It's official: Live music is good for the State
Date: 9 August 2011
Victoria's live music performers and venues contribute more than half a billion dollars to the state economy each year, according to a report released today at Collingwood's iconic Tote Hotel by Premier and Minister for the Arts Ted Baillieu and Minister for Consumer Affairs Michael O'Brien.
Speaking after listening to performers Jordie Lane and Stonefield at the Tote, Mr Baillieu said the report by Deloitte Access Economics was the first comprehensive assessment of the social, economic and cultural contribution of venue-based live music to Victoria.
"Melbourne has more live music venues than any other Australian city and Victorians are passionate about live music, with around 5.4 million attendees at Victorian venues in 2009/10 - outstripping even the AFL," Mr Baillieu said.
"Last year thousands of people took to the streets of Melbourne and the steps of Parliament to support Melbourne's unique live music scene and because of their passionate belief in the importance of live music to our city and our communities.
"Our government is a huge supporter of live music and this report confirms what many of us have known for a long time - that our live music scene is a huge asset for this state."
The research looked specifically at the impact of live music performance in pubs, bars, nightclubs, cafes and restaurants throughout Melbourne and Victoria, and included surveys of patrons, venues, performers and consultation with other industry stakeholders.
The report found that the venue-based live music sector:
· contributes around $500 million annually to the Victorian economy;
· creates the equivalent of 17,200 full-time jobs;
· provides almost 70 per cent of live performance income for Victorian musicians; and
· plays a crucial role in incubating talent and developing and establishing musicians' careers.
"I was also heartened to learn that our live music venues incubate talent and make a huge social contribution by providing a safe and welcoming environment, encouraging individuality and having a positive impact for the community," Mr Baillieu said.
"This report supports Melbourne's reputation as Australia's live music heartland, with a robust live music scene that presents around 3,000 performances per week, an average of three nights a week per venue."
The report also examined the regulatory environment within which live music venues operate, with venues reporting negative impacts resulting from higher annual liquor licensing fees and increased crowd control conditions that were introduced as part of changes to liquor Licensing by the former Labor Government.
Minister for Consumer Affairs Michael O'Brien welcomed the report's finding that there was no publicly available evidence that live music leads to greater risk of anti-social behaviour.
"The regulation of liquor must be balanced to ensure that alcohol-related harm is minimised while promoting a vibrant and diverse hospitality and entertainment industry," Mr O'Brien said.
"We must ensure that blanket high-risk conditions do not apply to licensed venues featuring live music but that venues are assessed on their own circumstances.
"As this research shows, live music is an important part of Victoria's social and cultural fabric, and the Coalition Government is committed to reforming liquor licensing laws and policies to ensure the continuing viability and vitality of the live music industry.
"We will also form a permanent Live Music Industry Roundtable involving liquor licensing and music industry representatives, Victoria Police, live music venues and the Coalition Government to ensure that significant liquor licensing issues involving live music can be discussed openly and frankly, and that this valuable sector can thrive."
The Coalition Government will also consider the findings of the report that more openings are needed for touring in regional Victoria and increasing performance opportunities for less-established artists and providing career guidance for performers.
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