Despite a rise in ticket prices, the live performance industry has reported a record-breaking year with more Australians attending live shows than ever before.
While the average price of a ticket last year was $99.03, up 9.3% from 2017 and up almost 30% from 2008, punters weren't deterred by the hiked prices with more than 26 million attendances generating almost $2.2 billion in ticket revenue. That's more than the combined attendances reported by AFL, rugby league and union, cricket, soccer, basketball, tennis, netball and baseball.
This 15% revenue growth on the previous year was reported in Live Performance Australia's 2018 Ticket Attendance and Revenue Report, released yesterday.
Approximately 26.3 million tickets were issued in 2018, a 14.1% rise on 2017's figures. The lion's share of the market came from contemporary music - bolstered by huge tours from Ed Sheeran, Pink and Bruno Mars in the period - accounting for approximately half of the reported revenue. Musical theatre followed with a 18.5% share, the likes of The Book Of Mormon and Aladdin bringing large numbers of patrons.
Evelyn Richardson, Chief Executive of Live Performance Australia, noted that while the figures showed a positive trend, the increasing demand for live performance needed to be supported by the government.
“These are solid results, but the rate of growth year on year is slowing compared to previous years, underscoring the need for a positive policy framework from the federal, state and territory governments which support live performance,” she said.
Richardson also remarked on the "period of uncertainty" in NSW, the industry's largest market for live performance, citing the state government's approach to music festival regulations and a lack of strategy around theatre venues for Sydney."
“NSW is our largest live performance market in Australia, and we need it to perform well for the health of the industry overall," Richardson said.
While NSW and Victoria remain the industry's largest markets, they generated 67% of all revenue and 62% of attendance in 2018, other states saw a significant increase in the period. Queensland, mostly thanks to events surrounding the Commonwealth Games, recorded a 20% growth for both attendance and revenue, and Tasmania experienced the highest year-on-year growth in attendance (67%).
The Ticket Attendance and Revenue Report has been produced annually since 2004. For a deep dive into the report's findings, you can follow the link here to access it online.