The second Melbourne Live Music Census, conducted on Saturday 25 November 2017, analysed the climate of Melbourne’s live music industry and found it to be not only healthy but flourishing.
The Melbourne Live Music Census 2017 looked at a variety of subjects and issues around the state of live music in Victoria, addressing the health of the industry, the dollar value, patron attendance, safety and inclusion and the audience share compared to other recreational activities.
In 2017, Greater Melbourne hosted more 73,605 advertised gigs compared to 62,000 in 2012, representing a 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, 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 include:
- 2017 live music attendance of 17.5 million - 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)
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.
“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 live music venues, industry organisations and musicians are thriving – from grants enabling artists to tour and grow new markets to mentoring and professional development and helping live venues become more sustainable - our $22.2m Music Works initiative is producing real results."
Acting Lord Mayor Arron Wood said the census shows the central role Melbourne plays in Australia’s music scene.
“This census cements Melbourne’s status as a leading global music city,” the Acting Lord Mayor said.
“With thousands of performances on offer every year and an incredibly diverse and vibrant live music scene our city continues to move from strength to strength. The City of Melbourne looks forward to continuing to foster our music culture and our music economy, while working hand in hand with the music industry to uncover the next generation of iconic Melbourne musicians.”
Mayor City of Port Phillip Cr Bernadene Voss welcomed the Live Music Census and the opportunity to work with Music Victoria to keep live music on the agenda.
‘’We look forward to a bright future of music in Victoria, including at the Palais and at our fantastic St Kilda Festival which attracted a record crowd this year,” she said.
According to City of Yarra Mayor Cr Daniel Nguyen, they are absolutely committed to ensuring live music continues to flourish in our city.
‘’We are proud to be the forefront of Australian music making, home of iconic venues like the Corner Hotel and the Tote, music studios, radio stations, music businesses and most importantly music professionals,” he said.
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.