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Best Practice Guidelines for Live Music Venues

In March 2018, Music Victoria announced the addition of a new chapter to the Best Practice Guidelines for Live Music Venues. The new chapter, which deals with Working with musicians, was written by Chelsea Wilson and members of the Music Victoria Artists Advisory Panel. This chapter was originally written by Jen Cloher and members of the Victorian State Government Live Music Roundtable (2012) and has now been expanded upon in 2018.

In March 2016 Music Victoria released an updated version of the Victorian Best Practice Guidelines for Live Music Venues with new chapters on dealing with sexual harassment, hearing protection, hosting all ages gigs, planning law reform and copyright compliance.

The guidelines were developed in 2012 by representatives of the music industry and state government through the Live Music Roundtable to assist Victoria’s live music venues to lead the way. It is important that it is a fluid document with regular updates reflecting changes in the live landscape.

More info on the guidelines here.

The Age Music Victoria Awards

The Age and Music Victoria joined forces in 2013 in a new partnership to recognise and celebrate the state’s musical riches in an all-Victorian awards evening. Previously known as the EG Awards, The Age Music Victoria Awards present publicly-voted awards  in 12 categories which are voted for online. These awards are boosted by 11 specialist genre categories, ranging from avant-garde/experimental to blues, country, electronic, hip hop and heavy. Expert judging panels choose the genre nominees and winners, and awards are handed out prior to the main awards night.

More info on The Age Music Victoria Awards here.

Monthly Professional Development Series

Since 2010, Music Victoria has delivered many high quality professional development workshops around the State. Topics have included grants and funding, small business finance, publicity and promotion, how to get a gig, and industry updates on relevant sector issues.

For information on the current professional development series click here.

Melbourne Music City App

Launched and updated the Melbourne Music City app – a digital guide to live music venues around Victoria.

In 2011, Music Victoria published the first edition of the Melbourne Music City guide to help both tourists and locals find venues, music stores and other music resources in metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria.

This guide has now been turned into a smart phone app, featuring even more great resources including a record store guide, gig guide powered by The Music and industry news. More info here.

All Age Gigs

Music Victoria changed legislation regarding the re-introduction of all age and mixed age gigs. More info here.

Negotiated musician-friendly baggage allowances on airlines

As a member organisation of national body The Australian Music Industry Network (AMIN), Music Victoria helped broker musician-friendly baggage allowances with Virgin Australia and Qantas Airways, ensuring that musicians who are Music Victoria members avoid excess baggage fees when touring. 

Travel discounts for members

As part of AMIN, negotiated a deal with Travel Beyond to allow AMIN members discounts on flights, car hire, accommodation and more. View the discounts here.

Regional Victoria

Conducted the first ever Regional Live Music Census in regional Victoria and launched the Regional Live Music Strategy

Victorian Live Music Census

In October 2012, with the assistance of its Education Advisory Group and Student Committee, and in partnership with the City of Melbourne, Music Victoria undertook the most comprehensive census of live music attendances in metropolitan Melbourne ever undertaken with the Victorian Live Music Census. Findings include that there are almost 500 small live venues in metropolitan Melbourne; in excess of 62,000 performances annually; 14.4m annual patron visits; more than $1bn per annum spent in small venues, concerts and festivals; and 116,000 FTE jobs are created by these live performances. In October 2013, Music Victoria and NMIT conducted the first ever Regional Live Music Census to determine the health and scope of the regional live music sector. The Regional Live Music Strategy was released in September 2014.

Gender Diversity

In April 2015 we conducted the survey 'Women in the Victorian Contemporary Music Industry' with 300 respondents. Key themes that were identified as barriers for women working the contemporary Victorian music industry were pay inequality, access to opportunities, the confidence gap, the general undervaluing of music and sexual harassment. 

Read the report here.

Many of the issues discussed reflect wider systemic issues in not just the music industry, but the economy and society more generally, and have no ‘quick fix’. However, there are concrete actions that Music Victoria has committed to in order to demonstrate leadership and promote gender equality in the music industry including on going workshops related to confidence and a gender diversity policy.

See more information on our work with gender diversity here.

Local Government Election Survey

In 2012 and in 2016, Music Victoria surveyed candidates standing in the Local Government elections on their views on music policy and what they would commit to if elected. The survey has been very successful in highlighting music as an election issue and constituents being able to hold elected candidates to account in terms of their commitments on this subject. A very high response rate was achieved and the outcomes of the survey are being followed up with meetings to be held with the successful supportive candidates. A smaller scale survey was held with party representatives ahead of the 2014 Victorian State Election.

View all results here.

Agent of Change

Advocated for and welcomed the introduction of the Agent of Change principle to protect venues from gentrification and noise complaints.

More info here.

Face the Music

In 2010 Music Victoria partnered with The Push for Face The Music, a two-day music industry conference in November.

Music Victoria makes a contribution to the staging of the annual Face the Music Conference held in November each year. Music Victoria provides creative input to the organisation of Face the Music and advises on panels and workshops. Music Victoria also presents multiple panels or workshops during the conference, either organising the panellists, as a contributing member of the panel, or in a moderating capacity.

Parking Permits for Musicians

Musicians complained that they were being fined for parking whilst loading in or out at their gigs. So in October 2010, Music Victoria approached the City of Yarra about brokering a deal to allow musicians to park in loading bays like any other small business. The City of Melbourne has since implemented a similar scheme with several venues in the CBD taking part, and the Cities of Moreland and Darebin are also looking at trialling permit schemes.


Live music performances were staged at Melbourne Airport by Music Victoria in November 2012. The event took place on three consecutive days leading up to the Face the Music conference, the Australasian Worldwide Music Expo, and Melbourne Music Week. Performers included Mick Thomas and the Roving Commission, Francolin, and Benny Walker, and the shows took place outside at the Virgin domestic arrivals area and inside the international departures terminal.

The project returned in November 2013 featuring Kylie Auldist and the Glenroy Allstars, Mikelangelo, Ross Hannaford and Bart Willoughby, Fraser A Gorman, Georgia Fields, and Second Hand Heart.

In November 2014, performers included The Basics, Cookin' on 3 Burners (with Kylie Auldist), Charles Jenkins, Freya Hollick, Animaux, Marlon Williams, Al Parkinson, and Jules Boult. Melbourne Airport has committed to funding AirPlay! throughout 2015.

In 2015 performers included Oscar Jiminez, Al Parkinson, Abbie Cardwell and Abbey Stone with Airplay! ceasing in late 2015.

Ongoing advocacy 

Music Victoria has been working with various Government departments on the Live Music Roundtable and a number of associated sub-committees to strengthen the Agent of Change Principle (Order of Occupancy where the onus is on the party who has made the recent move, either by introducing music or moving in next door), and reforming the building code, liquor licensing and planning laws, underage gig regulations and cutting red tape. In September 2014, the State government approved amendments to the Victoria Planning Provisions and all local planning schemes in Victoria to give legislative weight to the Agent of Change principle, and made an exemption for small and medium sized venues to be classed at 9B, thus cutting red tape.

Music Victoria worked with the Coalition Government to deregulate all-ages gigs in licensed venues, and to cut the application fee.

Music Victoria was a signatory to the Live Music Agreement 2010 which, among other things, removed the link between live music and violence. In December 2011, the Government passed legislation inserting an object into the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998 recognising the invaluable contribution made to Victoria by the live music industry.

Released the music industry election issues White Paper ahead of the November 2014 state election