Live Music

Over 1,000 live music venues lost post-pandemic in Australia

Featured Image: Ron Smith on Unsplash

APRA AMCOS’ annual report has revealed that royalties from concerts and events grew by 400% across Australia and New Zealand, however the good news did not extend to live music venues in Australia, with many closing following the pandemic. 

Australasian Performing Right Association and Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society (APRA AMCOS) said that the growth witnessed by concerts and events was the biggest source of growth within public performance.

A peak A$32m (£17m/€18m/$20m) was a major improvement on last year’s A$6.4m and up on 2019’s $24.9m.

Music fans flocked to concerts despite inflation and the cost-of-living crisis, but the demand for live music and large gatherings delivered record performance royalties.

The hottest tickets to concerts in Australia included international artists Ed Sheeran, Sir Elton John and Harry Styles, while local artists Rüfüs Du Sol, Crowded House and more drew large crowds. Australian festivals Listen Out, Laneway and Knotfest also attracted tens of thousands.

However, the pandemic and resulting lockdowns have left Australia with 1,300 fewer music venues. APRA AMCOS noted that this will have an effect on emerging artists and music creators.

Nightclubs have also witnessed crowds almost halve since 2019, according to the organisation. The number has fallen to 1.6 million club-goers compared to over 2.8 million pre-pandemic.

In 2019, 14,463 Australian-based members were paid Performance Report royalties, while this year saw the total number of members paid fall to 11,340 – though this was an increase on last year.

In the report’s opening comments, chief executive Dean Ormston said: “We saw a post-COVID recovery in our OneMusic general licensing business across Australia and New Zealand, with a 23.5% increase in revenue, and a dramatic 400% year-on-year increase in revenue from concerts and festivals – to an all-time high of A$32m. There was also continued strong growth in the revenue from music and video-on-demand streaming services.

“However, there remains considerable concern regarding the decimated venue-based live music market. We have lost more than 1,300 live music venues and stages across Australia and crowds at nightclubs have almost halved than prior to the start of the pandemic. We are lobbying State and Territory Governments to legislate for the establishment of special entertainment precincts to foster and protect new and existing live music venues. We are also calling on the Australian Government to commit to a live music venue tax offset to act as a catalyst in jump-starting live music nationally.”