News December 16, 2020

Australian live sector headed for boom year before coronavirus hit

Australian live sector headed for boom year before coronavirus hit
Queen's Brian May at Fire Fight Australia (Photo: Jared Liebowitz)

In a healthy year, the Australian contemporary live music sector generates $1.5 billion to $2 billion a year and contributes $4 billion to $6 billion to the national economy, according to Music Australia.

2020 started off with a dip as festivals and venue shows were affected by bushfires, either directly by the fires or the surrounding air pollution.

But all indications were it was going to be a buoyant year, with negotiations with major acts in full swing.

’s end-of-year report, normally factoring in 12 months of trade, this year only took in the period from January to mid-March when the global industry pulled tour trucks off the road.

In that timeframe, Australian promoters and venues performed extremely well. Eight made the Top 100 promoters, with four in the Top 15.

In a new record, there were 18 Australian entries in the stadiums/ amphitheatres categories, with seven in the Top 15.

Nevertheless, revenues were obviously well down.

Among promoters, Frontier Touring continued to be one of the world’s biggest, ranking #6 with sales of 1.1 million tickets, which made US$123.3 million for the company.

Also performing well was , with TEG Dainty, TEG Live and its English company MJR Presents in 9th spot, with 695,062 tickets and revenues of US$73 million.

At #11 was with 598,264 tickets and US$75.3 million gross.

Breakaway figures for Australia were not available as they are incorporated into Live Nation Global Touring, which was at #17 with a US$70 million generation from 423,124 ticket stubs.

At #37 was Roundhouse Entertainment, which puts together the A Day On The Green winery shows, which had 194,655 paying customers who paid a total of US$18.7 million.

Illusive Presents, also part of the Mushroom Group, ranked at #50 with 115,681 tickets and a US$7.9 million gross.

In the Top 50 Stadiums/ Amphitheatres list, at #2 was ANZ Stadium in Sydney (134,984, US$10.8 million), and at #3 was Burswood Stadium, Perth (91,034, US$9.1 million). #4 was AAMI Park Stadium in Melbourne (89,197, US$11.9 million), and at #5 was Sydney Cricket Ground (85, 654, US$9.5 million).

In the Top 20 were Sirromet Winery, Mt Cotton in 12th (55,068, US$4.6 million), hbf Park, Perth in 13th (44,079, US$6 million), Mt Duneed Estate, Geelong in 14th (43,375, US$4 million), Adelaide Oval in 16th (42,484, US$4.4 million), Rochford Eyton Winery, Yarra Valley in 17th (42,122, US$4.3 million), Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane in 18th (40,337, US$4.8 million), Hanging Rock outside Melbourne in 19th (40,327, US$4.5 million), and at #20 Metricon Stadium, Carara (39,607, US$4.5 million).

There were five entries in the Top 100 arenas.

These were Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne at #33 (167,599, US$17 million), Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney at #43 (136,265, US$14.9 million), Brisbane Entertainment Centre at #63 (78,061, US$8.9 million), Hordern Pavilion, Sydney at #87 (52,621, US$3.4 million), and RAC Arena, Perth at #94 (46,031, US$4.6 million).

The Top 100 theatre venues were at #39 Hamer Hall, Melbourne,;at #73, Plenary, Melbourne; at #81 ICC Theatre, Sydney; and #85 First State Super Theatre, Sydney, which in mid-2020 was rebranded Aware Super Theatre.

The three Australian entries in the Top 100 club venues were all from Melbourne.

These were Corner Hotel at #52, The Forum at #64, and Northcote Social Club at #98.

Globally, Pollstar figures showed that Q1, 2020 had a healthy jump in revenue of 10.9% and ticket sales of 4.6% compared to Q1, 2019.

Diving deeper into its data bucket, Pollstar forecast the industry could have hit its first US$12 billion year in box office earnings.

Instead due to the mass cancellations or postponements around the world, the Top 100 tours only clicked up US $1.2 billion, “a 78% plummet in worldwide grosses compared to 2019’s $5.5 billion.

“The overall ticket count of 13.4 million meant a similar plunge of about 77%, because 2019’s Top 100 tours moved 57.7 million tickets.”

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