Music Cities Convention

Music Cities Convention Melbourne: April 18-20 2018

Music Cities Convention Melbourne: April 18-20 2018

Our first ever southern hemisphere Music Cities Event was held on April 18-20 2018, with Music Cities Convention travelling to Melbourne, Australia for its 6th and biggest ever edition!

Both convention venues: Arts Centre Melbourne & Deakin Edge

Both convention venues: Arts Centre Melbourne & Deakin Edge

Melbourne, home to more live music venues per capita in the world, was the perfect location for our 325 international delegates and 40+ global speakers. The event theme was 'It takes a village to make a music city', and talks varied from ‘how we can make noisy cities work for everyone’ to ‘what music can learn from sport’ to ‘the impact of cultural policy on music cities policies’.

Our first panel on the impact of cultural policy on music cities policies.

Our first panel on the impact of cultural policy on music cities policies.

The event started with a dinner for our international speakers and with amazing views of Melbourne at the Sofitel hotel. The next day saw the international speakers network with the victorian delegates at the Victoria Live Music Roundtable held at the incredible Bakehouse Studios, and the first main convention day then took place on Thursday 19th April at the Arts Centre Melbourne, with the second day moving to Deakin Edge.

Our panel on the visitor economy at Arts Centre Melbourne

Our panel on the visitor economy at Arts Centre Melbourne

Our official party was held in combination with Melbourne Museum, and a very special Music Cities Convention themed Nocturnal event. The event saw attendees head to the museum at night for live music, food, special giveaways and the chance to roam the museum at night hearing from the museums experts on specially selected musical artefacts.

Nocturnal party at the Melbourne Museum

Nocturnal party at the Melbourne Museum

We launched a number of new aspects at this edition, including the new ‘My Music Cities’ series of talks, which sees a speaker from each continent attend to talk about what’s happening in their city, and through these talks we welcomed speakers from Zimbabwe, Colombia, Netherlands, Australia, China and the USA. Another first for the convention was a panel entirely focused on Asian Music Policy, including speakers from Singapore, India, and Indonesia.

The panel on Asian Music Policy at Deakin Edge

The panel on Asian Music Policy at Deakin Edge

The event was a sell-out, and we welcomed more than 325 delegates from all over the world, including 15 countries, 60 cities and 6 six continents.

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We of course couldn’t have organised the event without our partners, including Creative Victoria and Music Victoria who hosted the event with us, as well as RRR our media partner, The Appointment Group our official travel partner and our supporting partners the City of Melbourne, Green Music Australia, Arts Centre Melbourne and Festyvent.

"The convention is just great. I've had the chance to meet so many people from all over the world...and we've had so many conversations. That's my favourite part." Kok Tse Wei, Deputy Director Music, Singapore National Arts Council

"The Music Cities Convention is a great event. Not only can you share what you're doing in your city, but you can also learn about best practices, share problems and establish a network of corporation with others." Maria Claudia Lopez Sorzano, Secretary of Culture, Leisure and Sport, City of Bogota, Colombi

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Our next Music Cities Convention will be held in Lafayette, Louisiana, USA on October 11-12, with first speakers and the first draft schedule being launch in the first week of June

But for now, you can check out what our Melbourne event was like with our official video.



On April 19-20 2018, global leaders across music, city planning, cultural and community industries and education will come together in Melbourne for the sixth and first southern hemisphere edition of Music Cities Convention.

Music Cities Convention Melbourne is organised alongside the Victorian Government and Music Victoria and the event’s official travel partner is The Appointment Group. The event will be an ideas hub of best practices on the use of music – and all its variants – to improve city life, and the convention will explore the role and impact of music across education, employment, community building, placemaking, licensing and regulation.


Through collaborative panels, keynotes and networking sessions, Music Cities Convention presents the future of music in our cities across the world, focusing on improving urban planning, quality of life, city policy and development strategies through music.

Home to more live music venues per capita, Melbourne will become a knowledge-sharing hub featuring 40 speakers with 300 attendees from Australia and beyond expected to attend the two full days of ideas and discussions.

Convention theme, ‘It takes a village to make a music city: Music Policy from top to bottom’, will include presentations and panels on:

  • Music Policy in Asia

  • My Music Cities – focus on Zimbabwe, North America, South America and Australasia

  • How We Make Noisy Cities Work for Everyone – Australia

  • Chengdu: China’s Music City

  • The Visitor Economy: Music, Tourism and its Impact on Local Musicians and Living Culture

  • SLAM (Save Live Australian Music): The History

  • The New Night Mayors: Lessons from Orlando

  • Let’s Leave Music Cities: The Role of Landowners

  • What Music Can Learn from Sport in the Cities

There will be over forty speakers from all over the world attending, including the USA, Zimbabwe, China, Colombia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Canada, Armenia and the Netherlands.


We’re incredibly excited for this 6th edition of Music Cities Convention and hope to see some of you there!





(Or town, province, village or neighbourhood)

We're proud to launch this 'Guide to Becoming a Music City' poster and foldout, which is the best outline of what every city, town or place should do to develop your music ecosystem and sector. 

This poster synergises our thinking on what a music city policy is; and to us, it's everything. It encompasses jobs, skills, transport, tourism, branding and more.

So have a read, and please share. If you're interested in finding out how we can help you develop your music policy and inventory, get in touch

Let's make all our cities, towns and places better. We can do that with music.

Your Guide to Becoming a Music City © Sound Diplomacy. Design & illustration by  Alice Clarke .

Your Guide to Becoming a Music City © Sound Diplomacy. Design & illustration by Alice Clarke.

Music Cities Convention: Memphis

In October, we held the fifth edition of our Music Cities Convention alongside Music Export Memphis and Memphis Music Initiative in the birthplace of rock 'n' roll and the home of the Blues - Memphis, Tennessee.

The event was a sell-out. 215 attendees travelled to Memphis from 5 continents, 10 countries and over 50 cities. We had an incredibly busy three days with 37 speakers bringing their music city expertise to six presentations, five panels, roundtable sessions and two event receptions!

The convention kicked-off with an opening reception at the Stax Museum of American Soul Music and Memphis Slim Collaboratory, allowing the delegates to absorb some of the music history that Memphis has to offer. The Recording Academy: Memphis Chapter partnered with the event to provide entertainment from the world-renowned Stax Recording Academy graduates, as well as superb local food and drinks.

MCC - Memphis

After this crash course into Memphis’ musical history, the following day saw the full 225 delegates descend on the Halloran Centre for a day of presentations and panels, with discussions and talks ranging from ‘Every City Needs a Music Strategy: Artists as Leaders’ to ‘Chengdu Music City’ to ‘Understanding Audiences: The Role of the Consumer in our Music Ecosystems’. Coffee was provided by the excellent local roaster Edge Alley Coffee and food by local favourites, Sweet Potato Baby.

MCC - Memphis Panel

After the day’s talks, we had a special surprise for the delegates and one of the highlights of the event! Local musicians the Memph Orleans Street Symphony were ready and waiting to lead the group down the road to our main event reception at the Blues Hall of Fame Museum - you can check out footage of this in our event video at the bottom of this article! For the reception we partnered up with upcoming Music Cities Convention hosts State of Victoria: City of Melbourne and Lafayette Convention & Visitors Commission to provide our delegates with amazing drinks, food and conversation, which was a fitting end to a great day.

MCC - Procession

The final day of the convention included a half-day of roundtable sessions for a limited capacity of 80 delegates. Topics that were discussed included ‘Music Ecosystems of the Future: What Has to be Improved to Develop a Forward-Thinking Music Policy City?’, ‘Access to Music for Everyone’ and ‘Designing Music-Friendly Noise Regulations and Policies’ which was presented in partnership with expert Don Pitts the CEO of Sound Music Cities.

MCC - Roundtables

The team at Sound Diplomacy then ended the three days with a special VIP speaker trip to the former home of Elvis, Graceland. We had an amazing time, but some of the delegation had an even better time...

MCC - Jackets

We’ve now launched our two 2018 Music Cities Convention events, so head to our website for more information and updates. Check out the Music Cities Memphis video here