November 19, 2017

Music Victoria to address worrisome industry issues identified in survey

Music Victoria is using the results of its latest survey to help boost initiatives at both a state and national level. 

Victoria’s peak music association asked its members and subscribers about the biggest issues and opportunities facing their careers and businesses, as part of its annual survey.

The key findings are: 

  • 45% of respondents spend up to $5000 on music (instruments, rehearsals, recording, tickets, buying recorded music. touring etc.) per year
  • 30% work more than 38 hours a week on music
  • 94% joined Music Victoria to support our advocacy work

Of the respondents, 16% were associated with a venue, and 52.1% of respondents were musicians.

Other important trends to come out of the responses in include musicians’ income, funding for community radio and music in regional/rural areas being the three top issues noted overall, as well as the biggest issue for venues being attendance.

Music Victoria CEO Patrick Donovan told TMN that while the association had already begun programs to address some issues hgihlighted, others would be dealt with on a more national level – beginning with the Australian Music Industry Network (AMIN) and the National Contemporary Music Roundtable in Sydney in early August.

“Music income seems to be the biggest issue,” Donovan said. “So the national survey will cover what they’re paid and what sort of venues they play in.”

Music Victoria already publishes the Best Practice Guidelines for Live Music Venues – which covers safety, maintaining positive relationships with neighbours and musicians and sustainability – with new chapters added periodically added. 

Music Victoria has expressed interest in the Fair Trade initiatives in Seattle and England where venues promise to pay musicians correctly rather than in the form of goods or expect them to play for free because it’s “good exposure”.

“A starting point would be artists defining who their audience is and the need to put a value on what they offer to the audience,” Donovan added.

“There are gaps in how they can collect contact information on the people who have shown interest.”

One gap in the market that Music Victoria is already looking to fill is addressing the strengthening of Victoria’s regional touring networks with mentors and professional development.

The Victorian Music Crawl was introduced this year, during which 25 Melbourne-based music managers, venue bookers, promoters, artists and music media undertook three-day tours to Ballarat, Castlemaine, Bendigo and Echuca. 

Over the coming 12 months, these expeditions will also extent to visiting key centres such as the Mornington Peninsula, Gippsland, Geelong, the Surf Coast and Warrnambool.

“Promoters in regional areas [operate in] an isolated situation,” Donovan said. “So Music Victoria developed the idea where we take people based in the metropolitan areas to meet up with them and to essentially break the ice and network.”