13 November 2023

Breathing life into live music: NSW Government to audit regional music space

| Jarryd Rowley
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A microphone and a packed audience

The State Government is looking to revive live performances across the state as the number of live music venues in NSW has halved since 2013. Photo: iStock/Vershinin.

Musicians from across the state will have the opportunity to voice the challenges they face when trying to book gigs as the State Government looks to revive live music performances.

For the first time, the NSW Government will conduct a survey of artists and music professionals to better understand the obstacles that have caused the state to lose more than half of its music venues in the past decade.

According to data released by the NSW Government’s Liquor and Gaming Authority, there are only 137 registered venues left across the state, less than half of the number that were registered in 2013.

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As part of the music revival, the Government will seek to ensure the survival of these venues as the recently established Sound NSW begins its work with the live music industry.

Launching during Australian Music Month, participants will be asked to assess the strengths of the industry as well as the factors that might be holding the industry back, such as noise restrictions, venue closures, COVID-19 and cost of living pressures.

The survey forms part of a wider research project that will combine economic analysis, venue mapping data and audience research to inform the NSW Government’s first ever strategic policy for contemporary music and create a vision for a vibrant arts and cultural scene in NSW.

The survey is completely anonymous, with no personal information collected.

The data will lead the decision-making process to revolutionise the live music industry in the state and spearhead new policy that centres on supporting and invigorating NSW’s music scene.

Regional musicians are being encouraged to submit their experiences to provide insights about managers, promoters, venue operators, roadies, audio engineers, lighting and technical teams, and ticket and merchandise retailers.

Minister for Music John Graham said the State Government was committed to rebuilding the foundations of live music around NSW and believed the survey would help in doing so.

“The last decade of lockouts and lockdowns has led to a grassroots music venue crisis in this state,” he said.

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“We know the live music sector is facing many challenges, and this research will help identify from firsthand experience of musicians and industry participants themselves what those challenges are.

“From artists and music workers to record labels, promoters, and managers, if you work in music, we want to hear from you. This consultative research will help us tune in to the policy priorities that will restore live music in NSW.”

Mr Graham encouraged all music industry professionals to share their ideas and insights to help the NSW Government put together an evidence-based strategy for the future.

People looking to take part in the survey have until 15 January 2024 to enter their submissions and can do so by clicking here.

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