Australia's live music industry employs more than 13,800 full-time staffers and contributes in excess of $1.1 billion Australian ($944 million) to the national economy, according to a new study.

The $1.1. billion Australian figure is total profits and wages generated by the industry.

All told, the live sector generated $1.88 billion Australian ($1.61 billion) in revenue in 2008.

The headline figure and many other insights are arrived at in a study entitled "The Size and Scope of the Live Entertainment Industry," which was prepared by accountancy giant Ernst and Young on behalf of trade association Live Performance Australia. It is the first live sector study of its kind in Australia.

Box office income accounted for the lion's share of revenue in 2008, at $1.161 billion or 56.2% of the total, the rest coming from various sources ranging from government funding, sponsorship and donations.

The live industry dished out $846.3 million Australian ($727 million) in wages, the study also found.

Contemporary music was identified as the most significant contributor among event categories, accounting for 40% of the industry's total earnings.

The LPA's CEO Evelyn Richardson says the study is "broader in scope than those previously undertaken by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)," and the trade body intends to repeat the process every two years.

Ernst and Young calculated the scale of Australia's live industry through analysis of the most recent LPA "Ticket Attendance and Revenue Survey" (2008) and combining it with an estimation approach.

In future, explains Richardson, "we hope to expand the analysis further by broadening the range of data collected via the Ticketing Survey and examining in more detail the employment aspects of our industry. This will enable us to track trends in our own industry plus allow some international comparisons."

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