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Aussie live industry reports strong resurgence

The market posted its second highest attendance and revenue on record in 2022, according to Live Performance Australia

By James Hanley on 15 Dec 2023

Australian flag beach ball, Big Day Out 2011, Sydney, Eva Rinaldi

Australia’s live industry rebounded from two years of Covid restrictions to post its second highest attendance and revenue on record in 2022, according to a new report.

Live Performance Australia’s 2022 Ticket Attendance and Revenue Report shows total revenue for the year was A$2 billion (€1.2bn), while ticketed attendance reached 24.2 million. The largest markets of Victoria and NSW accounted for 67.8% of live performance revenue and 62.4% of attendance.

Combined, concerts (average ticket price $87.01) and festivals ($169.53) made up close to half of total revenue ($940m) in the country’s live arts and entertainment industry, and almost 42% in total attendance. Contemporary music led market share for revenue (35.2%) and attendance (35.9%).

“Australians love live performance, and more people attended a contemporary music performance than the AFL, more saw a musical theatre show than the NRL [National Rugby League],” says LPA chief executive Evelyn Richardson.

“We saw many audiences come back to their favourite shows, venues and festivals in 2022 as Covid-19 restrictions were lifted and borders reopened, especially in Victoria and New South Wales. There was also a lot of pent-up demand in 2022 for shows, tours and festivals that had been delayed or rescheduled from the previous couple of years due to Covid-19 restrictions and border closures.”

“Despite the strong improvement in attendance and revenue in 2022, many parts of the industry are being impacted by ‘long Covid’”

More than 1.5 million people attended music festivals in 2022 – the highest ever recorded for this category – although 2022 revenue has not yet returned to pre-pandemic levels for contemporary music as major tours only resumed in the second half of 2022.

However, the report notes some categories showed declines in some states and territories, adding that the industry is grappling with “long Covid” impacts in 2023 and into 2024, with particular pressures for small to medium companies and the not-for-profit sector.

“Despite the strong improvement in attendance and revenue in 2022, many parts of the industry are being impacted by ‘long Covid’ and grappling with critical workforce shortages, soaring production and touring costs, and shifts in audience behaviour alongside deepening cost of living pressures,” continues Richardson. “We know these problems are particularly acute for some sectors of live performance, especially our small to medium and not for profit companies.”

Australia’s live music’s scene was recently said to have reached “crisis point” after it was revealed that more than 1,300 venues closed permanently since the start of the pandemic, prompting the NSW government to launch its first “live music audit” to help revive the region’s concert scene.

“It’s pleasing to see governments recognising the economic, social and cultural importance of live arts and entertainment through arts and cultural policy frameworks at the federal and state levels,” adds Richardson. “It will be absolutely critical moving forward that governments match their policy ambition with the level of strategic investment in our industry to achieve these goals over the longer term.”

 


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