The economic, social and cultural contribution of venue-based live music in Victoria

A study of the venue-based live music industry in Victoria to determine its contribution to the State's economy, social well-being and cultural vitality, was commissioned by Arts Victoria, and undertaken in 2010-11 by Deloitte Access Economics. The study also identified barriers to, and opportunities for, growth and development of live music in Victorian venues.

The focus of the study was live music performance in pubs, bars, nightclubs, cafes and restaurants. The major components of the study were: surveys of patrons venues and performers; a literature review; stakeholder interviews; and a series of case studies.

The research found that the Victorian venue-based live music sector operates in a largely self-sustaining private market, and is in a generally 'healthy' state, bringing significant economic, cultural and social benefits to Victoria:

  • It was estimated that the venue-based live music industry generated an additional $501 million to the Victorian economy in 2009-10, and resulted in an increase of 17,200 in FTE employment.
  • Victorian live music venues provide around 3,000 performances per week, averaging three nights per week per venue;
  • Victorian bands and musicians are providing an average of 23.5 performances per year - an average of two performances per month;
  • Around 15,760 Victorians had some paid work in live music performance in licensed venues in 2009-10;
  • Attendance at Victorian live music venues was conservatively estimated at around 5.4 million attendances per year.

The venue-based live music industry makes an important cultural and social contribution to the State, and is highly valued by Victorians:

  • Patrons believe that Victoria's live music scene makes a positive contribution to the State in terms of:
    • improving quality of life (92%)
    • providing a safe and welcoming environment (84%)
    • encouraging individuality (86%);
  • 76% of young people (aged 18-19 years) felt their friendship group had expanded through attending live music performance;
  • The opportunity to perform live in music venues plays a crucial role in developing music careers and incubating talent. All performers believed that live performance was a critical step in their professional and career development.

The research confirmed Melbourne's reputation as Australia's live music capital, having more hotels, bars, nightclubs and restaurants and cafes providing live music than any other Australian city.

Jordie Lane playing at the launch of the Live Music Report, 9 August 2011