Sydney’s live-music scene is not yet in crisis, but it’s not as healthy as it has been in the past. Multiple venues (FBi social, GOODGOD SmallClub, The Landsdowne) have closed as a partial or direct result of the lockout laws that were introduced in 2014.

In an attempt to boost the scene, a pilot program, AMPLIFY, has been announced. It was conceived by Live Music Office, and jointly funded by City of Sydney, Marrickville and Leichhardt councils. The service provides consultation between business owners and music-industry professionals, ensuring that live-music programs are tailored to each venue.

Clayton Ries is an expert in the Sydney music-booking scene. He’s worked with venues such as The Metro, The Gaelic, Newtown Hotel, Selina’s and The Landsdowne. Ries was headhunted by Live Music Office to liaise between small venues and the music industry.

“People think that putting live music on is going to be a crowd puller,” he says. “But it has to be part of the strategy to start off with – it needs to fit in with your overall business,” Ries says.

“That’s what the pilot program is all about; being able to reach out to businesses and give them guidance on how to do it properly.”

The initiative begins this year, with eight venues taking part in the 12-week consultation program. The program assesses each venue’s specific potential for hosting live music, and ultimately seeks maximise their return.

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“Businesses reach out to me,” Ries explains. “I have to decide which venues will actually be the best fit [for hosting live music]. From there, I sit down with them and go through the business strategy. I get a grip on who they are and where they want to go. Then we look at an entertainment program around that.”

It’s not solely pubs and bars that can contact the AMPLIFY pilot program. There’s also places for retail and community spaces that want to get involved in live music. Overall, it’s great news for Sydney’s music scene.

Interested businesses or organisations should contact Clayton Ries, through Live Music Office.