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Australian live biz posts modest growth in 2016

LPA's 2016 Ticket Attendance and Revenue Survey reveals the live entertainment business returned to growth last year, although music revenues continue to decline

By Jon Chapple on 05 Oct 2017


Deadmau5 (with Australian flag ears) performs at Stereosonic in 2009

image © Stereosonic

The Australian live entertainment business returned to growth in 2016, posting a 1.2% increase in revenue an 0.8% increase in attendance, reveals new data from trade association Live Performance Australia.

Revenues from live performance – which, in addition to popular music concerts and festivals, includes ballet and dance, children’s/family shows, classical music, performing arts, theatre, opera, comedy, circus and physical theatre – grew to A$1.43 billion (US$1.12bn), with 18.78 million tickets sold.

However, the modest growth shown in 2016 failed to put much of a dent in the 6.7% contraction seen by the industry in 2015, with LPA chief executive Evelyn Richardson saying once again that the figures highlight the important of a “more strategic approach” to the live industry from the government.

Australian live industry contracts in 2015

“These figures underscore the economic and cultural value of the live performance industry for millions of Australians,” she comments. “The need for increased investment in the performing arts has never been greater.

“The survey results also support recent customer spending data that shows more Australians are spending their hard earned cash on ‘meaningful experiences’ such as concert tickets and the theatre. Our research reaffirms the important contribution that live performance makes to the national culture and the creative economy.

“We have access to a wide array of high-quality local and international performances, which the report shows Australians truly value and enjoy. However, if Australia is going to continue to compete globally, to satisfy both Australian audiences and attract international tourists, we need to ensure we invest more, not less, in creating local product that is world class.

“Instead, the last few years have seen funding cuts, our small-to-medium sector massively impacted and very little indication that government is prepared to deliver on its vision for innovation and jobs growth in our sector.

“We strongly believe that the government needs to step up and support greater investment in our industry which creates jobs, employs more than 34,000 people, generates significant economic activity and enriches the cultural lives of millions of Australians.”

“We strongly believe that the government needs to step up and support greater investment in our industry”

By sector, contemporary music continues to be the largest contributor, commanding 30.8% of revenue and 30.1% of attendance. It declined 7.9% last year, although LPA notes this is “much less than in 2015”, when revenues fell 21%.

Much of this can be attributed to falling ticket prices, which have declined 22.8% from a peak average price of $110.50 in 2013.

Concert music attendances, meanwhile, increased 1%, with 5.7m people attending non-festival events.

The festivals category reported a significant 25.2% decline in revenue, while attendances fell by 48.2% – down from a peak of $129.2m in 2014, with the sector still feeling the effects of the declines of major music events such as Future Music Festival and Stereosonic.

Interesting, in the festival sector – contrary to the revenue and attendance declines – the average ticket price actually increased, by 6.7% to $85.35.

Read the full Ticket Attendance and Revenue Survey 2016 report at the LPA website.


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