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APRA AMCOS Annual Report reveals closure of 1,300 live music venues

APRA AMCOS Annual Report reveals closure of 1,300 live music venues
October 20, 2023

More than 1,300 live music venues and stages across the nation have been lost permanently since the start of pandemic restrictions, constricting Australia’s live music scene for small to medium gigs by one-third over the past three years, according to the latest annual Year In Report from APRA AMCOS.

However, while the small to medium venue scene has been “decimated”, overall the live music industry reported record revenues of $690 million in 2022/23, an increase of 12% on the result in the previous financial year with major concerts and festivals seeing their revenue rise 400% in the first entire post-pandemic financial year, and net distributable income including royalties paid to songwriters and publisher members, affiliates and rightsholders rising 11% to $595.2 million.

APRA AMCOS also advise of the buoyancy of the international market, with global income for Australian and New Zealand artists exceeding $70 million for the first time - an increase of 17.7%.

The gross revenue revealed in the Year In Report and for the 2023 financial year also saw a dramatic increase - $270.3 million more than the $420.2 million of five years ago, which showcases a $64.3 growth.

The annual report also entails some of the best-selling concert tours of 2022/23 with Australian music fans heading to large-scale concerts by huge international acts such as Ed Sheeran, Elton John and Harry Styles delivering a record year in licensing fee earnings for the Australasia’s music rights collecting agency.

APRA AMCOS also reveal that the situation is bleak in nightclubs, with crowds have halved since pre-pandemic times, with annual attendance dipping to 1.6 million from over 2.8 million in 2019.

APRA AMCOS is lobbying State and Territory Governments to legislate for the establishment of special entertainment precincts to foster and protect new and existing live music venues, as well as calling on the Federal Government to commit to a live music venue tax offset to act as a catalyst in jump-starting live music nationally.

Explaining this in a statement, APRA AMCOS Chief Executive, Dean Ormston advised “there remains cause for considerable concern regarding the decimated venue-based live music market.

“The establishment of a national music development agency, Music Australia, is a landmark result. We warmly welcome the state-based support with the creation of Sound NSW. The establishment of Creative Workplaces is vital, which will underpin the accountability of our industry to provide fair, safe, respectful workplaces for Australian artists and arts workers.”

Ormston added “this means we are now recognised as an ‘industry’ by the Australian Government. Not only that, but we are also an industry worthy of investment.”

Tax offsets for live music venues could operate on a similar system to those in the local screen industry, where rebates are claimable if productions meet local content and employment quotas. The offsets, which largely benefit Hollywood studios shooting in Australia, were almost doubled to 30% by the Federal Government in the May budget.

Ormston noted “it really is a simple ask, it’s affordable and it will absolutely jumpstart businesses presenting live music on a national basis, and that’s what we need.

“We can’t wait for years and years for venues to organically come back online, we need something more immediate than that.

“Pubs and clubs are really where Australian bands get to cut their teeth, develop their own audiences, build their own profile and fan base and develop their own careers. With so many venues now lost, it’s absolutely a crisis point. We need an intervention.”

In January, Music Australia, a new national body to develop and support new contemporary music, was created as part of the Federal Government’s National Cultural Policy.

Click here to annual Year In Report. 

Images: The NightQuarter venue on the Sunshine Coast closed in December last year (top) and APRA AMCOS Chief Executive Dean Ormston (below).

About the author

Nigel Benton

Co-founder/Publisher, Australasian Leisure Management

Nigel Benton is the co-founder and Publisher of Australasian Leisure Management, Australia and New Zealand’s only magazine for professionals in all areas of the leisure industry. Having established the magazine in 1997, shortly after his relocation to Australia, he has managed its readership rising to over 11,500 and its acceptance as the industry journal for professionals in aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues.

In 2020, he launched the new Asian Leisure Business website.

Among a range of published works and features, his comments on a Blog (blogspot) from 2007 to 2011, when this website went live in its current form, may be interesting to reflect back on.

Click here to connect with him via LinkedIn.

Read more from this author

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