Melbourne outshines Los Angeles, London as world's live music capital, study shows

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A disk jockey plays music in front of a light screen on the last night of the Azkena Rock Festival in Vitoria, Spain September 3, 2006. Reuters/Vincent West (SPAIN)

Melbourne is crowned as world’s live music capital, outshining Los Angeles and London. The Victorian capital, previously hailed as the world's most liveable city, had more live music venues per capita compared to any other city in the world, according to the Melbourne Live Music Census.

The City of Melbourne and Music Victoria conducted the census with help from RMIT, Collarts and the cities of Yarra and Port Phillip. They learned that live music venues in Melbourne have an audience of 112,000 every Saturday night.

The city’s attendance figures were higher for live music than the AFL, Spring Racing Carnival, A-League and other sports combined. Last year, live music made $1.4 billion, up 16 percent from 2012.

A 20 percent rise in the number of gigs being graced in greater Melbourne between 2012 and 2017 has been recorded. Fifty-five percent of venues said their audience had jumped in the past year.

Per 9,503 residents, Melbourne had one venue. That is comparable to London with 1 per 34,350, New York with 1 per 18,554 and LA with1 per 19,607.

Dobe Newton, the census's project manager, said people started getting the idea that music was valuable about a decade ago. Newton pointed out it is a huge economic generator and the reason why people come to the city.

Music Victoria boss Patrick Donovan said the results show Melbourne has bucked the global trend of a declining live music scene. He noted that the number of gigs and audiences are climbing.

There was also an increased in the number of venues for part-time live music. "(It) is consistent with the popularity of live music at non-traditional venues such as the (National Gallery of Victoria), the Melbourne Zoo and Melbourne Museum,” Donovan added.

As for noise complaints, the agent-of-change legislation by the state government offers better protection for venues. But Newton said the city must continue to ensure that the pressures of gentrification did not overpower live music culture."It is a real danger, but one of the reasons for doing this is to make sure everybody understands that this isn't just a bunch of dole-bludging musos here," The ABC quoted Newton as saying.

Melbourne is often considered a more gig-friendly city than Sydney. Hoodoo Gurus’s Dave Faulkner recently told a NSW parliamentary committee that Sydney has been doing all it can to destroy all places of entertainment and to transform them into apartment buildings.

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