On August 9 2011, Arts Victoria released a report: “The economic, social and cultural contribution of venue-based live music in Victoria”, with “IT’S OFFICIAL: LIVE MUSIC IS GOOD FOR THE STATE”
For the first time, the report quantifies the cultural and economic value of live music in Victoria. Find the report here.
From the report:
“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.”
- From 2009-2010, Victorian venues hosted 5.4 million punters, compared to 4.3 million attendances at AFL games.
- Melbourne has more live music venues than any other Australian city, including around 370 hotels, bars, nightclubs and restaurants featuring live music.
- Some 600 venues throughout Victoria collectively provide an average of 3000 live performances per week, which equates to about five performance per venue per week.
- Victorian performers earn an average of $19,500 per year from live music performance, with 69 percent of this amount ($13,455) derived from venue-based performance.
- Live music venues generated an additional $501 million in gross state product to the Victorian economy.
Below is a joint media release from FG4LM and SLAM, followed by links to media coverage of both the report and the Government’s response.
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9th August 2011
Fair Go 4 Live Music and SLAM call on the Victorian State Government to honour all its commitment to the Live Music Accord Agreement and all levels of governments to review arts funding available to contemporary music.
The Arts Victoria report “The economic, social and cultural contribution of venue-based live music in Victoria”, released today, for the first time quantifies the cultural and economic value of live music in Victoria, which raises many questions.
The live music scene contributes $501 Million to the Victorian Economy, with an attendance 12% greater than the AFL home and away season. These are the bands that play in Pubs, Bars and Restaurants. Add to this, Live Performance Australia’s value of ticketed “non-classical music” and the value of Victorian contemporary music is in excess of $725 million.
This poses some important questions in relation to the what musicians get out of this equation. Although the average Victorian musician directly earns $15,000 from live performance, 57% of musicians earn less than $10,000 with the majority of this money re-invested in their practice. Most musicians turn to other source to help earn a living, diffusing their focus.
This report raises questions as to how governments at all levels can assist the music industry to continue to survive and grow while assisting musicians to leverage their economic worth.
There is an excellent case for increasing arts funding for contemporary music:
- Currently, the Victorian State Government spends a reported $50 million on the Australian Grand Prix to generate economic activity of between $32 million and $40 million. Contrast the Victoria Rocks program which costs the taxpayer $757,951 to leverage $501 million. Consider that the Australia Council spends $71.2 million on Classical Music and Opera whilst spending $12.2 million on all other music forms. 25% of practicing artists are musicians yet the proportion of arts funding that is allocated to contemporary music is proportionally minute.
- The Victorian State Government should reconsider the wisdom of its budget cuts to the Freeza Central Program as this funding supports the next generation coming up into the industry.
In addition to government at all levels reviewing arts funding for contemporary music, the Federal Government should consider other structural reforms such as:
- Fixing the R and D tax offset that specifically excludes arts development: this would allow arts orientated private enterprises to invest in arts development creating economic and cultural wealth.
- Ensure that some of the revenue derived from the Alcohol Excise and Wine Equalization Tax, which is generated by the economic activity of live music, goes into a music fund that goes back to the group that is driving this tax revenue. This should be in the form of a hypothecated fund, accessible to musicians, to assist them in developing their professional careers and creative practices.
Michael O’Brian, The Victorian Minister for Consumer Affairs, announced today that the Victorian Government will reform the Liquor Control Reform Act’s objectives to take into account the needs of live music in liquor licensing decisions. This will bring Victoria into line with other states. The Victorian Government also committed to setting up a permanent live music round table to further discuss regulator issues that effect live music. These are important positive initiatives.
The Victorian State Government should also urgently action all the other commitments under the Live Music Accord agreement to provide a workable regulatory framework for live music, including but not limited to:
- Instituting order of occupancy (agent of change) principles, in the Victoria Planning Scheme and liquor licensing law, that has statutory weight.
- Reform of other regulatory threats to small venues such as the onerous Building Code of Australia’s “Place of Public Entertainment” provisions (class 9b) that place a small venue into the same category as an airport, if it provides live entertainment.
The evidence supplied by the latest Arts Victoria Report supports the case for a major review and increase in arts funding, for contemporary musicians, by all levels of government. There is excellent value for the taxpayer as the infrastructure is already in place. Australia has the venues, it just needs the government to invest in the professional and artistic development of its abundant musical talent and to provide a functional regulatory framework, to ensure its future viability and health.
The case for substantially increasing the funding for contemporary music is self-evident. Australia must show that it has confidence in its capacity to produce its own cultural forms, such as contemporary music. We do not need to replicate and transplant culture from overseas or the distant past.
Arts funding for contemporary musicians to create new work and practice their craft is justifiable, long overdue, well spent. It generates wealth, pride and pleasure for the Australian community whilst enriching our culture.
Joint Media Release:
FG4LM – contact Jon Perring
SLAM – contact Helen Marcou
Information and articles
It’s official: Live music is good for the State – Arts Victoria, 9-8-11
“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.”
– includes a download link to the full report
More people see live music than AFL games – 774 ABC Melbourne, 9-8-11
“The Deloitte Access Economics report has found more Victorians attended live music venues last year than AFL games and the live music industry creates more than 17,000 jobs.”
‘Sticky carpet-clad’ Ted pledges Libs’ love of live music – Crikey, 9-8-11
Report: Live Music More Popular Than Footy – mess+noise, 9-8-11
Spare a dollar for the maker, music doesn’t play itself – The Age, 10-8-11
Music big business in Victoria – The Age, 10-8-11