News April 6, 2016

Music Australia: Music contributes $4 to $6bn to Aus economy

Former Editor

Image: Bluesfest Byron Bay

Peak industry body Music Australia has published some statistics to highlight music’s multi-billion dollar contribution to Australia’s economy and culture.

According to the body’s Statistical Snapshot report – created in partnership with AIR, ARIA, APRA AMCOS and other peak music bodies – the local music sector contributes $4 to $6 billion to the Australian economy. 

Australia’s copyright industries generate more value add to the Australian economy than manufacturing and health care. Recorded music is one of the biggest contributors, seeing copyright decline from 4.1% to 1.8% of exports in 10 years. Australian songwriters even broke 2014/15 royalty records with a 25% increase in international performance incomes.

While the digitisation of music in the last 15 years affected global revenues, dropping from $26b to $15b in 2014 and seeing Australia fall from the 3rd to 6th largest world music market for revenues, our live sector is still relatively strong. A 2014 study by Roy Morgan Research found more Australians attend live music than sport, with over 40 million people attending contemporary music performances annually.

Australia’s reliance on live music as the main source of artist income has increased because of digitisation. 99% of Australians listen to music and attend a music event in any one year and Australia’s live contemporary music industry generates revenues of $1.5‐$2 billion annually.

However, the regulatory pressures facing venues of late are worrying. A 2014 arts participation study showed a 2% drop in live music attendance over four years and according to Live Music Office, the Sydney lockout laws have caused a 40% drop in live music revenue at venues within the Sydney lockout zones. 

Music Australia has come out in support of research commissioned by APRA AMCOS, along with Australia Council, PPCA, Australia Hotels Association and the Restaurant & Catering association in February. The research found tax incentives for Australian music could generate 250,000 additional public performances each year. The incentives would also result in over 30 million additional live music attendances, and increased investment in sound recordings by new and current artists.

Music Australia also flagged 2014 study The Economic and Cultural Value of Live Music in Australia, which reported that for every dollar Australians spend on live music, three dollars is circulated back into the economy.

The Snapshot also noted that expenditure associated with live music in Australia is estimated to generate some 65,000 jobs, half of which are full-time. While Australian music and performing arts businesses comprise almost 1% of all Australian small businesses, our creative industries are growing 40% faster than the economy as a whole.

The Statistical Snapshot precedes the release of Music Australia’s National Contemporary Music Plan, a blueprint for national growth of local contemporary music. The Plan was announced at last August’s inaugural Contemporary Music Roundtable, where industry leaders from across all sectors gathered to discuss contemporary music policy and industry development. 

The second Roundtable takes place at Sydney’s Customs House on August 3 and 4, where discussion will drive the implementation of the Plan. Music Australia is the secretariat for the Plan and has appointed an expert Organising Group to oversee it.

Related articles