News December 4, 2019

Contemporary live music generated $1.09 billion in 2018 [report]

Former Assistant Editor
Contemporary live music generated $1.09 billion in 2018 [report]
Tasmania experienced a 67% increase in attendance / MONA FOMA Facebook

Australia’s live performance industry continues to grow in revenue and attendance, but a decrease in growth year-on-year is cause for concern.

The latest ticketing report issued by peak body Live Performance Australia (LPA) for the 2018 calendar year found that total revenue growth was 14.8% (except the Northern Territory), down steeply from 32% growth the year prior.

It was a similar story when it came to attendances, up 14.1% year-on-year. The same metric had grown 23% the year before.

LPA chief executive Evelyn Richardson said while growth was steady, the slow-down points to a need for a change in policy at government level.

“These are solid results, but the rate of growth year on year is slowing compared to previous years, underscoring the need for a positive policy framework from the federal, state and territory governments which support live performance,” she said.

Total revenue generated from 26 million attendees in 2018 was almost $2.2 billion in total.

Contemporary music was the highest growth category, accounting for $1.09 billion of total live performance revenue (a 32% increase year-on-year).

SA had the biggest growth in revenue and attendance thanks to events like Womadelaide / Facebook

In the Festivals (Contemporary Music) metrics, the report found that ticket sales revenue increased 1.3% while attendance was up by 14.4%. The average ticket price increased by 3.9% to $131.58, while Queensland and South Australia had the biggest growth in revenue and attendance.

Richardson warned that slower growth in NSW was linked with new festival regulations.

“In particular, we’ve recently seen a period of uncertainty in NSW – our largest market for live performance – due to the State Government’s approach to music festival regulations and a lack of strategy around theatre venues for Sydney,” said Richardson.

“NSW is our largest live performance market in Australia, and we need it to perform well for the health of the industry overall.

“While total revenue increased in NSW by 22% and attendances were up by 19%, for 2018, Queensland recorded a 20% increase in both revenues and attendance for the same period.”

Kurt Peterson Photography

Bluesfest helped keep NSW the largest live performance market / Kurt Peterson Photography

The report also broke down some state-by-state statistics:

  • NSW had the highest share of industry for ticket revenue (34.9%) and attendance (31.3%), with growth driven mostly by Special Events, Festivals and Theatre
  • Victorians spent the most on tickets, above the national average for ticket price, as well as being the second largest contributor for revenue (32.3%) and attendance (30.5%).
  • Tasmania experienced the highest year-on-year attendance growth (67%), a result attributed to its world-class multi-arts festivals like Mona Foma.

The full report can be viewed here.

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