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A new report has found that COVID-19 caused the Australian live music industry to lose $1.4billion in 2020.

Live Performance Australia published their annual ticketing data yesterday (October 21), showing that the country’s live music industry suffered a 70 per cent decline in revenue from 2019. In 2020, the country’s total revenue from live music sat at $605million, down from $1.9billion the year prior.

Live music attendance also suffered a huge blow, marking a 67.5 per cent decline nationwide between 2019 and 2020. Just 7.7million tickets were sold in 2020, compared to over 23million tickets in 2019.

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While New South Wales and Victoria made up the majority of the nation’s live music revenue last year, the latter still suffered the biggest state loss due to its lengthy lockdown. Victoria experienced a 74.8 per cent decline in revenue, and just under 80 per cent decline in attendance.

The report separated the industry into various categories, with the ‘Contemporary Music’ category – comprising of standard concerts for contemporary music – making up more than half of the aforementioned $605million revenue. With around $309.2million in revenue and 2.9million tickets sold, the category endured its lowest revenue from ticket sales since 2005, and lowest attendance since 2004.

Contemporary music festivals also suffered a staggering 70 per cent loss in both attendance and revenue compared to 2019. Between 2018 and 2019, contemporary music festivals experienced an almost 80 per cent gain in revenue.

Live Performance Australia’s Chief Executive, Evelyn Richardson, stressed how the industry took a “massive hit” last year, saying: “Ongoing restrictions, lockdowns and border closures caused significant disruption to an industry heavily reliant on national touring.”

Richardson continued, “Live entertainment events drive visitation across regions and cities, pumping billions of dollars of spending into the economy. Our industry is a key driver of many other sectors, notably hospitality, travel and cultural tourism.

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“The forecast for the next 12 months indicates industry viability is seriously threatened with reactivation and recovery now delayed. The lag time required to plan and deliver events sees companies trying to retain staff to work on pipeline events through Q4 and well into the middle of next year.”

Finally, Richardson reiterated calls for an insurance scheme for the business, echoing sentiments previously shared by not only LPA but other industry bodies.

“We expect the impacts of COVID-19 in 2021 may be even greater given our two major markets have been closed for extended periods,” she said, “and these impacts have seen business confidence collapse and the industry needs an insurance scheme to underwrite investment risk in 2022/23.

“The live music and entertainment industry also urgently requires a targeted, Business Reactivation package to ensure we retain capacity to operate when border, venue capacity and operational restrictions are eased. While much of the economy will be returning to pre-COVID activity, the live music and entertainment industry will be constrained by venue capacity and border restrictions for some months.”

Read LPA’s full report here.

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