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A new study has revealed cause for "cautious optimism" in the Australian live sector but concludes "full recovery will take time"
By James Hanley on 15 Nov 2022
Financial barriers are slowing the post-pandemic recovery of Australia’s live music market, according to a new report.
The Live Attendance Update, conducted in October 2022, gives insights into the changing habits of gig-goers, revealing that money worries has replaced Covid concerns as the main deterrent to attending concerts.
But the long tail of the pandemic still continues to impact attendance, with 44% of audiences reporting they are attending fewer performing events than prior to March 2020, while spending levels have not increased since early 2022.
“Price sensitivity may increase, as financial reasons have now overtaken the virus as the main barrier to attendance,” says the report by research agency Patternmakers. “Financial barriers are now affecting 40% of audiences, up from 24% in August 2022. It’s likely to be a bumpy ride, with factors like re-entry anxiety and lacking energy to go out also impacting decisions.”
“While most audiences are feeling confident and many are optimistic about increasing their attendance in future, new barriers are emerging related to economic factors and lifestyle changes”
On a more encouraging note, 71% of the 5,438 people surveyed said they are “ready to attend [shows] now” – up from 65% in August and 59% in March – the highest percentage since the start of the pandemic. In addition, the data indicates that the shift towards last-minute ticket buying is here to stay.
“Full recovery will take time,” says the study. “While most audiences are feeling confident and many are optimistic about increasing their attendance in future, new barriers are emerging related to economic factors and lifestyle changes.”
Patternmakers suggests that gradual increases in attendances are likely, with half of audiences (51%) saying they expect to attend more often in the next year.
“However, the situation is complex and some are perceiving a lack of appealing events available (32%) or are prioritising other things in their lives at the moment (24%),” it advises.
“Things are slowly improving, and audiences are much more likely to be increasing their attendances than decreasing them over the next year”
Concluding there is reason for “cautious optimism”, the report notes that “gradual improvements in confidence are evident”.
“There’s cause for cautious optimism, and half of audiences said they expect to attend more often in the next year – but another 43% said their behaviours will stay the same,” it says.
“Things are slowly improving, and audiences are much more likely to be increasing their attendances than decreasing them over the next year – though plenty will be maintaining their current levels.”
Covid-19 stripped Australia’s live entertainment industry of AUS$1.4 billion in revenue during 2020, according to Live Performance Australia’s Ticket Attendance and Revenue Report.
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