Australia’s live performance sector may be experiencing an overall decline, with the recent survey results from Live Performance Australia (LPA)’s showing a sharp drop in attendance numbers and ticket revenue, but in contrast, Victoria has experienced growth while the success of the state’s venues internationally shows that Melbourne can once again proudly stakes its claim as Australia’s rock capital.

The recent results of the annual mid-year report from US stats trackers Pollstar named Melbourne venues – such as Rod Laver Arena and The Corner Hotel – as amongst the best performing in the world.

Following October’s year-end results, Rod Laver Arena once again sold the most tickets of any Australian venue, ranking #21 on Pollstar‘s Top 100 with 243,184 tickets sold, beating Sydney’s Allphones Arena and Sydney Entertainment Centre’s own figures of 177,335 and 173,149 tickets respectively.

St Kilda’s The Palais also performed the strongest in the separate theatre category of the poll, coming in at #25 with 95,357 tickets sold, while the Arts Centre-curated Sidney Myer Music Bowl landed in the Top 10 of the Amphitheatres category, at #7 with 102,016 tickets. Last but certainly not least, Melbourne’s iconic Corner Hotel was the only Aussie appearance in the Club Venues listing, at #27 with 47,438 tickets sold.

The strong performance of Melbourne’s venues helped contribute to a growth in the state’s revenue. LPA’s annual Ticket Revenue and Attendance Survey revealed this week that while the live sector experienced an overall drop of 8%, turning over $1.2 billion in 2012 compared to the 2011 figure of $1.3 billion, Victoria experienced a growth of 3.5% to a total of $157.5 million, providing a 32.7% share of the nation’s contemporary music sector, as Beat points out. The strong performance of Melbourne’s venues helped contribute to a growth in the state’s revenue.

In comparison, New South Wales and its larger population generated $166.5 million but experienced a drop of 1.2% along with declines from other states (except the ACT and Tasmania). Attendance rates were also up in Victoria despite another overall drop in the market, with over 1.8 million tickets sold, experiencing a 2.6% growth and 32.9% share.

Music Victoria CEO Patrick Donovan tells the Herald Sun that the positive results for Melbourne confirms its status as Australia’s music capital, while chalking up the results to a busy year of international acts touring the country as part of their appearance at major music festivals.

“Superstar bands such as Robert Plant, Santana and Steve Miller Band (out for Bluesfest)… and on top of that we had Frontier touring two of the greatest acts of all time, Springsteen and Neil Young,” said Mr Donovan. “I’ve never seen so many big acts come through Melbourne in a six-month period.”

Music Victoria’s own Victorian Live Music Survey, released in March, showed that Melbourne’s live music scene was bigger than AFL, contributing $1.04 billion annually to the state economy from around 62,000 gigs and 14.4 million gig-goers yearly.

The Music Victoria CEO also cautioned that despite the success of the state’s venues and figures, Melburnians shouldn’t get complacent about the issues facing their live music scene in noise complaints, residential planning and legislation still threatening even the most established of music sites – as seen in the recent fight for The Palace.

Mr Donovan also recently pointed to outdated building codes as being another major issue facing live music venue operators, proposing reforms that could save them millions in unnecessary red tape; an issue that was one of the first on the agenda for Dr Ianto Ware, the manager of the newly-formed National Live Music Office from $560,000 in Government backing.

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