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The Live Entertainment Industry had a $1.4 billion decline in 2020 causing a major impact on the Australian economy.

With governments slow to act on a cohesive recovery plan for the entertainment industry, the industry is now confirmed as one of the hardest hit industries from the lockdowns with a 70% decline in 2020.

Live Performance Australia’s Chief Executive, Evelyn Richardson, said “EY’s analysis of 2019 and 2020 data clearly shows the massive hit the live entertainment industry took in 2020. Ongoing restrictions, lockdowns and border closures caused significant disruption to an industry heavily reliant on national touring. In 2020, the number of tickets issued to live performance events fell by 68% to under 8 million, ticket sales revenue fell by 69% to $600 million, and the average ticket price fell from $92.89 to $87.14. These are stark numbers.”

The biggest impact was for the Contemporary Music sector. Contemporary Music remained the biggest category, accounting for over 50% total revenue of live performance at $309 million and 37% of attendances (nearly 3 million), the sector experienced an overall decline of 63% in revenue and 65% in attendance between 2019 and 2020.

Musical Theatre, the next biggest category, lost 80% in revenue and 79% of attendances. In 2020, this genre contributed $67 million in revenue, which was 11% of the industry total, and approximately 730,000 attendances, 9% of the industry total.

New South Wales and Victoria, the two states with the longest lockdowns, are also the two biggest states for live performance. 66% of revenue for Live Entertainment comes from the two states. Victoria had a major impact on the national decline because of its expended lockdown.

“As the largest live entertainment markets in Australia, we need NSW and VIC to perform well for the health of the industry overall – this is particularly important as we emerge from the pandemic and move into the recovery phase. These markets suffered significantly in all categories in 2020, particularly in Comedy for VIC (89% decrease in revenue and 94% decrease in attendance) and Festivals (Contemporary Music) in NSW (83% decrease in revenue and 80% decrease in attendance),” Ms Richardson said.

Contemporary Music drives 60% of the Live Entertainment industry income. The flow on effect is to tourism. ““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.”

Ms Richardson said the live entertainment industry made a significant contribution to national and regional economies, but governments needed to pay closer attention to policy settings, investment levels and infrastructure required to support growth across all genres. This would be critical for the rebuild phase in 2022/23.

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