Music Victoria Membership Drive

Patrick Donovan has led the kind of career that most music journalists would sell family members to emulate, and while it's not the reason we're talking, the fact he has interviewed the likes of David Bowie, Patti Smith, Bob Dylan and Nick Cave is never far from my mind. From 15 years as the chief music critic at The Age, to his role as chair of the Australian Music Industry Network and CEO of Music Victoria, Donovan understands the complexities of the music industry like few others.

“No two days are alike,” he says. “[At Music Victoria] we're currently writing a national business plan to present to government in the next month – what we believe the industry needs, what the issues and opportunities are. Copyright needs a bit of firming up. The regulatory situation is bad in other states, so we're advocating for a national standard around things we have in Victoria, with the lock-out laws and exemptions for live music because it's a solution for violence and not a cause. Sustainable careers and more opportunities for artists. There's lots to do, and we're coming together like we've never done before.”
For those unfamiliar with Music Victoria, it’s a not-for-profit, independent body whose charter quite simply is to champion Victorian music. The organisation fulfils a bundle of functions, from providing a forum for artists to network and develop, to advising on the nuts-and-bolts of a music career. To do so, it relies upon the financial support of Music Victoria members, which means the current Membership Drive is crucially important.
“[Music Victoria] is a community,” Donovan says. “We work very hard on getting more offers for bands to make it a no-brainer to pay their $66. They can come to all of our professional development workshops for free, get all of the merch and recording discounts. It's really important to get on our radar because we're always – two or three times a week – asked to recommend bands. We're doing a playlist for the AFL, we've done a playlist for Tourism Victoria. A lot of people also join us for the advocacy work that we do, we have a really good track record with that. Essentially, it's about being allowed a voice, and the bigger the numbers we have, the stronger the voice.”
As we know, Victoria is home to a staggering number of musicians, and standing out from the pack isn’t always easy. “Melbourne has 460 venues and growing, which is the main thing, unlike London and Sydney. There's around 18,000 bands registered with triple j Unearthed in Victoria, so it's growing and growing. Yes, it is hard, I'm in a band myself and I know it's hard to cut through sometimes. That's what Music Victoria offers. It's basically skilling up bands on how to maximise the opportunities in this new digital landscape, how to run their own business.”
One such opportunity is the I Love Live Music competition, which closes Friday April 1. Filmmakers and local musicians are asked to unite and produce a 60-second short film celebrating live music. Winners will bag not only cash prizes, but some hefty industry contacts. It's also rather serendipitous timing, given Donovan and co. are currently lobbying for the launch of a brand new televised music show.
“If you're a band and you have someone who knows how to shoot a video on their phone and you win? You've got ten grand worth of cash and prizes there. And those top videos are sent to managers all over Australia. You just have to be aware of what's going on, but many people aren't. If you're tapped into Music Victoria, we tell you exactly where these opportunities are.
“We're actually having conversations about a national live music show. Molly just rated six million views over three weeks, and Chanel V closed down the next week. I mean, the ABC has to get off its arse and put together a music show. It's in their charter, it's time that they seriously thought about it. And because the industry is so united at the moment, we're going to present a united front that we will deliver the acts that they need. It's time.”

MUSIC VICTORIA MEMBERSHIP DRIVE is on now. Head to musicvictoria.com.au to show your support for local music and become eligible for a range of industry services.