Whose Back Yard Is It Anyway?

In a possible world-first, the Australian state of Victoria – home of live music capital Melbourne – is set to introduce the Agent of Change to protect live music venues. Under the new rule, which applies to the entire state, residents who move into neighborhoods where a venue already exists cannot complain about noise.

It also puts the onus on builders of new residential apartments to effectively soundproof. Clashes between venues and residents are a major issue as inner-city suburbs become increasingly gentrified.

Live music advocates began calling for Agent of Change 10 years ago but with little success.

Lobbying intensified in the past 12 months by peak music association Music Victoria and advocacy groups Save Live Australia’s Music (SLAM) and Fair Go 4 Live Music.

In 2010, an estimated 22,000 music lovers rallied outside Parliament demanding action.

The law is expected to be passed mid-August.

The move comes as no fewer than five Melbourne clubs face complaint issues.

Tago Mago holds a benefit concert Aug. 2 to raise money to soundproof and fend off landlord demands to break its eight-year lease. Pure Pop, a record store that showcases acts in its courtyard, must leave its premises Aug. 17.

The Cherry Bar in ACDC Lane launched a crowd-sourcing campaign July 24 to cover A$90,000 ($84,730) in soundproofing before a 12-story, 189-apartment residential tower opens next door.

The campaign, to run for 42 days, closed after 24 hours when A$50,000 ($46,970) was pledged.

“It shows how protecting live music venues is a priority for music fans,” co-owner James Young told Pollstar.