The most successful Music Cities benefit from cooperative efforts by all levels of government, with engaged and supportive political representatives. The best example of this is in Australia, where coordinated action at the federal, state and local levels supports and grows the music industry.
The State of New South Wales, for example, eliminated the special licence needed by venues to host live music in 2009. This significantly reduced red tape, which laid the foundation for the development of four local council music action plans including the most recent which was endorsed by Wollongong City Council. The National Live Music Office, established in 2013, supports the development of local government policies pertaining to live music, live venues and audience development at the local level as well as advocating for additional improvements at the state level. Political support is particularly important.
Music-friendly and musician-friendly policies.
Government policies have a direct impact on the ability of music businesses such as live performance venues, recording studios and rehearsal spaces to operate sustainably. Business licensing, liquor licensing, transportation planning and parking, as well as land-use planning all have an impact on the health of the music economy. Compliance requirements should be appropriate without becoming a barrier to doing business.
Many communities face challenging decisions regarding land-use planning as a result of gentrification and urban growth. In some cities, historically significant music properties are threatened or have already been lost. Solutions to these challenges include heritage designations, cultural zones and policies based on the “agent of change” principle. Similarly, musicians, singers, songwriters and producers can be helped or hindered by the government policy environment. Successful Music Cities create a supportive environment for artists so that they can focus on doing what they do best: making music.
Support can be in the form of training and education programs, mentoring, access to hubs or incubators and affordable housing.