Thomas at Music Victoria’s Airplay project at Melbourne Airport; Paul Kelly performing the soundtrack to the CBD for a few lucky  passengers at the Tram Sessions Mass Jam; The Orbweavers serenading coffee drinkers outside St Paul’s Cathedral during Melbourne Music Week; Vikingo De Jerez whipping up a storm at the Hispanic Fiesta in Fitzroy; or Paul Grabowsky and Dallas Frasca performing at the Wangaratta Jazz Festival, the diversity of Victoria’s contemporary music scene was on show for young and old, headbangers as well as toe-tappers.

And it wasn’t just about entertainment. The Victorian Arts Centre was abuzz with learned knowledge as music industry experts from Melbourne and around the globe passed on their experiences and tips to people trying to get a foothold and a leg up in the industry at the sold out Face the Music and AWME conferences in late November.

We also attended Wangaratta Jazz Festival in early November, presenting a workshop on Getting a Gig in Regional Victoria with Paul Grabowsky, festival director Adrian Jackson, Dallas Frasca and Jonathan Schwartz; presented The Age EG Awards Hall of Fame Award to sound technician Ian Rumbold; and presented an award to Benny Walker for Most Promising Indigenous Act at the Victorian Indigenous Performing Arts (VIPA) Awards.

Music industry heavyweights are urging the Federal Government to ensure that community radio can continue to access new Australian music for airplay through Amrap. Amrap urgently requires a funding commitment from the government so hundreds of community radio broadcasters can continue. What can you do? Write to the Minister for Communications to ask that he restores funding for Amrap - click here for details.

In education news, the Music Council of Australia is mounting a campaign to ensure that all children have the opportunity to receive a quality music education in school. They are setting up advocacy groups in each state to take the case to the state governments as well as advocating to the Federal government.

Vale Dame Elisabeth Murdoch, who passed away last week at the age of 103. Dame Elisabeth was a tireless supporter of the arts through her philanthropic work and supported more than 100 charities annually.

If you don’t feel like the world needs any more junk this Xmas, then consider helping out a musician or industry worker in need or facing hardship.

You can donate to Support Act, which helps artists and workers facing hardship or illness: or Entertainment Assist, who provide education, preventative assistance and support to current and future Australian entertainment industry participants; or to Music Victoria, which survives on memberships and donations 

Thank you to all our members – new and renewed, subscribers and the greater Victorian music community for your continued support this year.

The Music Victoria office will be closed for the holiday break from Friday 21st December until Monday 21st January. Whether you’re also taking a break over the holiday season or not, may it be filled with good local music!  

cheers
The Music Victoria team

 Read the full report below!

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CEO report September 2012

10 Sep 2012

Greetings, Music Victoria members and subscribers  

In a huge boost for local artists, the AFL has this week announced that it will bypass the traditional international headliner and instead opt for local acts to entertain the crowd on the last Saturday in September. After the Meatloaf debacle last year, the AFL has booked local acts the Temper Trap, Paul Kelly and Tim Rogers to play before the game, at halftime, and then return for a full concert after the medal presentation, which non-ticket holders will be able to attend.

This is a great result for Victorian music, which will be beamed to millions of viewers around the world, and comes after Music Victoria helped set up the ‘Live at the G’ program last year and strongly advocated for local entertainment on the biggest day.

Music Victoria is always looking to help create more opportunities for local artists, and we are now looking at developing a project with the Melbourne City Council to have local bands playing at the airport.

It’s also been a big month for community radio. Music Victoria partnered with the Community Broadcasters Association of Victoria in August for Play Vic Week, which saw community radio stations all over the state support local talent across all genres. Triple R also wrapped up another successful radiothon with the theme ‘Answer the Call’.

We are making some positive inroads on the State Government’s Live Music Roundtable. The government has taken the issues outlined in our reports on barriers to underage gigs and the case for regulatory reform, and has set up two working groups to work through the issues.
We also attended the St Kilda Live Music Roundtable last month, and it’s good to see the Port Phillip Council taking music issues seriously.

Music Victoria was thrilled to receive a $50,000 program grant from the Australia Council last month which will go towards our 2013 program. Congratulations to the other Victorian music companies that also received program funding.

Also congratulations to the latest round of recipients of the Contemporary and Live Music Development program via Arts Victoria, as well as The Seed’s latest funding recipients.

 Read the full report here. 

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CEO report July / Aug 2012

1 Aug 2012

Greetings, Music Victoria members and subscribers

Music Victoria has recently returned from a run of workshops that took in the Abbotsford Convent and regional centres including Geelong, Ballarat and Wangaratta.

It was a great chance to get out of the office, meet many of you and talk about the key issues in your areas.

The theme for this series was Press Play: Get Your Music Heard and featured high profile musicians, and media and industry representatives investigating how artists can use everything from social media platforms to old fashioned publicity stunts to cut through the critical mass and connect with audiences.

Panellists concluded that consumers have so many platforms to discover and digest music these days, artists have to make music easily available.

Suggestions ranged from sending journalists and radio programmers electronic press releases embedded with SoundCloud and video links so they can make their own mind up about your music, to treating streaming service Spotify as a promotional tool rather than a serious income stream as your music can spread virally through a listener's Facebook friends.

On the flip side, it is important to be aware that while Spotify is great for consumers, artists need to be aware that consumers have to play your music about 180 times to get the same royalties as your music being purchased through iTunes.

And it's worth remembering that things work differently in the city and regions. For instance, 80 per cent of people still buy physical newspaper in region areas, compared to 15 per cent in the city (the rest view it in digital formats), so you need to tailor your pitches accordingly. It was great that audiences were not only able to gain an insight into how the media operates, but access major regional media players such as the Ballarat Courier's Andrew Ramadge; ABC's Jarrod Watt; Forte Magazine editor Brigitte Stone; and Edge FM's Frank Davidson.

While many baby boomers are still trying to figure out how to work an iPhone, women over the age of 50 are the fastest growing Facebook group, so don’t assume that digital platforms only target a young demographic.

As for new technologies, there are always new programs superseding the current fads, so make sure you research latest trends and technologies. And don’t just invest in Apple products; Android apps and tablets may overtake sales of Apple products because they are cheaper.

Music Victoria has also been busy preparing position papers for the Premier's Live Music Roundtable. Our papers on the Case for Regulatory Reform and Barriers to Underage Gigs were well received and we look forward to working with the state government, liquor licensing, the planning department, the EPA, police, venue operators and councils to increase support for live music. Music Victoria will also be a member of the Port Phillip Council Live Music Council on 7th August and we look forward to making recommendations and developing strategies to improve the local scene.

The good news is that any debate about regulatory reform doesn’t have to start from scratch. In 2003, the state government's Live Music Taskforce identified conflicts between residents and live music venues as a major issue that could intensify if it was not well managed. Just in the City of Melbourne, the population has doubled in the last 15 years, and apartments are going up at a rate of knots in the inner city. 

But that report didn’t outline a comprehensive approach to resolve conflict – it only recommended the Agent of Change principle - which puts the onus of responsibility for the cost of management of music noise on the agent of change - be adopted as a voluntary practice note. It needs legislative weight in the Planning and Environmental Act. Regulatory change is need now to recognise the explosion of the nighttime economy and encroaching gentrification.

The State Environment Protection Policy N2 (Sepp N2), which regulates noise from public premises, needs to be updated too. It treats music as pollution, like bio-waste, and adopts a polluter pays principle. The concept of music as noise is subjective and as AC/DC sang, rock’n’roll ain’t noise pollution.

Blanket approaches don’t work – we saw what happened when it was adopted with liquor licensing and high risk premises, which lead to the SLAM Rally in 2010, and a subsequent backdown by the previous government.

There needs to be a tiered approach, with different acceptable sound levels in areas of cultural clusters. Residents who move into lively areas with dynamic culture and strong nighttime economies should expect different levels of amenity to residents in leafy suburbs.

It is a good time to be pushing for planning reform as the State Government planning department is about to review is metropolitan planning strategy to help shape its vision for the next 40 years.

Patrick Donovan
CEO
Music Victoria

July / Aug 2012

 

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