SLAM: The music city and cultural activism

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As recording and related publishing revenues have declined, live performance has assumed increasing importance within the popular music industries. Global competition for the status of` live music capital has increased as cities recognise the various cultural and economic benefits, including tourism and heritage opportunities. In 2010, licensing changes to many music venues in Melbourne, Victoria, threatened the city s self-proclaimed status as Australia s music city , with collateral damage to its wider claim as the nation s cultural capital . This article examines the subsequent protest by the city s musicians against government labelling of music venues as high risk sites of alcohol-fuelled violence. The SLAM (Save Live Australian Music) rally to State parliament on 23 February, 2010 provoked wider industrial and legislative change. Beyond its affirmation of the cultural and social importance of the local music venue, the protest is interesting in successfully challenging dominant law and order discourses relating to local music subcultures. The article also examines the ways in which the SLAM event provoked more informed engagement by the state in popular music.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1 - 12
Number of pages12
JournalLaw, Social Justice and Global Development
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • live music
  • popular music
  • cultural policy
  • politics of music
  • cities
  • rights

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