Australia’s Billion-Dollar Live Biz Reports ‘Weaker’ 2012

Australia’s live music biz has had an up-and-down year, new figures reveal.

Live Performance Australia’s annual “Ticket Attendance & Revenue Survey” reveals attendance slipped across the wider live entertainment market in 2012, and there was significantly lower interest in “contemporary music” – the field which collates data from rock and pop concerts.

The results illustrate what’s been a “weaker year” for the Australian live entertainment industry, and reflect a period of “poorer consumer confidence” across the country, which the LPA attributes in part to an uncertain economy.

The LPA’s CEO Evelyn Richardson says the data is no cause for alarm. The survey indicates that “the industry is stable,” Richardson tells Billboard.biz. “We’ve seen decreases in revenue and attendance,” she says, “but I think those declines are relatively modest if you put them in the context of the broader economic climate.”

The “contemporary music” category was by-far the largest slice of the live entertainment market, generating about 40% of revenue. Music theatre was the distant next-best, accounting for 16.9% of revenue.

Gross revenue from “contemporary music” declined by 10.6% to A$482.18 million ($434 million) while total attendance shrunk by 7.7%. The average ticket price for a concert dropped by 3.1% to A$100.27 ($90) in 2012.

The biggest tours Down Under during the reporting period included treks from Lady Gaga, Roger Waters, Prince and Taylor Swift  and a stadium tour by Coldplay. Other big-name internationals who toured Australia included Rod Stewart, Elton John, Nicki Minaj, Matchbox Twenty, Jennifer Lopez and One  Direction.

Across the live entertainment sector, ticket sales were down 8% to A$1.205 billion ($1.08 billion), the lowest annual figure since 2009.

Music festivals, meanwhile, experienced a “strong year”. Festivals saw a 2% increase in revenue to A$98.37 million ($88 million), a 18.7% increase in attendance and a 7.4% decline in average ticket price to A$128.71 ($115 million). Theater also reported “significant gains.”

Music Festivals “generally experienced strong patronage in 2012,” the report notes. The LPA cites the example of Splendour in the Grass, which sold out in 2012 unlike in 2011, and the EDM-oriented Future Music Festival, which broke attendance records in 2012.

All told, 16.27 million tickets were issued to live entertainment events in Australia in 2012, a year-on-year decline of 6.2%. Of that sum, 14.10 million were “paid” tickets, a decline from 15.23 million in 2011 (the remaining 2.17 million were freebies, for sponsors and “zero-priced” stubs).

Admittedly, the LPA trade association’s survey under-reports self-ticketed events and festivals, though events such as Bluesfest are coming on board. The report was prepared by accountancy giant Ernst and Young on behalf of LPA.

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