Australian Contemporary Music a Billion Dollar Industry

Chris Bowen
| August 15, 2017

Following our third Contemporary Music Roundtable conference we release our latest Statistical Snapshot to demonstrate the size and potential of the music sector. This tool can be used to build public support and encourage recognition and investment by all Australian Governments. These figures clearly show that music matters!

Latest highlights show:

  • In 2016 Australia’s recorded music industry grew by 5.5 percent, achieving $352.2 million in revenues
  • In 2015/16 revenue generated by APRA AMCOS (representing the rights of songwriters and publishers in AU/NZ) grew by 11 percent to $333 million – a record rate of growth, which included a 12 percent increase in export revenue to $38 million
  • Digital revenues – particularly streaming – were the main drivers for all this growth.

Areas of concern requiring monitoring and intervention include:

  • A 2016 national Australia Council study showed a 7 percent drop in live music attendance over four years
  • The same study also reported that music has seen the biggest drop of any artform in participation rates, from 20 to 15 percent over the past four years.

What we already know:

  • More Australians attend live music than sport; with over 40 million people attending contemporary music performances annually
  • Australia’s live contemporary music industry generates revenues of $1.5 – $2 billion annually.
  • Expenditure associated with live music in Australia is estimated to generate close to 65,000 jobs, half of which are full-time.

While a sizeable industry, it is also not robust.  Digitisation of music has hugely impacted global revenues, dropping from $26b to $15b in 15 years to 2014, profoundly changing how music is consumed. During this time, Australian music lost global market share, compounding our position as a net cultural importer with a smaller creative sector than global peers.

While it is encouraging recorded and royalty revenues are now on the rise, there are numerous challenges to build sector resilience – by strengthening Australian music businesses, boosting artist incomes, fostering engagement in live music, and increasing public and government recognition.

This Statistical Snapshot it a tool for all music professionals to make the case for music in the corridors of power, in local communities and beyond.

Read the 2017 Statistical Snapshot here.

For more detailed statistics and arguments for contemporary music refer to Music Australia’s National Contemporary Music Plan.

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