Australia – Research
Geography & Demographics
- Australia is a country located in the Southern-Eastern hemisphere
- Total population: 25.36 million
- Sydney and Melbourne are the largest cities within Australia
- Majority racial demographics: (2016 Census QuickStats)
- English: 25%
- Australian: 23.3%
- Irish: 7.6%
- Scottish: 6.4%
- Chinese: 3.9%
- Majority ethnic demographics: (2016 Census QuickStats)
- Australian: 67%
- England: 3.9%
- New Zealand: 2.2%
- China: 2.2%
- India: 1.9%
- Languages other than English: (2016 Census QuickStats)
- Mandarin: 2.5%
COVID Standings: Statistics, Re-opening, Etc.
- 32,015 total cases, 914 total deaths as of 7/20/2021
- Everyone over the age of 40 is eligible for the AstraZeneca Vaccine
- Western Australia as of July 12, 2021 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2021):
- No capacity restrictions for venues and events
- Businesses require a COVID safety plan, maintain a contact register, and must complete a COVID event checklist or plan if over 500 people
- Checking in to venues and businesses using SafeWA or leave details on a contact register
- Must complete a form before arriving from another country
- Controlled border arrangement
- Restrictions on travel to remote Aboriginal communities
- A recent spike in the delta variant (Sahelirc, 2021)
- Sydney and New South Wales entered lockdown a few weeks ago
- Four phase recovery plan
- Halve the number of international arrivals allowed
- Still in the first phase as of 7/5/2021, phase 4 is the end goal of essentially “back to normal”
- Australia’s vaccine rollout described as “sluggish and chaotic” (Sahelirc, 2021)
- Only 7.1% fully vaccinated as of 7/5/2021
- Many believe this is in part due to the mixed messages surrounding AstraZeneca
Size of Music Sectors Overview
- The 6th largest music market in the world for overall revenues & the 7th largest market for digital sales (Recording Industry in Numbers, 2020)
- Australia’s music industry contributes $4-6 billion to the Australian economy
- Their live music industry generates more revenue than their respective film, television, and video game industries
- Music & performing arts employs >43,000 people (Music Australia, 2020)
- Music copyright is a significant contributor to Australian copyright industries, which generates a total economic value of $93 billion & $7 billion in exports (Music Australia, 2020)
- Prior to COVID, Australia’s music industry was rapidly expanding, as 2019 was its 5th consecutive year of growth (The Music, 2020)
- Increased 5.5% in 2019 compared to 2018 (The Music, 2020)
Trends in Live & Recorded Music (Pre-COVID)
- More than 15 million live music (both concert & festival) tickets are sold annually, which generates $1.2 billion in revenue (Live Performance Australia 2018)
- Supports ~15,000 jobs (Music Australia)
- Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) 2013 Yearly Statistics state that “Australians spend over $350 million each year on recorded music” (Music Australia)
- Despite this high number, recorded sales have been on the decline due to “digital disruption” in recent years — they dropped 11% in 2013 (Music Australia)
- ARIA 2020 – recorded music generated $542 million in revenue, the market grew 7.3% (ARIA, 2020)
- Streaming is becoming an increasingly significant source of revenue for recorded music —
- 2019 – streaming accounted for 80% of the Australian digital music market, a significant increase from 18% in 2018 (The Music, 2020)
- As streaming has increased in recent years, other forms of sales, including digital sales, digital downloads, & physical sales (excluding vinyl), have decreased (The Music, 2020)
COVID Impact on Music Sector Health
- In 2020, Australia’s music market revenue was $1.1 billion, a decline of 39% from the previous year (PwC Australia, 2021)
- The live music sector lost 90% of its revenue in 2020, generating $86 million that year (PwC Australia, 2021)
- Although Australia’s recorded music revenues grew 7.3% in 2020, this growth was still lower than in previous years (PwC Australia, 2021)
- Despite the significant revenue losses during the pandemic, PwC expects that Australia’s music industry will eventually recover, projecting a total revenue of $2.2 billion in 2025 (PwC Australia, 2021)
- Issues with vaccine rollout have prevented live shows, national tours, & global tours from happening in Australia for another year
- Only one international act coming to the country this year (Guns-n-Roses)
- Lack of live shows projects another year of diminished revenue for the live music sector
Frictions & Tensions
- Prior to COVID, gentrification has (& still continues to do so) impacted many music venues in Australia, pushing
- Pressure to diversify activity & content in Australia’s music industry by increasing artist, management, & audience involvement
- Mental health is a prominent issue for many in the Australian music industry, which has only been exacerbated by the pandemic
- Need for more mental health resources for music professionals
- Prior to COVID, mental health was more looked down upon in the industry, but the pandemic has helped reduce the stigma surrounding it
- With complications regarding vaccine rollout & how the government has operated with pandemic restrictions in recent months, many in the industry are feeling frustrated & left behind
- Even with emergency grants & relief resources, many have lost significant income they won’t get back & have struggled to make ends meet
- Issues of fair distribution of relief funds
- Many have felt that the government has prioritized sports recovery over the arts
- Slow vaccine rollout has prevented workers from going back to work, with vaccine rollout prioritizing bigger names/acts in the industry
- There were a lot of programs created at the beginning of the pandemic to help these professionals, but these have since teetered out & are not as prominent now
- Support Act created in 1997 – an organization dedicated to giving crisis relief resources to Australian music industry professionals
- 2018 – established the Support Act Wellbeing Hotline, a program designed to provide free counseling to any involved in Australian music
- Since the pandemic, the Support Act has received a 52% increase in calls from industry professionals asking for emotional support (Burke, 2021)
- CrewCare – a support group designated for providing various resources for roadies, including mental health aid
- Australian Music Industry Package in 2019 – Australian government committed to providing $27.5 million to the music industry in the following measures (Australian Government, 2019):
- Live Music Australia Program – grant funding of $20 million toward Live Music Australia, which would help fund more live music events highlighting Australian talent
- Women in Music Mentor Program – funding of $2 million for mentorship programs & professional development for women in music
- Indigenous Contemporary Music Program – funding $2 million for creating a national development program for indigenous musicians
- An additional $2 million for the Contemporary Music Touring Program (funds touring musicians) & $1.5 million for Sounds Australia (capitalizing on emerging markets)
- COVID – New South Wales distributing $24 million towards live music venues (Amplify Music, 2021)
- Support Act – government giving out rapid $2k-5k grants to artists/music professionals, in addition to other resources (Amplify Music, 2021)
- Total of $20m was given out from the Support Act (Donohue, 2021)
- JobKeeper wage subsidy – government program designed to allow arts industry workers to continue in the industry during the pandemic by paying out wages to workers directly or giving employers wages to pay their workers
- Distributed $730 million total (Donohue, 2021)
- While this program helped those in music, it wasn’t designed specifically for music professionals
- RISE – a grant program that gives funding to businesses putting on shows/tours, committed to distributing $75 million last year & $125 million in March (Donohue, 2021)
- The only music-industry-specific funding program created by the Australian government
- Prioritized bigger named events/venues/companies (Bluefest) over smaller ones
- Didn’t provide security for events that ended up being canceled
About Support Act. Support Act. (2021, February 13). https://supportact.org.au/about-support-act/.
Amplify Music. (2021). Australia – Emily Collins, Joe Hay, Leanna de Souza. Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3qITsup0Go.
Australian Government Department of Health. (2021, July 16). Coronavirus (COVID-19) case numbers and statistics. Australian Government Department of Health. https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert/coronavirus-covid-19-case-numbers-and-statistics.
Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). (2021, March 31). Australian recorded music industry figures for 2020. ARIA. https://www.aria.com.au/industry/news/australian-recorded-music-industry-figures-for-2020.
Australia Population 2021 (Live). Australia Population 2021 (Demographics, Maps, Graphs). (2021). https://worldpopulationreview.com/countries/australia-population.
Burke, K. (2021, January 22). ‘We’re bracing for things to get worse’: crisis continues for Australia’s roadies. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2021/jan/23/were-bracing-for-things-to-get-worse-crisis-continues-for-australias-roadies.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, May 19). COVID-19 in Australia – COVID-19 Low – Level 1: COVID-19 Low – Travel Health Notices. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/covid-1/coronavirus-australia.
Donoughue, P. (2021, June 4). Hatchie was breaking into the overseas market. Then COVID hit. ABC News. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-06-04/covid-music-industry-lockdown-australia-talks/100178172.
Hughes, C. (2016, April 8). Music sales in Australia by genre 2015. Statista. https://www.statista.com/statistics/521782/music-sales-genre-australia/.
Live Performance Australia. (2019). (rep.). LPA Report – 2018 Ticket Attendance and Revenue Report – Summary Infographics (Genre). Retrieved from https://liveperformance.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Summary-Infographics-Genre.pdf
Music Australia. (n.d.). How the Australian Music Industry Works. Music Australia. https://musicaustralia.org.au/discover/the-professional-music-industry/how-the-australian-music-industry-works/#:~:text=Australia%20has%20a%20rich%20tradition,based%20choirs%2C%20orchestras%20and%20ensembles.
Music in Australia. Music Australia. (n.d.). https://musicaustralia.org.au/discover/the-professional-music-industry/music-in-australia/.
Office for the Arts, Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications. (2021, March 2). Contemporary Music – The Australian Government supports Australia’s contemporary music industry. Office for the Arts, Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications. https://www.arts.gov.au/what-we-do/performing-arts/contemporary-music.
PricewaterhouseCoopers Staff. (2021). Music – Australian Entertainment & Media Outlook 2021-2025. PwC. https://www.pwc.com.au/industry/entertainment-and-media-trends-analysis/outlook/music.html.
Sahelirc. (2021, July 5). Australia’s Covid recovery plans remain uncertain as it tries to contain the delta variant. CNBC. https://www.cnbc.com/2021/07/05/australias-covid-recovery-plans-remain-uncertain-due-to-delta-variant.html.
Staff Writer. (2020, April 22). “We’ll Get Through This”: Aus Music Industry Reporting Record Income Prior to COVID Crisis. The Music. https://themusic.com.au/news/australian-recorded-music-industry-revenue-2019-aria-report/wVTZ1dTX1tk/22-04-20/.
2016 Census QuickStats. 2016 Census QuickStats: Australia. (2016.). https://quickstats.censusdata.abs.gov.au/census_services/getproduct/census/2016/quickstat/036?opendocument.