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CEO report August 2013

30 Aug 2013

Greetings Music Victoria members and subscribers

Plans are afoot for another bumper November, with the Australasian Worldwide Music Expo (AWME), Face the Music, and Melbourne Music Week taking place at various venues around Melbourne. Music Victoria will once again be running the Airplay project at Melbourne Airport, as well as launching the latest edition of the Melbourne Music City guide.

On Friday 6th September, we will also be announcing a massive new project involving some of the biggest names in music, which we are sure you will want to be part of. Keep a look out in your inbox next week for details and a special 10% discount offer for members.

A Federal Government $560,000 funding boost over three years to the National Live Music Office will assist Music Victoria’s work on the Live Music Roundtable. Dr Ianto Ware from the National Office will speak about their plans and priorities in a Music Victoria National Music Issues panel at Face the Music on Friday 15th November.
Dr Ware will also attend two Live Music Summits and workshops in Ballarat (Wednesday 2nd October) and Geelong (Thursday 3rd October). The invite-only summits, co-presented by APRA and the City of Ballarat and City of Geelong councils, will be an opportunity for live music leaders in these regions to express any regional issues or ideas, which will be fed into council arts and music policies. These sessions will be followed by free public Live Music Panels in the evenings. Check the Music Victoria website soon for all info and details on how to RSVP for the free discussions.

On Saturday 12th October, we will be sending dozens of student volunteers out to regional venues to conduct Stage Two of the Live Music Census. In conjunction with NMIT and the City of Melbourne, the first Live Music Census was conducted in the metropolitan Melbourne area in October 2012 – you can read the Census results here. Once we compile the results from the summits and census, we will look at working with local councils and government to develop some strategies to boost the regional touring circuit.

The Federal election campaign is heating up and, after the spirited debate between Arts Minister Tony Burke and shadow Arts leader George Brandis at the Western Sydney Arts Forum last week, the Greens launched their arts policy – Young and Emerging Artists – at the Corner Hotel this week. Music Victoria is pleased to hear that the Greens are advocating for musicians to include their work – including performance, rehearsals and marketing – as artistic activities eligible for Centrelink mutual obligation requirements, as well as its plans to provide tax breaks to start their own small businesses. The feedback we received in our 2011 Centrelink survey ‘Barriers to Career Progression’, included widespread dissatisfaction with Centrelink for not recognising the work involved in being a practicing musician. We look forward to the major parties releasing their arts policies. Make sure you are aware of all of the arts policies before you vote on Saturday 7th September.

Music Victoria’s Annual General Meeting will be held on Tuesday 22nd October. Members of Music Victoria are all welcome to attend and participate, and will receive an email officially announcing the details and how to nominate for the board in the next few weeks. If you are thinking about nominating, make sure you are a paid up member by 7th October, which is the last chance for the board to approve your membership prior to the AGM.

Read the full report below 

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CEO report July 2013

26 Jul 2013

It’s been a bumper first half of the year for live music. The latest Pollstar figures announced Rod Laver Arena, The Palais Theatre and the Sidney Myer Music Bowl were amongst the top performing arenas, theatres and amphitheatres in the country, with each of them placed in the top 25 in the world, confirming that Melbourne is not just the live music capital of Australia but one of the leading music cities in the world. And it’s not just the big venues – the City of Yarra’s recent inaugural Leaps & Bounds Music Festival, which Music Victoria partnered in, saw thousands of people celebrate the municipality’s diverse and dynamic scene. Victorian music fans just can’t get enough of their live music.

But we can’t take these figures for granted. The threat to another one of our great mid-sized venues - the Palace Theatre - by development; the closure of another Geelong venue, The Yarra Hotel (although the local bookers are now working at the Wool Exchange); and the constant risk to venues by outdated planning, liquor licensing and EPA laws, are reminders of the precarious nature of  the live music industry.

We are making strong headway on the Live Music Roundtable. Along with The Push, we organised meetings and led the campaign for the industry to make submissions to reform under age gigs, which resulted in 23 submissions being made to the Victorian Commission for Gaming and Liquor Regulation. We have also finished our Live Music Venue Best Practice Guide and plan to launch the guide on our Melbourne Music City app around later this year.

The music industry faces a dilemma when looking at ways to reform laws to protect venues. While we need to ensure that laws are supporting Victoria’s 600+ music venues, any reforms also need to support future venues and encourage the next generation of licensees and promoters to enter the industry.

Musician members of Music Victoria look set to save hundreds of dollars a year through a cluster of new discounts negotiated over the last month. It’s pretty easy to make your $66 band membership outlay back. See the Music Victoria website for more details. If you’re not a member yet, it’s easy to sign up as an individual, a band or a business – apply online today!

Music Victoria has recently welcomed two new board members. Matt Topfer, Director of Strategy at design and branding company Clear Design, is a big supporter of Music Victoria and has provided pro bono work for us over the last year. Simon Huggins is a musician, director of the Two Bright Lakes Record Label, director of Sugar Mountain Festival, a Councillor at The City of Yarra and Member of City of Yarra Arts Committee. Welcome to both Matt and Simon!  If you too would like to get involved and run for one of four board positions at our Annual General Meeting in October, make sure you are a paid up member before 7th October, and keep an eye out for AGM details and nomination deadlines on our website.

Click the link below for the full report: 

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CEO report May / June 2013

13 Jun 2013

Can you remember your first gig? Back in the 1980s, there were ample opportunities for a teenager to experience live music, whether it was Painters & Dockers at Rockin’ the Rails, or Spiderbait playing at Fitzroy’s Friends of the Earth warehouse. Opportunities like these left an indelible imprint on a teenager’s mind, setting them up for a lifetime of gig-going. They may have even started a band or got a job in the industry. But there are fewer opportunities for young people to experience underage gigs these days because of the prohibitive compliance burden on de-licensing a licensed venue. 

The Victorian Commission for Gaming and Liquor Regulation is now asking for submissions regarding reform on underage gigs. Download the Consultation Discussion Paper at and make your submission by 5pm on Tuesday 18th June. Let your voice be heard in this once-in-a-generation opportunity to reform underage/all ages gigs in Victoria, and ensure the next generation of music fans, bands and industry workers get the same opportunities that we had.

The Victorian State Government continued Music Victoria’s funding in its recent budget with $250,000 over two years, which is half the level of the previous two years. Music Victoria looks forward to continuing to be the voice for the industry and to ensure that voice is heard loud and clear.

However, in the recent Federal Budget, the Government failed to deliver the funding needed to keep all community digital radio services up and running. “It was a set-back, but not the end,” said CBAA President Adrian Basso. “The sector will now be calling all parties to show where they stand on the issue ahead of the Federal Election. We met with Minister Conroy the other day and he has agreed to have further discussions. While there’s no news yet, there’s still hope.”

Music Victoria is a proud partner in the inaugural City of Yarra Leaps and Bounds Music Festival. Named after the iconic Paul Kelly song, it will celebrate the vibrant and diverse scene in one of the most happening music municipalities in the world. Participating venues have programmed their own entertainment for the festival and will be ticketing their own shows. Music Victoria is also running two workshops during the festival.

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CEO report February 2013

22 Feb 2013

This weekend is shaping up as a massive one for music in the state, with about 140 Victorian venues (and over 300 nationally) registered to celebrate live music in small venues as part of the second annual SLAM Day, and the Melbourne CBD set to party all night long as part of the inaugural White Night Melbourne Festival.

Music Victoria will help you navigate your way from venue to venue with the launch of Victoria’s first dedicated live music guide digital app - Melbourne Music City. The app is available now for iPhone, iPad, Android and Blackberry on both the iTunes App Store and Google Play by searching ‘Melbourne Music City’. 

This week we also launched our second annual membership drive, Jump on the Bandwagon, which will run from 18th to 28th March.

On top of the usual member discounts, this year the Hilton has come on board as a partner, offering  a great prize of a free night’s stay in an executive room at Hilton on the Park, and Flight Centre is offering five $500 vouchers to be won by both artists who sign up for a band membership, and individuals.

Members will also have the chance to attend the exclusive invite-only wrap party at the end of the membership drive at Ding Dong Lounge on Thursday 11th April, featuring Henry Wagons and other special musical guests.

Become a member of Music Victoria for as little as $33 per year for an individual. Sign up at

Music Victoria been very busy this year working with the government on the Live Music Roundtable and its four committees, which are researching problem areas to make recommendations to government about ways to improve the operation and regulation of live music venues in Victoria.

It has been timely to receive expert advice from new Roundtable member, Sounds Australia National Live Music Coordinator, Dr Ianto Ware. The creation of this new position is part of the Australian Government’s $3 million commitment to boost industry innovation, music export and address skills development in the live music sector.

The music industry breathed a collective sigh of relief when Minister for Broadband, Communications & the Digital Economy Senator Stephen Conroy, funded The Australian Music Radio Airplay Project (AMRAP) $250,000, enough to keep the project going for another six months. But not all is rosy in community radio land. The sector is calling on the government to commit to the $1.4 million per year shortfall in funding in the next federal budget or the number of community digital radio services currently on air will have to be substantially reduced, possibly even switched off. You can show your support by signing an online petition at

There’s been a lot to celebrate already this year, with Education Advisory Committee member Dobe Newton receiving an Australian Day Order of Australia honour for service to the performing arts as an entertainer and advocate.

And then of course there’s Gotye’s phenomenal troika of Grammy wins. Montmorency’s favourite son was awarded Music Victoria’s trophy for Most Outstanding Achievement in Victorian Music at 2011’s Age EG Awards, and it’s been wonderful to see his uncompromising, independent vision reach the pinnacle of contemporary music – the equivalent of three Olympic Gold medals.

Good luck to all of the Victorian artists nominated in this year’s Australian Music Prize (The AMP) which will be announced on 7th March in Sydney.

If you live near Port Fairy or are attending the Port Fairy Festival on the Labour Day Weekend, make sure you come along to our free workshop, co-presented by APRA, on how to get a gig at a festival, on Saturday 9th March at 2pm at the Port Fairy RSL.

We will also be hosting a free discussion on the past, present and future of music in the City Of Moreland at the Brunswick Music Festival on Monday 18th March.

That’s all for now, please don’t forget to Jump on the Bandwagon this March and become a member!

Patrick Donovan
Music Victoria

February 2013


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CEO report December 2012 - the big end of year wrap-up

12 Dec 2012

You couldn’t escape the music in Victoria this past November. Whether it was Mick Thomas at Music Victoria’s Airplay project at Melbourne Airport; Paul Kelly performing the soundtrack to the CBD for a few lucky  passengers at the Tram Sessions Mass Jam; The Orbweavers serenading coffee drinkers outside St Paul’s Cathedral during Melbourne Music Week; Vikingo De Jerez whipping up a storm at the Hispanic Fiesta in Fitzroy; or Paul Grabowsky and Dallas Frasca performing at the Wangaratta Jazz Festival, the diversity of Victoria’s contemporary music scene was on show for young and old, headbangers as well as toe-tappers.

And it wasn’t just about entertainment. The Victorian Arts Centre was abuzz with learned knowledge as music industry experts from Melbourne and around the globe passed on their experiences and tips to people trying to get a foothold and a leg up in the industry at the sold out Face the Music and AWME conferences in late November.

We also attended Wangaratta Jazz Festival in early November, presenting a workshop on Getting a Gig in Regional Victoria with Paul Grabowsky, festival director Adrian Jackson, Dallas Frasca and Jonathan Schwartz; presented The Age EG Awards Hall of Fame Award to sound technician Ian Rumbold; and presented an award to Benny Walker for Most Promising Indigenous Act at the Victorian Indigenous Performing Arts (VIPA) Awards.

Music industry heavyweights are urging the Federal Government to ensure that community radio can continue to access new Australian music for airplay through Amrap. Amrap urgently requires a funding commitment from the government so hundreds of community radio broadcasters can continue. What can you do? Write to the Minister for Communications to ask that he restores funding for Amrap - click here for details.

In education news, the Music Council of Australia is mounting a campaign to ensure that all children have the opportunity to receive a quality music education in school. They are setting up advocacy groups in each state to take the case to the state governments as well as advocating to the Federal government.

Vale Dame Elisabeth Murdoch, who passed away last week at the age of 103. Dame Elisabeth was a tireless supporter of the arts through her philanthropic work and supported more than 100 charities annually.

If you don’t feel like the world needs any more junk this Xmas, then consider helping out a musician or industry worker in need or facing hardship.

You can donate to Support Act, which helps artists and workers facing hardship or illness: or Entertainment Assist, who provide education, preventative assistance and support to current and future Australian entertainment industry participants; or to Music Victoria, which survives on memberships and donations 

Thank you to all our members – new and renewed, subscribers and the greater Victorian music community for your continued support this year.

The Music Victoria office will be closed for the holiday break from Friday 21st December until Monday 21st January. Whether you’re also taking a break over the holiday season or not, may it be filled with good local music!  

The Music Victoria team

 Read the full report below!

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CEO report September 2012

10 Sep 2012

Greetings, Music Victoria members and subscribers  

In a huge boost for local artists, the AFL has this week announced that it will bypass the traditional international headliner and instead opt for local acts to entertain the crowd on the last Saturday in September. After the Meatloaf debacle last year, the AFL has booked local acts the Temper Trap, Paul Kelly and Tim Rogers to play before the game, at halftime, and then return for a full concert after the medal presentation, which non-ticket holders will be able to attend.

This is a great result for Victorian music, which will be beamed to millions of viewers around the world, and comes after Music Victoria helped set up the ‘Live at the G’ program last year and strongly advocated for local entertainment on the biggest day.

Music Victoria is always looking to help create more opportunities for local artists, and we are now looking at developing a project with the Melbourne City Council to have local bands playing at the airport.

It’s also been a big month for community radio. Music Victoria partnered with the Community Broadcasters Association of Victoria in August for Play Vic Week, which saw community radio stations all over the state support local talent across all genres. Triple R also wrapped up another successful radiothon with the theme ‘Answer the Call’.

We are making some positive inroads on the State Government’s Live Music Roundtable. The government has taken the issues outlined in our reports on barriers to underage gigs and the case for regulatory reform, and has set up two working groups to work through the issues.
We also attended the St Kilda Live Music Roundtable last month, and it’s good to see the Port Phillip Council taking music issues seriously.

Music Victoria was thrilled to receive a $50,000 program grant from the Australia Council last month which will go towards our 2013 program. Congratulations to the other Victorian music companies that also received program funding.

Also congratulations to the latest round of recipients of the Contemporary and Live Music Development program via Arts Victoria, as well as The Seed’s latest funding recipients.

 Read the full report here. 

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CEO report July / Aug 2012

1 Aug 2012

Greetings, Music Victoria members and subscribers

Music Victoria has recently returned from a run of workshops that took in the Abbotsford Convent and regional centres including Geelong, Ballarat and Wangaratta.

It was a great chance to get out of the office, meet many of you and talk about the key issues in your areas.

The theme for this series was Press Play: Get Your Music Heard and featured high profile musicians, and media and industry representatives investigating how artists can use everything from social media platforms to old fashioned publicity stunts to cut through the critical mass and connect with audiences.

Panellists concluded that consumers have so many platforms to discover and digest music these days, artists have to make music easily available.

Suggestions ranged from sending journalists and radio programmers electronic press releases embedded with SoundCloud and video links so they can make their own mind up about your music, to treating streaming service Spotify as a promotional tool rather than a serious income stream as your music can spread virally through a listener's Facebook friends.

On the flip side, it is important to be aware that while Spotify is great for consumers, artists need to be aware that consumers have to play your music about 180 times to get the same royalties as your music being purchased through iTunes.

And it's worth remembering that things work differently in the city and regions. For instance, 80 per cent of people still buy physical newspaper in region areas, compared to 15 per cent in the city (the rest view it in digital formats), so you need to tailor your pitches accordingly. It was great that audiences were not only able to gain an insight into how the media operates, but access major regional media players such as the Ballarat Courier's Andrew Ramadge; ABC's Jarrod Watt; Forte Magazine editor Brigitte Stone; and Edge FM's Frank Davidson.

While many baby boomers are still trying to figure out how to work an iPhone, women over the age of 50 are the fastest growing Facebook group, so don’t assume that digital platforms only target a young demographic.

As for new technologies, there are always new programs superseding the current fads, so make sure you research latest trends and technologies. And don’t just invest in Apple products; Android apps and tablets may overtake sales of Apple products because they are cheaper.

Music Victoria has also been busy preparing position papers for the Premier's Live Music Roundtable. Our papers on the Case for Regulatory Reform and Barriers to Underage Gigs were well received and we look forward to working with the state government, liquor licensing, the planning department, the EPA, police, venue operators and councils to increase support for live music. Music Victoria will also be a member of the Port Phillip Council Live Music Council on 7th August and we look forward to making recommendations and developing strategies to improve the local scene.

The good news is that any debate about regulatory reform doesn’t have to start from scratch. In 2003, the state government's Live Music Taskforce identified conflicts between residents and live music venues as a major issue that could intensify if it was not well managed. Just in the City of Melbourne, the population has doubled in the last 15 years, and apartments are going up at a rate of knots in the inner city. 

But that report didn’t outline a comprehensive approach to resolve conflict – it only recommended the Agent of Change principle - which puts the onus of responsibility for the cost of management of music noise on the agent of change - be adopted as a voluntary practice note. It needs legislative weight in the Planning and Environmental Act. Regulatory change is need now to recognise the explosion of the nighttime economy and encroaching gentrification.

The State Environment Protection Policy N2 (Sepp N2), which regulates noise from public premises, needs to be updated too. It treats music as pollution, like bio-waste, and adopts a polluter pays principle. The concept of music as noise is subjective and as AC/DC sang, rock’n’roll ain’t noise pollution.

Blanket approaches don’t work – we saw what happened when it was adopted with liquor licensing and high risk premises, which lead to the SLAM Rally in 2010, and a subsequent backdown by the previous government.

There needs to be a tiered approach, with different acceptable sound levels in areas of cultural clusters. Residents who move into lively areas with dynamic culture and strong nighttime economies should expect different levels of amenity to residents in leafy suburbs.

It is a good time to be pushing for planning reform as the State Government planning department is about to review is metropolitan planning strategy to help shape its vision for the next 40 years.

Patrick Donovan
Music Victoria

July / Aug 2012


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CEO report June 2012

29 Jun 2012

The State Government has announced the date of the first Live Music Roundtable meeting – Thursday 12th July - which will include four Music Victoria board members. It couldn’t come soon enough, with the Palace Theatre being the latest venue under threat to development and many smaller venues being threatened by new developments, rising rents and complaints from neighbours.

Music Victoria has spent the last six months preparing a policy position paper and we look forward to making recommendations to remove barriers to live music. CEO Patrick Donovan referenced the position paper while delivering a talk on the topic ‘Melbourne Music City – An Endangered Species?’ at Monash University’s recent 'Policy Notes: Popular Music, Industry and the State' conference, and on a City of Yarra panel about the night time economy last week. Visiting delegates were amazed at the size of our live music scene and the passion of its constituents.

Victoria’s music-loving community came out in force last Sunday at Elsternwick Park for the annual Reclink Community Cup match between the Rockdogs (comprised of musicians) and the Megahertz (community radio broadcasters). Everyone was a winner (well, there were no losers) as the game ended in a tie and $70,000 was raised for sports and arts programs to help the disadvantaged.

Well done to the organisers, 300 volunteers and 9,000 spectators for supporting the cause, and to Liam ‘Banjo’ O’Shannessy and Kate Boston Smith who shared the Best On Ground award.  It’s also gratifying to see awards handed out to players in honour of late great musicians such as Steve Connolly and Tim Hemensley.

With cheap production costs and a myriad of distribution platforms available on the net, it’s easier than ever to record music and get it out there, but how can you ensure it is heard and connects with an audience? All of this and more will be answered at Music Victoria’s free Press Play: Get Your Music Heard’ discussions being held over the next fortnight. The sessions, held in conjunction with The Push and APRA, run from 5.00-7.00pm at Ballarat Mechanics Institute, Wangaratta Performing Arts Centre, Geelong Courthouse Arts Centre, and Abbotsford Convent.

The panels feature musicians including Sal Kimber, Muscles, Yacht Club DJs and Ted O’Neil (Vasco Era) as well as leading media representatives and Music Victoria staff, who will run through the gamut of options available to artists in 2012, from traditional media to social media, digital radio, streaming services and publicity stunts. For more info and to reserve your spot, check out

We are thrilled that Music Victoria’s musicians parking permit initiative is taking off around Melbourne. After being pioneered by the City of Yarra last year, the City of Moreland has taken up Music Victoria’s suggestion to set up a similar system which will provide laminated parking permits to venues to allow performing bands to park in loading bays while they are loading in and out of the venue. After discussions with Music Victoria and city venues, the City of Melbourne is also trialling parking permits for selected venues in the city.

Victorians look like having another two festivals to add to their busy festival calendars. The state government announced that its promised White Night Melbourne festival will kick off on 23rd February next year, coinciding with the second National SLAM Day. Based on Europe’s Nuit Blanche, it will take over Melbourne’s galleries, theatres, laneways and music venues from dusk ‘til dawn. The Victorian Major Events Company is currently calling for expressions of interest from organisations qualified to provide event production services for the inaugural event.

And, having carried out a feasibility study, the City of Yarra is considering running a new live music festival.

A hearty congratulations goes out to the all-conquering Gotye for taking out Song of the Year and Songwriter of the Year at the APRA Awards in Sydney last month.  
And it was great to see so many local arts representatives, including Brett Sheehy, Paul Clarkson, Jim Davidson, Trevor Green, Keith Bottomley and Donald Jarrett honoured in the Queen’s Birthday awards.

You can now support Music Victoria by enjoying a tipple! We have joined up with David Laity’s Goodwill Wines to brand our own bottles of wine, which will be available to purchase online and soon at local venues. Order bottles direct from the website at Fifty per cent of profits from sales go towards Music Victoria’s operating costs. Thanks to talented Victorian musician & illustrator Lluis Fuzzhound (Midnight Woolf) for the rockin’ bottle labels!

Today is the last day you can nominate iconic sounds to for this year’s National Film and Sound Archive Sounds of Australia program. You can nominate any Australian (by or of an Australian) sound recording, for which a copy exists and that is at least 10 years old. Nominations can be made directly from the NFSA website. A panel will decide which sounds will join the likes of the Skyhook’s ‘Living in the ‘70’s’, The Easybeats’ ‘Friday on My Mind’, Daddy Cool’s ‘Eagle Rock’, Men at Work’s ‘Down Under’ and Kylie Minogue’s ‘I Should Be So Lucky’ on the illustrious list. Announcements will be made in August.

Changes have been made to the judging process for the Australian Music Prize (The AMP), which was won by The Jezebels this year. For the first time, entry to The AMP is free-of-charge (instead of $55) and the Amp has already started collecting albums for consideration. Music Victoria urges Victorian artists, labels, publishers or anyone who’s heard a Victorian artist album release this year, of any musical style or genre, to have it considered by judges for official entry selection.

As the financial year draws to a close, Music Victoria thanks you for keeping up to date with our activities by subscribing to our newsletter.

We also want to take a moment to recap some of our achievements over the year. We delivered more than 15 professional development panels and workshops throughout the state which culminated in the Face the Music conference in November with a keynote address from South by Southwest’s creative director, Brent Grulke.

We negotiated a better excess baggage deal with both Virgin and Qantas for our members and brokered deals with councils to provide parking permits for performing musicians; conducted a survey into musician’s access to Centrelink and published a report on our findings; published the free music guide, Melbourne Music City; and provided vital advocacy to everyone from buskers to venues.

Music Victoria also doubled our membership to more than 600 during our inaugural membership drive, Jump on the Bandwagon.

Over the next 12 months we will continue to provide expert professional development panels and workshops covering all aspects of the industry and advocate on your behalf, particularly in the areas of noise management and the Agent of Change Principle; helping revitalise the underage gig scene; and improving conditions for musicians. We will also be carrying out major research projects and undertaking a nationwide work entitlements survey.

As a supporter of Music Victoria, you would already know that we are a not-for-profit, non-partisan incorporation.  While we do receive some financial support through grants and membership fees, funding is not guaranteed.

We are very proud of what we have achieved to date with our limited resources and thank our dedicated volunteer board members and enthusiastic team of volunteers.

But naturally we would like to be able to do more.  With that in mind and to make sure we can continue to support the Victorian music community, we are asking you to consider financially supporting us by either joining up as a member (before our membership fees increase in some categories on 1st July), or by making a donation before the end of the financial year

Donations large and small are tax deductible and are gratefully accepted.

You can join up to become a member via our website.
Please note: there will be a membership fee rise for small businesses and corporate rates from 1st July. Sign up now to beat the rise!

You can make a fully tax-deductible donation via our website.
A receipt will be provided for tax purposes.

Thank you again for your support and please forward this email on to anyone you think may be interested in supporting us through joining up, donating, or to simply let them know of Music Victoria’s activities.

Patrick Donovan
Music Victoria

June 2012


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CEO report May 2012

17 May 2012

Greetings Music Victoria members and subscribers, and a big welcome in particular to all the new members who signed up during our inaugural membership drive, Jump on the Bandwagon.  

We boosted our membership by more than 100% during the drive, which culminated in a wonderful get-together at Richmond’s Corner Hotel with more than 150 members enjoying live sets by Dan Sultan, Brous, Graveyard Train and Courtney Barnett.

May is budget time and the arts sector is always going to be a little nervous with tight budgets handed down in fiscally challenging circumstances. Music Victoria received two years funding in May 2011, on the condition that the organisation works towards self-sustainability, so we will be presenting our business case next year. We will soon be employing an Operations Manager and using our momentum to shore up some new revenue streams.

It was great to see the Office for Youth finding an additional $1.6 million over four years to boost the Push’s FReeZA mentoring and skills development program for young people. Our major cultural institutions were the main beneficiaries from the Office for the Arts in the budget.

A week later, Treasurer Wayne Swan handed down the federal budget which included $3 million over four years to assist the Australian contemporary music industry. While Federal Arts Minister Simon Crean postponed the announcement of the National Cultural Policy Review, some of the beneficiaries of the budget included Sounds Australia to encourage music exports and encourage international acts to use local support acts; the South Melbourne-based Australian National Academy of Music; and the National Film and Sound Archive.

Sadly, AMRAP (the Australian Music Radio Airplay Project) did not have its funding renewed. AMRAP provided a critical support role to Australian artists by distributing new songs to more than 1500 broadcasters from 300 community radio stations. Good luck to AMRAP manager Chris Johnston and the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia in their attempts to keep this important project going.

The decision to cut AMRAP funding by the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy was particularly surprising given the support Australian music received in the Convergence Review’s recommendations released by the Department’s Minister, Stephen Conroy, last month.

Concerning music on radio, the independent review recommended that Australia music quotas should continue on analogue radio and be extended to digital-only radio services, while temporary digital radio services, such as Austereo’s 24 hour Pink and Metallica stations set up to coincide with tours, should be exempt from quotas. This is what the contemporary music industry has been arguing for, and at a recent Music Council of Australia Symposium into Media, in which Music Victoria participated, the industry agreed to lobby the government to amend regulations to require those quotas to be fulfilled during peak listening times (between 6am and 7pm). The AMRAP project was exactly the kind of infrastructure radio needs to get easy access to the best new music.

Community radio is vital to the health of Victorian music, so make sure you get behind PBS’ Be Our Hero radio drive over the next fortnight. And check out Triple R’s new radio on demand service which lets listeners hear any show at any time.

Congratulations to Balnarring’s finest, Wally De Backer aka Gotye, who continues to create history this week by becoming the first artist in US history to hold the top position on four of Billboard’s biggest charts with his smash hit Somebody I Used to Know. The international career of his collaborator in the song, New Zealand-born and Melbourne-based Kimbra, looks bright too after she recently took out the US-based International Songwriting Competition for her song Cameo Lover. Our congratulations also go to Missy Higgins, Michael Paynter and all of the other Victorian winners and placegetters.

Congratulations also to all of the winners at the 10th Annual Australia Jazz Awards held at the Regent Plaza Ballroom on 3rd May: Andrea Keller Quartet, Peter Knight, Nick Haywood Quartet, Luke Howard and Janos Bruneel, Alan Browne and Brian Brown.

Music Victoria was sad to hear that our neighbour, the Phoenix Public House, will close its doors to live music on 12th June. Band booker Paris Martine said the closure was due to their inability to negotiate viable terms for a new lease. While liquor licensing issues didn’t contribute to the closure, it’s a reminder of precarious situation for many of our venues.

The good news is that the Premier has sent out invitations to members of the Live Music Roundtable, which Music Victoria will be part of. One of the first issues we will be raising will be the very important Agent of Change issue, which we wrote about recently in the Sunday Age.

Music Victoria is thrilled that the National Library of Australia has requested to include our Melbourne Music City guide in its publishing collection to recognise our contribution to Australia publishing. We are looking into developing iPad and Smartphone applications to support the physical guide this year and will be offering advertising opportunities to the industry.

Music Victoria has a series of education workshops coming up over the next few months in Melbourne and around the state. You can catch us in Ballarat, Wangaratta, and Geelong; at the Abbotsford Convent, the Darebin Music Feast and the Small Business Victoria Festival over the next few months. Check out our website for all details.

And finally, Music Victoria would like to acknowledge the contribution made to the Victorian music industry by Greg Ham, who passed away last month. Not only was Greg a vital member of one of Victoria’s most successful groups, Men At Work, but he gave plenty back as fearless Chairman of The Push in the 1990s. He left a wonderful legacy and his tireless work will continue to benefit young artists for decades to come.

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

Patrick Donovan
Music Victoria 

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CEO report February 2012

6 Mar 2012

Greetings Music Victoria members and subscribers 

Music fans from all over the country celebrated our vibrant live music scene at about 140 small venues for inaugural National SLAM Day last week   in the biggest nationally coordinated celebration of music since the Sound Relief concerts in 2009.

Visiting a number of venues on the night was a chance to fully appreciate how lucky music fans are, particularly in Victoria, and to appreciate the intimacy and sense of community in our small venues. Federation Square promoted the event on its big screen and the day received mass media coverage around the country.

And it seems the growth of Melbourne’s live scene holds no bounds. North Melbourne Institute of Technology’s recently released its annual The State of Play report 2010-2011 found that the scene grew 3.2 per cent in 2011, and more than $210 million was spent in advertising and promoting these shows.

Yet problems continue to threaten our venues, and this was highlighted with news that electronic music venue Miss Libertine was sadly closing its doors to live performances.

But it seems that councils are listening. The City of Yarra Live Music Working Group, which includes Music Victoria board member Jon Perring, has recommended that it review existing regulatory practices to ensure that pressures on live music operators and residents are reflected in policy, procedures and practices, including the application of the Agent of Change principle which puts the onus of responsibility on the new venue or resident.

Over in the City of Port Phillip, councillor Serge Thomann is making the review of the existing live music and entertainment precincts a priority in the upcoming elections.

And in the City of Melbourne, Councillor Cathy Oke is investigating initiatives that encourage and protect cultural spaces in the City of Melbourne, including looking at how the Agent of Change principle can be incorporated into the Melbourne planning scheme. Last month Melbourne City Council approved two structure plans for the inner north that backed creating a cultural infrastructure plan to support spaces including art studios, theatres and live music venues.

Music Victoria is working with the City of Melbourne council exploring parking passes which would allow bands to park closer to venues in the CBD.

On a state level, the Minister for Consumer Affairs, Michael O’Brien, confirmed to Music Victoria that the Premier’s Live Music Roundtable, which will include members of peak bodies such as Music Victoria, the AHA (Australian Hotels Association) and Victoria Police to investigate issues such as the Agent of Change principle and underage gigs, will be set up in the near future.

With the help of our student committee, Music Victoria is investigating impediments to the underage scene. Unlike NSW, where the scene continues to thrive, over 18’s are not allowed to attend under age gigs here, and Victorian promoters have to pay a $178 de-licensing fee, which is not refunded if the tour is postponed or cancelled.

Promoters have told Music Victoria that the fee and red tape is discouraging many venues and promoters from putting on under age gigs, which are a vital catalyst in attracting lifetime fans and workers in the music industry.

Music Victoria also arranged a meeting with the Department of Justice  to discuss industry concerns about recent amendments to the Liquor Reform Act 1988. Under the new Section 3AA amenity has been re-classified so that venue operators are responsible for behaviour inside their premises that could detract from the amenity of the area. In theory, this means that venues could be fined if a performer swears on stage. A representative for the Victoria Police, which will enforce the provision, assured us that they were not about to start prosecuting people for swearing. We will monitor the situation, but please let us know if you have any problems.

Music Victorian members will also be able to save more in excess baggage fees after Qantas announced a new arrangement to support touring musicians. Musicians flying Qantas will now be able to pre-book an additional baggage allowance of one piece weighing up to 23 kilograms free of charge, meaning they can double their baggage allowance to 46 kilograms. See our website for details. Music Victoria members can already benefit from Virgin Australia’s offer to check in up to three bags weighing up to 32 kilograms, and pool their luggage between band members.

In a good sign for recorded music, it appears that the recorded music industry slide may have bottomed out. ARIA’s latest wholesale figures for recorded music declined just 0.34 per cent in 2011, and it seems the rise in digital sales is starting to offset the decline in physical sales.

This is pertinent timing as it’s going to be a massive year for Victorian artists, here and overseas. Leading the way is Mornington Peninsula’s favourite son, Gotye, who recently became the sixth Australian-based artist to top the UK charts and continues to storm charts overseas.

If you are interested in learning more about how social media can help your act, or want to brush up on your financial knowledge and find out exactly what you can claim in your tax returns on 30th June, make sure you get along to our panels at the Brunswick Festival on 19th and 20th March.

And for our regional members, we will be hosting professional development seminars at the Port Fairy RSL at the Port Fairy Folk Festival on Saturday 10th March from 11.30am (free to non-ticket holders as well) and the Mossvale Park Music Festival in Gippsland on the main stage from midday on Saturday 17th March.

Please mark down the last two weeks of April in your diaries for Music Victoria’s first membership campaign. We will be sending out a survey to subscribers in the next few weeks asking what would entice non-members to join up and what existing members want to see. As always, your feedback is important. We will be hosting a networking event at the end of the campaign for all members which will be a great chance to meet you all.

As our state government funding is not guaranteed after 1st July 2013, is it essential we encourage as many supporters as possible to sign up and become financial members to keep Music Victoria going.

That’s all for now, please keep supporting our wonderful music scene.


Patrick Donovan
CEO, Music Victoria


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CEO report December - the big 2011 wrap-up

22 Dec 2011

It’s been a big year for Music Victoria and the industry and we’ve noticed that, as De La Soul once sang, three is the magic number.

For years the music industry has lagged behind other industries because of a lack of meaningful data. But this was addressed this year when APRA, Arts Victoria and the City of Melbourne each released reports into the economic, social and cultural contribution made by music.

2011 will be remembered as the year that they started to take the music industry seriously. The three reports highlighted the importance of the industry and will help shape the decision making process in years to come.

The Victorian government and Responsible Alcohol Victoria have also acknowledged the value of the industry by amending the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998 by inserting an object into the act recognising the contribution of live music to the state. Objects act as guiding principles of the act and should not only help avoid another SLAM rally but give weight to the push for the Agent of Change principle (which protects existing venues against new neighbours) to be given legislative teeth. We look forward to working on that, and other issues, on the soon-to-be established Live Music Roundtable in 2012.

Music venues are an endangered species. This year we lost the Arthouse and the Public Bar, the East Brunswick Club band room will wind up after summer and the Prince Bandroom’s future hangs in the balance (although the appointment of a new band booker announced today is a positive sign). On the other hand, great new venues such as the Phoenix Public House hosting music again, and the Regal Ballroom in Northcote and Bridge Hotel in Castlemaine will also start hosting live music.

While there’s not a lot that can be done to stymie the encroaching inner city gentrification, Music Victoria is looking at ways local councils and government can help make it more cost effective for licensees to host live music. Music Victoria also attends monthly meetings with band bookers from venues around Melbourne to talk about issues affecting live music venues and what we can do to help.

2011 will also be remembered as the year Melbourne simultaneously and successfully hosted three major music events – the Face the Music conference, the Australasian World Music Expo and the second Melbourne Music Week. All events were well attended and if the positive reaction from the creative director of Austin, Texas conference South by Southwest, Brent Grulke, is anything to go by, we’ve got a winner on our hands. Grulke, one of the most traveled and influential leaders in the music industry, was blown away by the industry’s size and talent in his nine days in Melbourne in November and confirmed that Melbourne has the passion, talent and infrastructure to run its own version of SXSW.

Three is also the number of committees that Music Victoria established in 2011 to ensure that it is broadly representative of the industry.

  • the 70-strong Victorian Music Council, made up of leading musicians, managers, regional festival promoters, venue owners, community radio station managers and music lawyers, which helps guide the organization on priorities and policy;
  • the Education Advisory Committee, which guides us on education matters;
  • the Student Committee, comprised of 13 of the state’s top music business and performance students. 

In 2012, the students will be working towards setting up an internship database and Code of Conduct, re-vitalising the underage and all-ages gig circuit, helping promote National Slam Day on 23rd February at TAFEs, unis and around the state, and assisting us in working with Centrelink to have a better understanding of the value of creative industries. For this, they will be working with our volunteer researcher Kerri Russell, who is adding the finishing touches to our Centrelink survey and report. It will be on our website soon and we will be approaching federal MPs about our recommendations. Thank you to everyone who contributed by completing our survey.

The Australian Music Industry Network, of which I am a director, had a great year, negotiating a deal with Virgin Australia that allows Music Victoria members to save thousands of dollars a year in excessive baggage fees. If you’re not a member, sign up now and save. We are also offering two Virgin Velocity memberships to new members who sign up and existing members who renew before the end of December. We’ll draw these lucky winners at random in the new year.

I also enjoyed my time on the National Film and Sound Archive board this year, and look forward to helping raise its music-related profile and acquisitions next year.

Music Victoria is also helping facilitate the Generate pilot program with APRA and the federal Creative Industries Innovation Centre (CIIC) to help identify, educate and fund the best and most innovative15 music-related business ideas in the country. For more details check our website and register your interest if you have an innovative music business idea. An information session will be held in Melbourne on 22nd February – you must be registered to attend this workshop.

And all of you licensees and band bookers out there, don’t to forget to register your events at and be part of the first National SLAM Day on 23rd February 2012 , celebrating our small live venues.

The Music Victoria board has recently been boosted by the addition of musician and festival programmer Sophia Brous and Street Press Australia’s own Leigh Treweek, and we look forward to harnessing their ideas and energy in 2012. Welcome aboard, folks!

Music Victoria is a non-for-profit organisation that survives on a state government grants, sponsorship, donations and membership fees. The state government, which has provided operational funding until the end of June 2013, has advised that we have to start working towards self-sustainability.

So it’s vital that our subscribers who support what we have done in our short tenure get behind us and become financial members. The more of the industry we represent, the healthier the industry and stronger we all become.

Our music scene is strong, but it’s a fragile ecosystem. On top of venues closing down, this year we lost record store institution Hound Dog’s Bop Shop, which closes its doors this week after decades of providing roots music lovers with rare vinyl and CDs. Make sure you pop down to 313 Victoria Street West Melbourne, buy some tunes and say farewell to manager Denys Williams, who says he is closing the store for a lifestyle change, not because of slow business. And make sure you hit the other record stores (check our Melbourne Music City guide for lists) and stock up on Victorian music for excellent Christmas presents.

And finally, our wishes are with music guru Molly Meldrum, who has been in an induced coma at the Alfred Hospital this week after falling from a ladder. Get well Molly!

Paddy and Bek would like to thank the Music Victoria board for their guidance and patience; and huge thank you to all the volunteers who have worked with us this year – Kerri, Ryan, Tania, Meredith, Graham, Cassie, Lanie and Carrie. 

Have a great Xmas and New Year. The Music Victoria office will be closed from Friday 23rd December and we’ll be back on board on 9th January, ready for a new year.

Patrick Donovan
CEO, Music Victoria 

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CEO report November 2011

4 Nov 2011

Greetings Music Victoria members and subscribers

Thanks to those of you who attended the Annual General Meeting of Music Victoria on Tuesday 18th October. It was a great turnout with more than 50 enthusiastic members attending to vote in the board elections and hear about the organisation’s fruitful year. 

The Face the Music conference on Friday 18th and Saturday 19th November is fast approaching. Music Victoria plays an active role in the conference, which has broadened out from its focus on young people entering the industry. Tickets are on sale now and are great value at only $60 full / $50 concession for a 2 day pass or $40 full / $30 concession for a 1 day pass. Don’t forget that Music Victoria members get a 10% discount. Members can email us directly to access the discount code. 

November is going to be a huge month for music fans. Music Victoria is also co-presenting the Live Music Safari event on Thursday 24th November as part of Melbourne Music Week. The Live Music Safari will see the best small venues in the Melbourne City Council area offer free, one-off line-ups of some of Victoria’s best artists. We’re also proud to support the excellent Australasian World Music Expo (AWME) from 17th – 20th November. 

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