Australia's Billion-Dollar-Plus Live Entertainment Biz Reports 'Strong' 2014 Results

A surfeit of entertainment options and a murky financial climate didn’t put-off Aussies from heading out to a show last year, according to the findings of a new Live Performance Australia study. 

The market’s live industry “remains strong,” contributing A$1.51 billion ($1.04 billion) to the Australian economy with 18.54 million tickets issued last year, according to the LPA’s 11th and latest Ticket Attendance and Revenue Survey 2014.

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The trade body’s CEO Evelyn Richardson acknowledged that the average ticket price had dropped and the live biz was grappling with “lower consumer confidence,” though total revenue from ticket sales grew by 2% from the previous year and attendance was up by 3.4%.

On a like-for-like basis excluding new data providers, the industry experienced a slight decline in revenue (4.1%) and attendance (5%) in real terms between 2013 and 2014, the LPA notes.

“The live performance industry continues to outperform other strong market sectors, including retail trade, and accommodation and food services and more people attend live performances annually than they do sporting events,” Richardson said. 

Rock and pop concerts fall under the “Contemporary Music” field, which again accounted for the lion’s share of total revenue at 40.1%. Though attendance across contemporary music events grew by 1.9%, revenue fell by 3.7% from A$628.13 million ($436 million) to A$604.96 million ($420 million), which LPA attributes to a downtick in the average ticket price and a gain in the number of zero-priced tickets. 

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Australian music fans had a lot of choice in 2014 with the likes of Katy Perry, The Rolling Stones and Bruce Springsteen filling arenas across the country. “However,” the LPA notes, "none of these tours matched the scale of Pink’s 2013 tour (with 48 Australian shows), which helps to explain the weaker result in 2014.” LPA also singled-out international tours from such artists as Eminem, Michael Bublé, Justin Timberlake, Robbie Williams and Kanye West, while Australian artists that made a big impact at the box office in 2014 included Keith Urban, Nick Cave, Bliss n Eso, Hunters and Collectors, and Jimmy Barnes.

The LPA’s survey follows the publication last month of a research report entitled The Economic and Cultural Value of Live Music in Australia 2014 which found Australia’s live music sector last year pumped A$15.7 billion ($11.5 billion) of value back into the wider community. That study also found an estimated 65,000 full and part-time jobs were created by live music spend in 2014 and that for each dollar spent on live music, three dollars of benefit was returned to the community.  

Read the LPA’s report here.