BRISBANE, Australia — The pandemic punched a A$1.4 billion ($1.04 billion) hole in Australia’s live entertainment industry, as touring ceased, venues shuttered and the number of tickets to live shows dried up by close to 70%, a new report has found.
Following a record year in 2018, the health crisis had a “devastating impact” on the live sector, according to Live Performance Australia’s Ticket Attendance and Revenue Report, as flights in and out of the country were grounded in March 2020 and venues closed for business.
In 2020, the number of tickets issued to live performance events plummeted from 24 million to under 8 million, as revenue from ticket sales tumbled from A$2 billion ($1.5 billion) to A$600 million ($450 million).
This “significant decline can be primarily attributed to COVID-19 restrictions,” explains the report, noting major tours from the likes of Pink, Ed Sheeran, Bruno Mars, Taylor Swift and Katy Perry in 2018, and visits by U2 and Eminem in 2019, were absent from the touring calendar last year, as all three levels of government ordered the shutdown of gathering places to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.
In a crippled market, “Contemporary Music,” a category that includes rock, pop and hip-hop concerts, was the largest genre, accounting for 51% of revenue, and, combined with festivals comprised 60% of total industry revenue and 43% of attendances.
Don’t expect the data for 2021 to bring any cheer to the live business.
The impacts of COVID-19 this year may be even greater, given Australia’s two major markets, New South Wales and Victoria, have been closed for extended periods, notes LPA reps.
Indeed, the uncertainty and disruption created by the Delta variant has forced promoters to postpone clean this year’s slate of major tours and festivals.
“Our live music businesses have now lost their small window of opportunity to schedule international artists for concerts and music festivals in the final quarter of this year,” notes Evelyn Richardson, CEO of LPA. “These events have now been cancelled or postponed until late 2022/early 2023.
For the live sector to get back on track, explains LPA, governments need to pay closer attention to policy settings, investment levels and infrastructure required to support growth across all genres. “This will be critical for the rebuild phase in 2022/23.”
Vaccinations will play a critical part in reopening the live sector, and keeping the doors open. The industry is on board with sending that message. Just last month, the leading players from Australia’s music and entertainment industries, and hundreds of artists, joined forces for the #VaxTheNation campaign, which urges music fans to roll up a sleeve.
Soon after, the market’s top promoters got behind Vaxstage Pass, a national competition which gives music fans the chance to win one of five double passes to every one of their arena and stadium tours in 2022.
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