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NSW plans live music audit to tackle venue crisis

The government is bidding to revive the Australian state's concert scene after losing half its venues over the past decade

By James Hanley on 08 Nov 2023

The NSW government is launching its first “live music audit” to help revive the region’s concert scene after it was revealed the Australian state has lost half its music venues over the past decade.

Aiming to ensure the survival of the remaining 137 venues, it is conducting a survey of music industry professionals in a bid to build a picture of the challenges faced and identify possible solutions.

Launched during Australian music month, the anonymous survey forms part of a wider research project that will combine economic analysis, venue mapping data and audience research to inform the government’s first ever strategic policy for contemporary music.

“The NSW government is committed to reviving live music across NSW,” says minister for music John Graham. “The last decade of lockouts and lockdowns has led to a grassroots music venue crisis in this state. 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.”

“Sound NSW will develop and deliver the state’s first-ever 10-year contemporary music strategy”

The move follows the recent launch of Sound NSW, a dedicated government office committed to the growth, development and promotion of contemporary music.

“Sound NSW’s mission is to see a new era when NSW’s musicians, live music venues and festivals can thrive, creating greater job opportunities, injecting vibrancy to our state, and exporting NSW-grown music across Australia and to the world,” says Sound NSW acting head Emily Collins. “The data and insights from the Live Music Survey will help us better understand and support venues.”

She adds: “Following the launch of the NSW Arts, Culture and Creative Industries policy later this year, Sound NSW will develop and deliver the state’s first-ever 10-year contemporary music strategy. This is about bringing a cohesive and coherent government approach to growing the sector.”

Collection society APRA AMCOS recently warned that Australia’s live music’s scene had reached “crisis point”, with more than 1,300 venues having closed permanently nationwide since the start of the pandemic.


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