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News February 21, 2024

Despite the Cost-of-Living Crisis and COVID-lag, Young Victorians Love Live Music (REPORT)

Senior Journalist, B2B
Despite the Cost-of-Living Crisis and COVID-lag, Young Victorians Love Live Music (REPORT)

Times are tough, the cost-of-living crisis is real, inflation sucks. On the flip side, young Victorians still love live music.

New research commissioned by Music Victoria, and published today (Feb. 21), finds that four in five young Victorians plan to attend at least one live music event each year.

That’s not just a pipe dream.

Of the 500 young Victorians (under-35) surveyed for Perceptions of Live Music report, 82% had bought a ticket for a music concert in the past year, 70% purchased a ticket for a music festival, and 65% forked out for merch.

Some 78% said their first live music experience shapes their overall passion for music.

The main takeaway from the report — that young people love music — should come as a “huge relief,” says Simone Schinkel, CEO of Music Victoria, “because when we were not seeing them in the crowd we got very nervous.”

The challenges? The cost-of-living crisis and some COVID hangover are “harder to fix,” Schinkel tells The Music Network.

The data also identifies weak spots.

Live music attendance drops away for under-18s, and a range of obstacles are said to rain on punters’ parades, including lack of motivation (22%), limited public transport options (21%), and value for money (19%).

Among the youngest demographic (16-18 year olds), 13% don’t think about going to see live music – a figure higher than rest of those surveyed (8%). “Which means we need to think about the whole discoverability idea,” says Schinkel, “and get them started on the journey, right back at the beginning and as early as possible.”

Music Victoria Awards

In that demographic, just 40% are likely to attend a music festival at least once each year. That’s roughly 10 percentage points lower than expected, with 52% historically attending a festival by the time they were 18, according to the report.

“We have an opportunity to motivate young people to actively engage with live music experiences at an early age. It will enhance their passive music awareness across digital platforms like YouTube, Spotify or TikTok,” notes Schinkel, in a statement accompanying the report.

Disposable cash is a big issue, with 73% of respondents “trying to reduce spending to only essentials at the moment.”

Though most of the time, having serious fun is more important than savings in the bank. More than half of the participants (58%) continue to purchase tickets, in spite of the squeeze.

Melbourne and the state of Victoria has hogged the headlines of late, with Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour filling out the MCG on multiple nights and, on Sunday, the Victorian Government announcing a $2 million investment in the high school songwriting program, SongMakers.

Also, the Victorian capital will next month host the first international Global Citizen NOW event, capped with a special performance by Crowded House.

SongMakers was an election commitment “and we look forward to the roll out of the rest of the Victorian Government’s commitments for live music including — but not limited too — festivals funding, delivering 10,000 gigs and ensuring 25% of those happen in regional Victoria,” comments Schinkel on the funding pledge.

However, she continues, “we also call on the Victorian Government to urgently provide access to the Victorian Managed Insurance Authority (VMIA) for our beloved live music venues – many of whom are already on the brink due to market failure (for Public Liability insurance).”

Spanning 20 pages, the Music Victoria report was generated through research conducted in Victoria between July 27 and Aug. 7 2023, with Chris Carey of FastForward Consulting lending support. 

The document can be downloaded in full here.

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