Madeleine Dore | ArtsHub | Thursday 3rd September 2015

Live performance industry outperforms retail, accommodation and retail trade reporting $1.51 billion in revenue and 18.54 million in attendance in 2014.

Despite a drop in the average ticket price and reported lower consumer confidence, the live performance industry today  celebrates its strength.

National research conducted by Live Performance Australia (LPA) released today reveals the industry contributes $1.51 billion to the Australian economy and 18.54 million in attendance in 2014 – outperforming retail trade, accommodation and food services.’

LPA Chief Executive, Evelyn Richardson said the live performance industry is crucial to the vitality of the Australian economy and the social framework of Australia, which is evidence in the growth of both revenue and attendance figures.

The annual Ticket Attendance and Revenue Survey 2014 shows total revenue from ticket sales increased by 2% and attendance grew by 3.4% in 2014.

‘The live performance industry continues to outperform other strong market sectors,’ said Richardson. ‘And more people attend live performances annually than they do sporting events.’

The increase in ticket sales and attendance, in particularly the significant increase in the Festivals category can largely be explained by the inclusion of new data partners MONA, Oztix, Brisbane Powerhouse, Hayes Theatre Co to improve the ‘scope and rigor’ of the report.

It is hoped the research findings will demonstrate the need for ongoing investment in the arts and in developing a vibrant and sustainable live performance industry – and perhaps enlighten Government about where true art audiences lie.

For instance, Contemporary Music, Musical Theatre, and Festivals accounted for 70% of all industry revenue in 2014, despite often being overshadowed by the “Government’s darlings” of opera, symphony orchestras, and ballet when it comes to Brandis’s definition of ‘excellence’.

Echoing reports of previous years, the survey found Contemporary Music, Musical Theatre to be the two largest contributors to the industry, generating 40.1% and 21.2% of revenue respectively and a combined attendance rate of 51.6%.

The Circus and Physical Theatre, Ballet and Dance, and Theatre categories experienced significant declines in both overall revenue and attendance due to a number of popular international performances that occurred in 2013 not returning to Australia in 2014.

In terms of national trends, the average spend on live performance per capital was reported at $64.67.

The report found that Victoria, New South Wales, and Western Australia commanded a larger share of both revenue and attendance compared to their respective share of Australia’s population.

Although Victoria experienced a decline in revenue (-5%) and attendance (-5.2%) in 2014, it still remained well above its national share of the population and had the highest spend per capita both in 2014 and 2013.

In 2014, New South Wales experienced gains in revenue (10%) and attendance (4.6%) largely driven by growth in the Musical Theatre category, which included successful runs of The Lion King and Strictly Ballroom in Sydney.

Tasmania and Northern Territory experienced significant revenue growth in 2014 (382.8% and 45.9% respectively).

For Tasmania, part of this growth can be explained by the first time inclusion of data from Oztix and MONA. In the Northern Territory, gains were driven by the Contemporary Music, Circus and Physical Theatre, and Children’s/Family categories.

Supported by industry super fund Media Super, Chief Executive Officer Graeme Russell said the research reaffirmed the important contribution that live performers and producers make to the national culture and the creative economy.

‘We have access to a greater variety of high-quality local and international performances than ever before, which the report shows Australians truly value and enjoy,’ concluded Russell.

Ticket Attendance and Revenue Survey 2014 infographic.
Full report at