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Melbourne: Live Music Capital of the World (According to Melbourne)

About a decade ago, British India, an Australian indie rock band, had their first live performance in Melbourne. According to drummer Matt O’Gorman, the gig was so successful, they started playing four days a week. Today, the band is promoting their 6th album and still performing regularly in their hometown – Melbourne.

Some say Melbourne is the sporting capital of the world yet every Saturday, the live music venues in Melbourne are attended by 112,000 people. That’s more than all the local sporting events combined.

Melbourne is the capital of Victoria and has been voted one of the best cities to live in many times. It’s also known for the numerous live music venues. Looking at the numbers, Melbourne has one live music venue per about 9,500 residents. For comparison, Los Angeles has one music venue per about 19,600 residents, London one per about 34,000 residents, and NY one per 18,500 residents. Is more music venues, better? Possibly, read on…

 

The Best Music Venues in Melbourne

From jazz and rock to disco and techno, Melbourne offers music for every taste, every day of the week. According to Culture Trip, these are the ten most popular live music venues in the city:

The Gasometer Hotel
Bennetts Lane Jazz Club
The Toff in Town
Howler
Evelyn Hotel
Section B
Corner Hotel
Cherry Bar
Prince Bandroom
Rubix Warehouse (pictured below)

 

 

The Live Music Census Results

The second Live Music Census, conducted by the City of Melbourne in 2017, analyzed the live music scene in the city and found the following:

The number of live performances has increased by 20% in the period from 2012 to 2017.

More than 50% of the venues reported an increase in audience in 2017.

 

Some say Melbourne is the sporting capital of the world yet every Saturday, the live music venues in Melbourne are attended by 112,000 people. That’s more than all the local sporting events combined including the Spring Racing Carnival, AFL, A-League, Netball, Basketball, Cricket, the Australian Grand Prix, and the NRL.

There were over 73,000 live music performances across Melbourne in 2017 compared to 62,000 in 2012, which is an increase of almost 20%. These 73,000 live gigs created over 18,000 part-time jobs for DJs, musicians, venue staff, production staff, and security personnel.

Live music performances generated $1.42 billion in 2017, which is an increase of 16% from 2012.

Melbourne has over 550 live music venues, out of which 464 are considered ‘regular’.

The live music attendance in 2017 was 17.5 million as opposed to 15.6 million in 2012.

The census project manager, Dobe Newton, says that since music is one of the main reasons people visit Melbourne, it is actually a huge economic factor. The census has found that more than 45% of the spending by ‘music tourists’ actually happens outside the music venue! Local tour company Café Bus, has noticed a growing trend of people visiting Melbourne for the music experience and taking the tours while visiting the city.

 

The Future of Melbourne as the Music Capital of the World

The Australian government started realizing how valuable music was about ten years ago when they issued several reports. These reports were based on data obtained from the major music venues. The smaller venues such as clubs, pubs, and bars, weren’t included.

Melbourne is the first city outside the USA and Europe to host this convention which focuses on music’s role economically, socially, and culturally.

Martin Foley, the Minister for Creative Industries, says that they’ve implemented several programs as part of their $22 million worth Music Works Initiative. This Initiative was designed to strengthen the music scene in the state of Victoria with various grants and mentoring programs.

However, Melbourne music enthusiasts warn that the Government also needs to be careful with restrictions. They need to make sure not to ‘strangle’ the live music scene in the city as it happened in Sydney, where the local government has been imposing ridiculous laws, thus bringing the night-life economy to its knees.

Melbourne’s image as a music city was confirmed with its selection to host the Music Cities Convention in 2018. Melbourne is the first city outside the USA and Europe to host this convention which focuses on music’s role economically, socially, and culturally.

“This is a win for our passionate music community,” says Creative Industries Minister Martin Foley.

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