Melbourne loves live music more than footy

A curious mix of reporters, rock pigs and politicians converged on Melbourne’s Tote Hotel yesterday to listen to Premiere Ted Baillieu announce the findings of the first ever official report on the Economic, social and cultural impact of live music in Victoria.

Baillieu assured everyone in attendance that this was “not the first time I’ve been to The Tote, but certainly the first time I’ve been in a suit and tie,” and went on to detail the findings of the study, which was commissioned by the Labor Government following the SLAM ( Save Live Music ) rally in 2010.

The report, which focused on performances in pubs, bars, nightclubs, cafes and restaurants, uncovered some interesting truths; none more so than the fact that last year approximately 5.4 million people attended performances at a live music venue throughout Victoria as compared to 4.3 million who attended AFL matches in the state.

Other findings in the report which can be viewed in full at the Arts Victoria website were:


Melbourne has more live music venues than any other Australian city – 370 hotels, bars, nightclubs and restaurants featuring live music.

600 venues throughout Victoria provide 3,000 live performances per week, which equates to about five performances per venue per week.


Victorian performers earn an average of $19,500 per year from live music performance, with 69% of that coming from venue based performance.


41% of punters attend one gig or less a month, 40% attend two to three every month and 19% attend at least four gigs a month.

Economic Contribution

Live music in venues generated $501 million to the Victorian economy

There were approximately 5.4 million attendances at live performances in Victorian venues. This compares with 4.3 million attendances to AFL matches in 2010.

Social and Cultural Contribution

74% of venues surveyed regularly feature original bands and performers

The report goes a long way in providing hard data on the importance of live music in Victoria, and will be used to help shape policy on liquor licensing and , it is hoped, property rights and amenity issues in the future.

A key problem faced by many live venues in Australia right now is a lack of first amenity laws; that is, there is nothing protecting established venues from new residents and developers who lodge noise complaints with local councils, who in turn impose noise-restrictions.

While the report doesn’t make any recommendations regarding first amenity it is listed as challenge facing the live music community, and the findings go a long way in producing hard fact that will help assist policy making in this area.