Yesterday saw the inaugural Music Cities Melbourne conference take place in the Victorian capital, with members of the global music industry coming together to discuss music as a way for a city to set itself apart and help create its own unique identity.

With a slight change of setting for the day (moving from the Melbourne Arts Centre to the scenic Deakin Edge at Federation Square), the second and final day of the convention featured a much more global discussion, with focus shifting from Australia’s music cities to predominantly discussing music cities around the world.

Kicking the day off with a presentation from Nick Tweedie SC about how we can make so called ‘noisy cities’ work for everyone, Tweedie discussed the role of sound-proofing, and how both live venues and state government need to work together to ensure that a noise war does not spell the end for live music in a city such as Melbourne.

Following a presentation from Maria Claudia Lopez Sorzano, the Secretary of Culture, Leisure and Sport from Bogota, Colombia, the eager audience also discovered how the city of Orlando curates its own night culture, with a presentation from the city’s ‘Night Mayor’, Dominique Greco.

With a panel discussing musical policy in Asia receiving great interest, the focus shifted onto other musical cities around the world, including Amsterdam in the Netherlands, Beijing in China, and even Hobart, down in Tasmania, before topics such as what music can learn from the way sport engages its fans around the world were discussed as well.

This year’s inaugural conference also happened to coincide with the release of the complete findings from the 2017 Melbourne Live Music Census, which last week saw Melbourne crowned the live music capital of the world.

After studying data from over 2000 respondents, the census showed a number of milestones for Victorian music, including the fact that Melbourne is the only major city in the world where more music fans listen to community/public radio stations Triple RRR and PBS FM than any other commercial stations.

Additionally, it was discovered that while incomes have risen annually by 4% since 1993, musicians have not received an increase in performer fees, indicating that if we really do want Australia to thrive as a nation that celebrates its live music and musicians, something must be done to fix this disparity.

Patrick Donovan, CEO of state music peak body Music Victoria, said they would study the survey results to identify problems and areas of weakness within the music industry that can be targeted; whether it’s artist pay or local government compliance, to improve Australia’s live music capital to become a leading city worldwide.

“While the topline figures of the census reveal a very robust live music scene, it’s not all rosy underneath,” Patrick Donovan, CEO Music Victoria. “We will use the feedback, along with some of the best ideas discovered at the Music Cities Convention, to feed into an industry white paper to present to the political parties ahead of the upcoming state election.”