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CEO report September / October 2014

7 Oct 2014

There’s been a bit happening recently in the Music Victoria camp.

Music Victoria has posted a Victorian State Election Report Card to assess and compare the various parties’ commitments and support for contemporary music over the last four years. We will list their commitments to the sector for the next four years as they release them over the next 10 weeks, so watch this space. The aim of this is to assist Victorians in making an informed choice at the 29th November state election. We encourage all music fans to keep checking in on the report card which we will update as policies are released.

News of Victoria’s Agent of Change planning reform for live music venues has now spread to the UK, with local UK music groups using the reform framework to lobby their own government. They say “Agent of Change is so obvious and common sense that most people are amazed it isn't already part of UK law. In Australia it's already being adopted, and the outcome is improved planning; venues working alongside their communities to manage their noise when it changes, developers making better residences that are fit for purpose”. Read their petition here (with over 27,000 signatures so far).

The good management of music noise is a key interest for Music Victoria and the music industry, and we welcome the current review of the State Environment Protection Policy (Control of Music Noise from Public Premises) - SEPP N-2 via the EPA (Environment Protection Authority).  Comments are open from the public until 15th October. Have your say – more info at the EPA site.  

One of Music Victoria's key objectives is to support development of Victoria’s regional music scene to improve economic and social outcomes in the regions. We’ve developed and published a Regional Live Music Action Plan – have a read of it here.

We have also just announced the nominees for the 2014 The Age Music Victoria Genre Awards. View the excellent nominees here. Winners are announced on Thursday 16th October. Stay tuned on details of how to vote in the public awards, too.

Hope to see you all at our Annual General Meeting on 30th October. Come meet the staff and Board of Music Victoria, as well as your fellow members. Make sure your membership is paid up by 13th October if you want to vote for the Board member elections at the AGM. 

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CEO report August 2014

27 Aug 2014

Now that the regulatory landscape looks like being fixed to allow live music venues to thrive - although small venues with low margins such as the legendary Bennett’s Lane Jazz Club, which announced that it will close next June, are a reminder of the fragile nature of the business - Music Victoria is turning its attention back to the rights of the most important people – the musicians.

Thanks to those of you who filled out our recent survey about how Music Victoria can best support musicians and the music industry. We’ll be collating the results shortly, and one lucky respondent will win themselves a pass to the Face the Music conference in November (conference details including the first keynote speaker will be announced tomorrow!).  

There are several music surveys and research projects under way at the moment, covering a range of issues such as musicians’ income, health and safety, copyright, travel issues, expenditure at gigs, and the EPA noise reviews. Want to be heard? Check the full story below for various survey links and have your say!

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CEO report July 2014

4 Aug 2014

Two of the goals for Music Victoria this year were to persuade the legendary Daddy Cool to “Come Back Again” and accept an induction into The Age Music Victoria Awards Hall of Fame with a special performance, and to persuade the State Government that the Agent of Change Principle was not only common sense, but essential to protect our thriving live music scene. 

Both wishes have come true. We announced Daddy Cool’s induction in The Age last Friday, and the show at at 170 Russell on Wednesday 19th November is well on the way to selling out (the Music Victoria members pre-sale was exhausted over the weekend – see you there!).

Once again The EG Allstars house band will fire up, with guests including Russell Morris, Stonefield, Jess Cornelius (Teeth & Tongue) jumping up to sing one of their own songs from this year, as well as a song from the Daddy Cool era. Davey Lane will also play tribute to the late Jim Keays. Tickets to The Age Music Victoria Awards 2014 are $50+bf via Get in quick as they are on the way to selling out already!

Now onto the issue of live music reform. As announced today in The Age, the Victorian Government will shortly make changes to planning regulation that will enshrine Agent of Change in planning law. Alongside SLAM and FairGo4LiveMusic, Music Victoria has been working on this reform since it released the Industry Position Paper to the Live Music Roundtable in 2012, yet some of our policy team have been trying to push it through since 2003. 

The Government’s package features five components, with the first two involve liquor licensing and planning laws recognising the Agent of Change Principle. While the Labor Government introduced the principle in 2004, it was just a practice note and didn’t have enforceable legislative teeth. Once gazetted (hopefully next month), live music will have its own “particular provision” to ensure that the Agent of Change applies state-wide.

Overall, it’s a great package and a big win for the music industry. We have a live music community in Victoria worth protecting, and by addressing the issues in our 2012 position paper, the Government has listened and acted on our recommendations.

But there are some important fine details that we need to work on with the Government to ensure that all of our members are captured by this reform, particularly around the Particular Provision and the definition of live music, so that rehearsal studios can be saved from encroaching development. After all, they are an essential feeder into the live music chain and a crucial part of the music eco-system.   

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CEO report June 2014

27 Jun 2014

Kids (and older siblings and parents) – it’s time to party!

In a special afternoon event at Collingwood’s Gasometer Hotel on Sunday July 6, Client Liaison and Animaux take to the stage for the first all ages gig in a Victorian pub for over 20 years.

Come and celebrate with Client Liaison and Animaux on Sunday 6th July from 2.30 to 6pm at the Gasometer Hotel, 484 Smith Street Collingwood (on the corner of Alexander Parade). Tickets are just $10+ booking fee through Oztix or at the door.

The all ages gig is just one of the many exciting events Music Victoria is running during the upcoming City of Yarra Leaps & Bounds Music Festival, which kicks off on Friday 4th July. We are holding a special information day for City of Yarra Venues on Tuesday 15th July, as well as two great workshops on metal and hardcore music and grants and funding.

Music Victoria has been busy working on our Regional Live Music Action Plan to stimulate the regional touring circuit, and had a positive meeting with the Government about supporting it. We have also been meeting with industry representatives and councils in Geelong and Bendigo about assisting with local live music strategies to stimulate and better co-ordinate their local scenes. 

Congratulations to all the Victorian winners at this weeks’ APRA Awards, and to the successful Victorian recipients of grants from The Seed Fund and Arts Victoria.

Donate to Music Victoria before June 30th! All donations of $2 and over to Music Victoria are tax deductible. Your support is fundamental to the future of Music Victoria and the work we do in the music community. 

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CEO report May 2014

28 May 2014

Some members of the music sector have been concerned about recent reports that the EPA (Environment Protection Authority) has been surveying residents about noise complaints in relation to music venues without empirical evidence to back it up. The industry can rest assured that it was just a preliminary step to gather some evidence from the community about their experience of noise. The full review of the noise SEPP (State Environment Protection Policy) - the first review in 25 years - will involve thorough public consultation and many opportunities to hear directly from both punters and venue operators. Music Victoria will also be running a workshop with the EPA and the City of Yarra on Tuesday 15th July to update venues on the review, as well as another workshop in regional Victoria in August. Also in July, City of Yarra, Leaps & Bounds Music Festival and Music Victoria will be hosting a free masterclass for venue operators by acoustic consultant Frank Butera from engineers Arup, and also announcing exciting new initiatives for Yarra live music venue operators registered with the Leaps & Bounds Festival.

Music Victoria received a much-needed funding boost last week from the Liquor Licensing Commission to continue its work on the Victorian Live Music Roundtable for another year, including the Agent of Change issue, the EPA review, and industry representation through membership on the Liquor Control Advisory Council. We know that it is getting more and more difficult for any group in society to receive government funding, particularly in light of the Federal Budget cuts, and we don’t take this recent funding boost for granted. We will continue to bust a gut to ensure this is a very wise investment with strong outcomes for artists, venues and the whole state.

Music Victoria has just updated our free Melbourne Music City app with updated venues, festival listings, resources, and new features including a gig guide via Eventfinder, and videos. Thanks to Eventfinder and to Small Studio for setting up the gig guide. Download the free app for your smartphone or iPad and check it out. Venues are opening and closing all the time, so let us know if your favourite venue or festival is missing.  

Congratulations to drummer Bart Willoughby on receiving a Fellowship as part of the Australia Council’s National Indigenous Arts Awards, held at the Sydney Opera House this week. Willoughby, who founded No Fixed Address in the 1970s and is now a member of the Black Arm Band, was the first Indigenous artist to record on the Melbourne Town Hall grand organ.

Read the full report

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CEO report April 2014

1 May 2014 CEO report April 2014

Thank you to everyone who renewed their memberships during our recent membership drive or joined up as a new Music Victoria financial member for the first time. You, your band, business or friends can still join up and check out all of the membership benefits. Big thanks especially to those who signed up as Platinum supporters – The Corner Hotel, Banks Group, Cherry Bar, and Kindred Studios. We appreciate all your support!

Thank you also to members of our Student Committee who have been volunteering in the office making up your new membership cards. The cards will be in the mail shortly!

Music Victoria launched the second annual Leaps & Bounds Festival recently. The festival takes place Friday 4th until Sunday 20th Julyin and around venues and spaces in the City of Yarra, from The Corner Hotel (the largest venue in the area) to Longplay (one of the smallest). At the Leaps and Bounds launch, the Yarra Mayor Jackie Fristacky announced that the Council pledged to work with peak music bodies to develop new ways to support live music venues facing compliance and operating issues.

The ABC launched its new re-branded digital station, Double J, on Tuesday. The new format will be a boon for Victorian artists who don’t fit the younger demographic of youth broadcaster Triple J. Check it out online, on your digital TV or through the ABC app.

This year’s National Indigenous Music Awards were announced at Federation Square this morning. Any indigenous artists can enter the awards, and winners will be announced at a gala ceremony in Darwin on 15th August. Artists can nominate at the National Indigenous Music Awards website.

Nominations are also now open for the Deadly Awards which are celebrating 20 years of highlighting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander achievement and excellence on a national stage in 2014, across music, sport, the arts and community. You can nominate at 

Did you know that Music Victoria was involved in over 23 skills development workshops, information sessions and discussion panels last year? We will be hosting two more workshops as part of the Leaps and Bounds festival - one focussed on Metal and the heavier end of music (Wednesday 9th July), and one on the ever-popular topic of grants and funding (Wednesday 16th July). Keep an eye on the Music Victoria website or our Facebook page for forthcoming details on panellists and how to book your spot.

Read the full report here.

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CEO report March 2014

31 Mar 2014 CEO report March 2014

Music Victoria is in the final days of our annual membership drive, and with our state funding not guaranteed past 30th June next year, and an impending state election approaching, we need your support more than ever to make sure the contemporary music industry gets a fair deal.

Sign up before 6pm on Friday 4th April and go into the draw to win a double pass to a show of your choice over the next three months at either The Corner Hotel or the Northcote Social Club. Big thanks to these excellent venues for supporting Music Victoria, and making this special prize available.

Music Victoria’s annual membership drive kicked off last week with the launch of the most significant strategic plan ever prepared for the Victorian music industry. The position paper, entitled Music Victoria – Position and Priorities was prepared in conjunction with industry representatives from SLAM, FairGo4LiveMusic, APRA, The Push, AIR, Mushroom Group, members of the Victorian Music Council, and other industry partners, and outlines the music industry’s vision for the next four years.

University of Melbourne’s Dr Kate Shaw is monitoring the effects of disability access standards in the Building Code of Australia on arts and cultural venues in Victoria (including live music venues). If you know of any venues that are having trouble meeting these standards, or of venues that are deterred from undertaking works because of the increased compliance requirements, please email her at

Congratulations to Melbourne band Big Scary for taking out this year’s Australian Music Prize for its album ‘Not Art’. Hopefully many of you got to see the band perform songs from this wonderful album when they opened last year’s The Age Music Victoria Awards. We have very big plans for this year’s awards, including the reformation of a legendary Melbourne band, so stay tuned – Music Victoria members get first crack at the tickets.

And vale legendary Melbourne promoter Laurie Richards, who ran many venues in the late 70's up to the mid 80's, such as the Jump Club, The Ballroom, The Electric Ballroom, The Tiger Lounge and the Sarah Sands.

Read the full report here.


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CEO report February 2014

28 Feb 2014

Greetings Music Victoria members and subscribers

It was great to see Melbourne transformed into a 24 hour city at last week’s White Night Melbourne, with the city becoming a canvas for over 500 artists to strut their stuff. Of course there were plenty of teething problems, such as too little public transport and not enough music performances, and it certainly impacts the local music venues not involved in the official program, but you’ve got to love so much Victorian art being devoured by half a million people. Now that they have been given a taste for free, let’s hope that they go back and pay for it at one of our hundreds of live music venues throughout the year.

There have been a lot of reports in the press recently about some venues closing down and others going on the market. It’s important to put things into perspective: there will always be an ebb and flow of venues in Victoria; the key is to ensure all venue operators have a supportive regulatory landscape in which they can thrive. While running a live music venue in Victoria has its complexities and challenges, they are still very much viable businesses, as evidenced by the new owners of Richmond’s legendary Great Britain committing to continuing to host live music three nights a week. With the Espy and Yah Yah’s currently on the market, Music Victoria is working with the government and councils to try and ensure red tape is further reduced and compliance officers have a better understanding of the machinations of live music venues. We are planning on getting the venues and compliance officers from various councils together to work through some issues next month, and we helped pen the Live Music Best Practice Guide which is an important resource for not just venues but councils and residents.

With the government committing to strengthening the Agent of Change planning principle to protect existing venues from complaints from new neighbours, rising rents is possibly the biggest issue faced by city and inner city businesses (this, along with declining CD sales, led to Polyester Records announcing last week that it would close its city store to focus on its Fitzroy business). City of Yarra has come up with an innovative way to keep artists living and working in the municipality through the Room to Create Fund, where artists and venues can apply for grants from everything from acoustic consultations to rent subsidies.

The Minster for Liquor Regulation, Edward O’Donohue, last week introduced legislation in State Parliament to deregulate mixed-ages shows on licensed premises without alcohol being served. This will make way for all-ages gigs to be reintroduced, while eliminating the burdensome 45 day, $180 application process. Once the legislation is passed, venues will simply have to notify the Victorian Commission for Gaming and Liquor Regulation a week before the show. It will take a few months for the legislation to be passed, and venues will have an opportunity to make suggestions about a further streamlining of conditions. In the meantime, the commission has set up interim measures for youth gigs (12 to 25 year-olds) in licensed venues.

The next Music Victoria newsletter you receive will be launching our 2014 Membership Drive. We have been busy preparing our ‘White Paper’ election policy list leading up to the November 29 state election, and will be launching the membership drive on 26th March. In the second week of the drive, we will be launching our eagerly anticipated Regional Live Music Census report and recommendations. We will be encouraging Music Victoria members to renew their memberships, and newsletter subscribers to sign up to support us this year.

Patrick Donovan
CEO, Music Victoria 

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CEO report January 2014

30 Jan 2014

Greetings and Happy New Year to our Music Victoria members and subscribers

We have hit the ground running in 2014 with the Victorian State Government announcing some red tape cuts for live music venues. Music Victoria welcomes the Government's initiative to remove onerous requirements in the building code which discriminate against live music, as well as the statement of the Minister for Planning to implement the Agent of Change principle and give it statutory weight. Collectively, these reforms will ensure a more vibrant future for artists, venues, and the music loving public.

Music industry representatives met with Planning Minister, Matthew Guy, last week to start discussions about the best way to implement the Agent of Change Principle, which will protect Victorian venues from noise complaints from new residents, and vice versa. It’s worth remembering that music fans are residents too, so we are seeking a win-win solution for all Victorians.

We also met with the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), which is about to undertake the first thorough review of SEPP N2, which is the statutory measure for the emission of music, in 25 years. For the Agent of Change Principle to work, it has to be recognised by environmental law as well as planning law. Music Victoria is contributing to the discussion paper, which will be put out for public consultation in May.

Music Victoria’s submission into the Victorian Parliament’s Inquiry into the Extent, Benefits and Potential of Music Education in Victorian Schools has been included in the committee’s final report. The Victorian Government will respond to the report, which calls for a statewide music education strategy, increased education, training and support for teachers and a music education guide, by May this year.

Music Victoria has a busy few months ahead. We will launch the next update of the free Melbourne Music City app with exciting new features including landmark videos and a gig guide next month; run our third Jump on the Bandwagon membership campaign in late March; and run skills workshops and information sessions all around the state, including Mildura for the first time, throughout the year. Keep checking our website and Facebook page for updates.

It’s great to see Victorian acts doing so well in the recent Australian Music Prize (AMP) and Triple J Hottest 100 competitions, as well as the Grammy Awards. Local musician Vance Joy took out the #1 spot in the Hottest 100 for Riptide, which also won The Age Music Victoria Awards APRA Song of the Year last year. The song has just gone Top Ten in the UK and is on the way to becoming the biggest international Australian hit since Gotye’s Somebody That I Used to Know. Beaches, Jen Cloher and Big Scary, who opened the inaugural The Age Music Victoria Awards last November, have all been shortlisted for the 9th Coopers Australian Music Prize for the best albums of 2013. Congratulations also to Jen Cloher for picking up the Lighthouse Award for 2013 for her outstanding contribution to the field of music management.   And Northcote group Hiatus Kaiyote, which won The Age Music Victoria Awards gong for Best New Artist, became the first Australian band to be recognised in an R&B category at America's most prestigious music industry event, The Grammys, for their song Nakamarra.

And finally, a big congratulations to Daddy Cool for its classic Eagle Rock being voted the greatest Australian song of all time in the Music Max Australia Day poll. It will be a big year for singer Ross Wilson, who is celebrating 50 years in the music business.

That’s all for now, see you at a local venue soon

Patrick Donovan
CEO, Music Victoria 


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CEO report December 2013

20 Dec 2013

Well, what an amazing finish to the year!

Music Victoria staged the first ever Victorian Music Awards; hosted bands at Melbourne Airport for Airplay; launched the 2014 edition of the Melbourne Music City guide; and then a year’s constructive work on the Live Music Roundtable led to the State Government announcing the deregulation of the mixed-ages gigs industry, which will allow all ages gigs in pubs again, and the Planning Minister committing to implementing the Agent of Change principle to protect existing venues from encroaching development.

The Minister for Planning, Matthew Guy, committed to implementing the Agent of Change Principle – and helping save the Palace Theatre - in Parliament’s Legislative Council last Thursday.

Minister Guy agreed that resolving these issues should be a priority for the Government, and said the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing (OLGR) will assist the Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure (DTPLI) as needed to deliver a positive outcome for the live music industry.

“Melbourne should be proud of its live music scene,” the Minister for Planning, Matthew Guy, said in the recent sitting of Parliament’s Legislative Council.

“We should be proud that this city has a live music scene that is a long way better than anywhere else in this country. This government has done more to protect that culture and that element of our city than any other government.”

Mr Guy said he had met the Minister for Liquor Regulation, Edward O’Donohue, the day before, about ensuring that the Agent of Change principle “…plays an important role and at how it can be implemented best”. “Whether it is through a state amendment or a local planning scheme amendment, we will find a way. More to the point, we will find a way to give certainty to that industry and to that section of the population that enjoys what is one of Melbourne’s greatest tourism and cultural assets.”

It is a great result for the Live Music Roundtable, which has been working tirelessly over the last couple of years to bring about these crucial reforms. The Roundtable also recently launched the Live Music Best Practice Guide, which offers practical tips to any venue hosting music. Check it out here.

After a short break, Music Victoria will return with all guns a-blazin’ in January. We will launch the next update of the free Melbourne Music City app with exciting new features including landmark videos and a gig guide in February; will run our third Jump on the Bandwagon membership campaign in March; and run skills workshops and information sessions all around the state, including Mildura & Swan Hill for the first time, throughout the year.

We have started compiling a list of policy ideas that we will take to all state political parties early next year ahead of the November state election. If you have any great ideas for the next twelve months and beyond, then please drop us a line at

That’s all from us in 2013, have a great holiday break and we’ll see you in the New Year.

Patrick Donovan
CEO, Music Victoria
on behalf of the Music Victoria staff and Board


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CEO report November 2013

27 Nov 2013 CEO report November 2013

Dear Music Victoria members and subscribers

Renée Geyer and an all-star cast of Victoria’s finest musicians told the story of Australian soul music to a near capacity crowd last week at the inaugural The Age Music Victoria Awards at Billboard.   

Renée  Geyer and Michael Gudinski were the first people inducted into The Age Music Victoria Awards Hall of Fame. Musicians from all around the country and the world paid tribute to them in video tributes shown on the night.

Congratulations to all the winners and the two Hall Of Fame inductees, and thanks to The Age and SAE, RRR and PBS, all of our staff, judges, volunteers and sponsors for making these amazing nights so special.

The awards topped a huge week for Victorian music. Over the weekend, hundreds of members of the music industry packed the Arts Centre and surrounding venues for Face the Music, Australasian Worldwide Music Expo (AWME), and Melbourne Music Week, while local artists greeted arrivals at Melbourne Airport for our Airplay project.

The Awards also featured a speech by the Minister for Liquor and Gaming Regulation, Edward O’Donohue, who launched the Live Music Best Practice Guide and announced that the State Government was amending legislation to enable the re-introduction of alcohol-free all-ages live music events in licensed premises after 20 years in the wilderness.

The Best Practice Guide will also be of interest to councils, venues and residents in light of the friction between a neighbour and The Bendigo Hotel in Collingwood - particularly the chapters on building relationships and dispute resolution. While councils currently can’t force complainants into mediation with venues, we believe that increased communication and shared responsibility can go a long way to avoiding these kind of disputes.

Music Victoria has made its submission to the government regarding the Agent of Change principle which, if adopted, will offer more protection to Melbourne’s 460 venues from new developments, and hopefully we will see some movement on this in 2014, otherwise the community will start taking matters into their own hands, by warning prospective new residents that they are moving next a live music hub.

That’s all for now, see you at a local venue soon

Patrick Donovan
CEO, Music Victoria

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CEO report September / October 2013

17 Oct 2013

The awards season is well and truly upon us. Music Victoria and The Age presented the inaugural Age Music Victoria Genre Awards at last Thursday night before 300 people - including awards nominees, judges and media - in an incredible event that united the state’s musical tribes.

How wonderful it was to see the best of all of the genre practitioners – from blues to hip hop, jazz to soul, folk to electronic, Indigenous to avant-garde - celebrating together under the one roof. Congratulations to all of the 55 nominees and 11 winners

Now that the genre awards are done and dusted for 2013, it’s time to focus on the public-voted main awards. We have announced the 55 nominees for The Age Music Victoria Awards (formerly known as The Age EG Awards) and being the ‘people’s awards’, the public will decide the winners through The Age voting site. We have already had more than 30,000 votes in less than a week, so make sure you get online and vote for your favourite Victorian performers, songs, albums and venues of 2013. You can check out the list of the nominees here.

Join us at The Age Music Victoria Awards, which features a star-studded line-up including a greatest hits set by this year’s Hall of Fame inductee Renée Geyer, plus a set from Album of the Year nominee Big Scary, and in a one off performance, Australia’s best soul singers and DJs. Music Victoria members receive a 20% discounted ticket (only $40 – just type the code MEMBER into the Oztix promotional box at

So vote for your favourites, and buy a ticket to the awards. Come along and have a great night, celebrate with your fellow music fans, rub shoulders with the nominees and feel good about yourself too!

November is gearing up as a monster month for music again, with the Age Music Victoria Awards, Face The Music, Australasian World Music Expo (AWME), Melbourne Music Week, Airplay at Melbourne Airport, and also Mushroom Records’ new exhibition: Music, Melbourne & Me: 40 Years of Mushroom and Melbourne's Popular Music Culture at RMIT Gallery.

Read the full report below:

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