National research conducted by the University of Tasmania and released today by the Live Music Office shows the live music sector contributed $15.7 billion of value to the Australian community in 2014, providing vital commercial, individual and civic benefits.

The report, The Economic and Cultural Value of Live Music in Australia 2014, set out to value the economic, social and cultural contribution of the Australian live music industry with both a national consumer survey undertaken alongside a survey of venues in Hobart, Melbourne, Adelaide and Sydney. This is the first research of this scale completed since 2011.

This research was undertaken in partnership with the University of Tasmania, the City of Sydney, City of Melbourne Council, The Government of South Australia, and The Live Music Office as an initiative of the City of Sydney’s Live Music and Performance Taskforce.

Dr. Dave Carter, Lecturer in Music Technology at University of Tasmania, said, “Our research shows that for every dollar spent on live music, three dollars of benefit is returned to the wider community. This is a significant, and unrecognized, contribution that includes the dollars that flow to the national economy as well as the ways experiencing live music enriches people’s lives”.

Other key findings from the research include:

• Live music spending in Australia delivers at least 3:1 benefit-to-cost ratio (page 51);
• Nationally, an estimated 65,000 full and part-time jobs are created by monies spent on live music (page 39), with taxation revenue generated for all tiers of government, (page 46);
• Food and drink is the number one expense for those attending a live music performance equating to 29.3 per cent of the total spend (page 19);
• Expenditure on tickets comes in second at 19.2 per cent of spend, followed by travel at 17.6 per cent and accommodation at 12.4 per cent (page 19);
• Audiences are prepared to travel significant distances to attend live music, and this demonstrates live music is a source of regional competitive advantage (page 26)
• Live Music attendance was identified by punters and venues as contributing to improved health and wellbeing (page 28-29).

The research also investigated many long-standing industry perceptions. In Sydney for example, issues flagged by live music venues included liquor licensing conditions and direct and indirect costs associated with programming, particularly rent.

Venues in Melbourne scored competition, market saturation, location and gentrification as barriers.

Venues in Adelaide scored gentrification as the biggest barrier, while in Hobart, relative isolation was the main barrier to commercial success.

John Wardle, Policy Director at the Live Music Office said, “This research is an important milestone for the Australian live music industry. We’ve created a benchmark for governments and the community to understand the importance of live music to Australian culture, community and the economy.”

An online version of the report is available on the Live Music office website at

The Live Music Office
The Live Music Office was founded in July 2013 through Federal Government funding and in partnership with APRA AMCOS and the Australia Council. It aims to revitalise and nurture the venue-based live music sector through policy development – playing a leading role in policy dialogue and design across all levels of government and supporting venues and artists.

Government of South Australia
The Government of South Australia has set up the Music Development Office as a collaborative union of arts and industry development, with strategies in place to support the ongoing development of the music industry in South Australia. This includes the delivery of initiatives that facilitate artistic and business development, market development and export strategies, within a supportive music cluster environment that incorporates commercial operators and broader creative industries, and aims to accelerate industry growth and attract investment.

City of Sydney
The City of Sydney is one of the fastest growing local government areas in Australia. We’re Australia’s global city, an international gateway with sustained investment in cultural infrastructure and facilities. Seven per cent of the country’s GDP is generated in the city. Following a significant research and consultation program, in 2014 Council adopted a Live Music and Performance Action Plan which contains more than 60 actions to support the local live music and performance scene.

City of Melbourne
The City of Melbourne’s Music Strategy 2014-17 is a three year plan to support and grow the city’s music industry. As part of the strategy, we are committed to working with national, state and city-based industry partners on research projects covering common issues to gather data to better understand the economic, cultural and social value of live music in Melbourne and Australia.

University of Tasmania
The University of Tasmania is ranked in the top ten research universities in Australia and in the top two per cent of universities in the world. For 125 years, the University has provided a creative and stimulating environment, providing opportunities for our students to engage in an international learning experience. In addition to the more than 30,000 students, the University’s community is strengthened by a network of more than 90,000 alumni spanning more than 120 countries, and is underpinned by collaborative partnerships with organisations that share its strategic outlook. While maintaining a distinctive Tasmanian identity, University programs and research are international in scope, vision and standards.



Rina Ferris and Kristyn Brennan – Ferris Davies PRM