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It’s official: Melbourne really is the live music capital of the world

The Corner Hotel
Photograph: Paul Philipson

While our buddies in Sydney are fighting the good fight against the lockouts with a huge parliamentary inquiry into the music and arts economy happening right now across New South Wales, a different kind of news has come out of Melbourne.

State music body Music Victoria has released stats for the Melbourne Live Music Census for 2017, which prove that Melbourne really is the live music capital of the world.  

The census confirmed that greater Melbourne has 553 venues that host live music performances, with 464 of those considered as “regular” (they host a gig two nights per week minimum). This means that there is one live music venue per 9,503 residents in Melbourne. By comparison, New York has 453 venues (one per 18,554 residents) and London has 245 venues (one per 34,350 residents). 

The report also found that live music attracts more crowds than the AFL, Spring Racing Carnival, A League, basketball, netball, NRL, cricket and the Australian Grand Prix combined. It’s an increase of 12 per cent from the previous year, with over 17.5 million annual patron visits to live music performances. In fact, 55 per cent of Melbourne’s live music venues reported that their audiences had increased over 2017, with only 16 per cent recording a decrease.

Live music in 2017 also generated $1.42 billion in both box office revenue and patron spending at small venues, concerts and festivals. Music Victoria CEO Patrick Donovan is excited to see that Melbourne has grown as a live music city in the past few years, despite a declining music scene being somewhat of a global trend right now. “The number of gigs and audiences are growing, as well as the number of part time live music venues, which is consistent with the popularity of live music at non-traditional venues, such as sporting events, and at institutions such as the NGV, the Melbourne Zoo and Melbourne Museum.”

You can read more of Music Victoria’s executive summary here.

Support the local scene with our guide to the best live music pubs and where to see live music every night of the week.

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