The Brag Media
News October 25, 2018

Australian live music sector hits new attendance & revenue heights

Australian live music sector hits new attendance & revenue heights

The Australian live performance sector had a record-breaking year in 2017, according to Live Performance Australia’s 2017 Ticket Attendance and Revenue Report, released this morning.

“Over 23 million Australians attended live events with over $1.88 billion generated through ticket sales,” says its chief executive, Evelyn Richardson.

“This represents a 23% growth in attendance and 32% growth in revenue nationally between 2016 and 2017.”

Contemporary music continued to be the sector’s best performer, recording its highest levels of ticket sales and revenue (by 87.7% to $826 million) and attendance (8.5 million).

However, Richardson notes, “Circus and physical theatre and contemporary music festivals also recorded strong growth.”

The 12-month growth of the live sector in 2017 is a stark contrast to half year (January to July 2017) figures issued recently by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) in which revenue was up 6% to $195.6 million.

Such figures ask for more investigation: to what extent is the live sector carrying the recorded music side?

More important, how much is the live boom filtering through to the musicians themselves?

A report from the US in August indicated that only 12% of revenue is enjoyed by the artists.

The growth is obviously good news for the Australian live sector but with it comes the pressure – on ensuring the consumers’ goodwill and patronage continues by ensuring that scalpers don’t get to the tickets before the real fans.

The industry has long warned of a consumer crisis of confidence in the process of buying tickets for music events.

It also indicates that venue owners, promoters, and festival directors remain on their toes in regard to not becoming complacent about consumer loyalty.

Overseas data indicates that fans who purchase tickets for concerts spend four times more on CDs and downloads than others and these concertgoers spend 20 times more than the average person on music as a whole as physical and digital sales, paid subscription services, concerts and merchandise.

What’s important about LPA’s double-digit growth figures from today are that there was revenue and attendance growth in all Australian states and territories.

Says Richardson, “For the first time, Victoria takes the mantle of having the largest industry share for ticket sales revenue and attendance.

“Record revenue of $639 million (up 45%) and attendances of 7.4 million (up 35%) were driven by growth in major contemporary music concerts, musicals, circus and physical theatre and theatre.”

Looking into the LPA’s state/territory breakdown, there seems to be a direct correlation between sector growth and investment by individual state governments.

Victoria’s has lead the way with its $22.2 million package which, by close collaboration with the local music industry, has seen it generate activity right across the board from making demos to touring nationally and internationally, and initiatives to support music venues.

A similar effect has kicked in for Queensland, which experienced the largest revenue growth (up 46%) in Australia with $263.9 million in ticket revenue and the third highest growth in attendances at 3.2 million (up 26%).

“This significant growth was driven by major contemporary music concerts and major musicals,” Richardson points out.

WA revenue increased by 33.1% (to $196.7 million), while there was an 11.5% rise in attendance (to 2.6 million) between 2016 and 2017

The highest growth in attendance was seen in Tasmania (84.3%) followed by Victoria (35.6%) and Queensland (26.5%).


  • Victoria strongly outperformed NSW in the musical theatre category. It generated close to twice the musical theatre revenue of NSW in 2017 posting $206 million vs $117 million. More than 1.9 million people in Victoria attended a musical theatre show compared with 1.2 million in NSW.
  • Queensland also saw significant growth in revenue (up 34%) and attendance (up 32%) in musical theatre.
  • NSW was the second largest contributor in revenue (32.7%) and in attendance (29.9%). Combined, Victoria and NSW generated approximately 66.7% of Australia’s live performance revenue and 61.9% of attendance in 2017.
  • Between 2008 and 2017 the Australia-wide industry revenue has grown by 77% while attendance has grown by 28% since 2013.
  • Between 2016 and 2017, the average ticket price grew 8% to $90.59, not quite reaching the highest average ticket price of $92.16 recorded in 2013.
  • Contemporary music and musical theatre continue to command the largest market share. Combined they represent 66% of industry revenue and 54% of attendance.
  • Categories which experienced the largest growth in revenue and attendance between 2016 and 2017 were Contemporary music, circus/physical theatre and festivals (contemporary music). This growth was largely driven by international acts touring Australia including superstar drawcards as Adele, Guns N’ Roses and Paul McCartney.

The 2017 Ticket Attendance and Revenue Report can be accessed here.

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