The ongoing success of Melbourne’s live music venues in terms of ticket sales and attendance has seen the city regularly hailed as the ‘Rock N Roll Capital’ of Australia, but the results of a new survey of Australia’s live performance industry may have put that title in contention.

That’s at least one take that can be gleaned from the latest results of Live Performance Australia (LPA)’s annual Ticket Attendance and Revenue Survey.

The LPA’s report, the industry body’s tenth, demonstrates that despite experiencing a tough few years, Australia’s live performance sector – which covers theatre, opera, classical, comedy, children’s entertainment and more – posted a record high of $1.47 billion in revenue in 2013, with live music making up nearly half of that number, as The Music Network reports.

Interestingly, the full LPA breakdown also includes how each Australian state and territory helped contribute to the live performance sector in 2013, and depending on how you look at the data, Melbourne may no longer be the crowning live music capital.

New South Wales enjoyed the largest share of revenue across the board, with its population buying up tickets and attending all types of live performance to account for  a 33.6% share of revenue ($497.46 million) and 32.7% of attendance (5.87 million tickets) of total revenue. The raw data suggesting that Sydney should be crowned the new live capital given its overall success.

But despite Victoria falling behind NSW in its contribution, with a 32% share of overall revenue ($473.52 million) and a 31.3% share of attendance (5.61 million tickets), the state had the biggest growth in revenue (up 37.%) in Australia, with Contemporary Music and Music Theatre being the biggest contributors.

That means that per capita, Victoria is the most successful music state with its population having the highest spend (an average $81.77 per person) of anywhere else in the country, largely thanks to the continued success of Melbourne’s live music venues.

[include_post id=”411625″]

The full LPA Ticket and Attendance survey shows that the Contemporary Music sector generated $628.1 million nationally, accounting for 42.5% of the $1.47 billion generated by live performance revenue in 2013 – making for a 30.3% rise from 2012’s $482.1 million gross (itself a sharp drop from 2011’s LPA survey results) and accounts for an overall rise of 22% rise from 2012’s numbers.

A record 17,926,626 tickets were sold by the entertainment industry for events (including but not limited to live music) throughout 2013, a growth of 10.2% from 2012’s 16.27 million tickets.

The live music boon is in part thanks to the success of major tours from the likes of the aforementioned Bon Jovi, One Direction, and The Boss, as well as top-selling visits from international pop stars like Beyoncé, Justin Bieber, Ricky Martin, Rihanna, Taylor Swift, and Pink’s enormous 47-date, million-dollar spinning Truth About Love tour.

There’s also successful domestic tours to thank for the burgeoning revenue and ticket sales, including the likes of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Bernard Fanning, Guy Sebastian, and Paul Kelly’s co-headline trek with Neil Finn.

[include_post id=”409207″]

Music Festivals also played their part in the increased Contemporary Music figures, though that may be less to do with increased attendance and ticket sales and more due to the fact that the LPA’s latest survey data was ‘widened’. The 2013 report included additional attendance reports from the iconic Bluesfest’s booming 2013 edition, as well as its sister Indigenous festival, Boomerang (returning in 2015), alongside recurring events like Splendour In The Grass, Future Music Festival, Big Day Out, Summerdayze, and more.

LPA Chief Executive Evelyn Richardson also credits “consumer confidence” for the rise in ticket sales and attendance. “That’s certainly reflected in the revenue numbers. We saw some flattening in the market in recent years, which was consistent in the sector’s retail,” she tells The Music Network. 

Richardson also commented on how the festival market remained a “tough industry” despite its numbers; “The cost of touring is high, getting shows around Australia because of our geography is still a challenge and there is rationalisation of festival space because there are so many festivals and it is a competitive market.”

View the full, interactive LPA Ticket Attendance and Revenue Survey 2013 here.

(Photo: Dave Kan. Source: Splendour In The Grass Tone Deaf Photo Gallery)

Get unlimited access to the coverage that shapes our culture.
to Rolling Stone magazine
to Rolling Stone magazine