Just days out from hosting the Music Cities Convention, Melbourne's reputation as a world leader in the live music scene has been given a timely boost.
Musicians and those keen to get involved in the music industry are being encouraged to take advantage of the new Music Market, announced today, which is part of the Victorian government's funding program Music Works.
Designed as part of the $22 million Music Works plan to boost the state's thriving music industry, the Music Market will be home to the new Victorian Music Development Office and sit alongside radio station PBS FM when the Collingwood Arts Precinct opens next year.
The state's peak body Music Victoria and youth music organisation The Push will also be housed in the new arts precinct on Johnston Street, which will provide a multipurpose space for events and exhibitions, a training room for education programs, and meeting rooms for the music industry to share ideas.
Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley said the government's Music Works investment in the state's music industry, from venues and artists to label managers, was "all about taking Victorian music to the next level" and backing the industry.
"The Music Market will be a hub of activity," Mr Foley said, adding it would allow musicians "to share ideas and collaborate on projects" as well as encouraging training and the business of music to thrive in Victoria.
Mr Foley said one of the first projects to be undertaken by the new VMDO would be to increase opportunities for under-represented musicians, including First Peoples and female artists, by encouraging promoters to book them as supports for established acts.
Last week Music Victoria released details from its latest music census, which shows a 19 per cent increase in gigs across Melbourne compared to its inaugural census in 2012.
The Melbourne Live Music Census 2017 found there was close to 73,000 gigs advertised last year and these shows created almost 700,000 performance opportunities for musicians. In the same one year period, live performances created 234,000 shifts for production staff and more than 1.2 million shifts for venue staff.
Attendance by music fans at live performances in 2017 increased by 12 per cent on 2012 to 17.5 million and more than $1.42 billion was spent in small venues and at concerts and festivals in the same period, an increase of 16 per cent on 2012, according to the latest figures.
Dobe Newton, project manager of the latest music census, said Melburnian's passion for music rivals the state's widely recognised love of sport.
"With more gigs, bigger audiences, more jobs for the industry's workers and more spending ... there is little doubt that the live music scene in 2017 is in good health," Mr Newton said. "Live music is confirmed as the city’s dominant cultural and social pursuit, and is a significant contributor to the city and state economies."
Mr Foley said "music is part of our DNA in Victoria" and Music Works programs rolled out over the past two years were aimed at "strengthening our music scene at all levels, right across the state" and producing real results for artists, the industry and fans.
For information about Music Cities Convention, April 18 and 19, go to musiccitiesconvention.com
Martin Boulton is editor of EG at The Age and Shortlist at the Sydney Morning Herald.