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Music Hub drives regional creative development


Steve Spinks
14 March 2012
Businesses can cluster together to achieve competitive advantage. Indeed, business clusters have often been responsible for driving innovation in a particular field, increasing productivity and stimulating the creation of new businesses.

Southern Cross University is using the logic behind business clusters in the creative industries as it launches a new website for the Southern Gold Coast Music Hub on Thursday March 15 at Never Land Bar, Coolangatta, from 6pm.

The Southern Gold Coast Music Hub was initially launched in 2010 and has doubled its membership since then. Members include performers, venues and festivals. The Music Hub aims to support regional creative development and increase opportunities for local emerging musicians, local studios and designers, and hospitality firms.

Southern Cross University PhD candidate Ben Farr-Wharton, who is researching the Music Hub, is the driving force behind the new easy to use website which shows how each member is connected using a series of evolving diagrams. He is inviting anyone interested in learning more about the Music Hub – including musicians, venue managers, supporting organisations and students – to come along to the website launch.

“There has never been much research into how creative clusters emerge – through the website we can map the development of a cluster in real-time,” he said.

“At the same time, this technology has connectivity functions which have positive spillovers to product innovation. It can be applied to other types of clusters, in other industry areas, all around the world.

“We originally started out with a small number of musicians and venues but that has grown now to include other artists, web developers and graphic designers.

“The theory is that it takes about 10 years for a cluster to become sustainable but cutting-edge network research suggests that this time can be reduced through increasing collaboration between cluster members. We are applyling and testing this network research through the Music Hub.

“Eventually, if the Music Hub is successful it would be a model that could be replicated into any region to develop a creative capacity there.”

Indeed, already there has been some preliminary work in setting up a Music Hub in Vanuatu and in Slovenia.

The Director of the Research Centre for Tourism, Leisure and Work at SCU, Professor Kerry Brown, believes the website will be a valuable tool for members of the Music Hub.

“The Music Hub’s interactive website delivers a practical tool for those involved in the music industry to build their networks. Better connected people and organisations do better and we know from our research that people need the right connections as well,” she said.

“The Centre for Tourism, Leisure and Work is committed to research with a practical use and the Music Hubs website connecting performers, businesses and community to develop a viable music industry on the Southern Gold Coast is a good example of this approach.”

Photo: Ben Farr-Wharton