We asked a series of questions to gauge what factors, if any, positively and negatively impacted audience attendance. Firstly we asked if consumers were more or less likely to be attending live music in three years’ time, and why. We followed this by asking consumers to identify reasons why other people might not attend live music and what might encourage them to do so.

These questions were designed to elicit consumer sentiment and factors influencing their own and others’ live music attendance. We asked producers a corresponding set of questions to have them identify what factors they believed impacted attendance, whether they would be more or less likely to host live music in three years’ time, and why.

Table 3: Are producers and consumers more or less likely to promote or attend live music in three years?

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Both producer and consumer sentiment, signalled by their three year outlook, was largely positive, with a majority of venues and 36 per cent of consumers expecting to be more or much more engaged with live music. Only one venue reported that it was expecting to be less likely to be hosting live music in three years’ time, due to issues associated with regulation and enforcement (discussed further below). Venues that believed they would be more likely to host live music typically cited emerging venue reputation, market growth, investment, and improvements to their venue’s environment for their optimism.

Among consumers less likely to attend live music in the future, the main reasons were related to their stage of life and access to venues. These two issues appear to be related and represent a section of consumers who are aging out of the market and whose ability to attend live music is impacted by family responsibilities. Many of those who identified stage of life as a factor related that they are no longer able to attend live music events with late start times or in locations requiring significant travel due to having children. A smaller number of consumers felt they would be less likely to attend live music in the future due to constraints on their time and income, as well as declining interest. A very small number (less than one per cent of total respondents) expressed concern for their safety and negative impacts on health and wellbeing.

Respondents who were more likely attend live music in the future also listed stage of life as a factor as, for example, they moved from a period of study to paid employment or were at an age where they had fewer family or work responsibilities. A similar number identified an increase in available income and time as likely to result in increased attendance, and these appear to be related. About a quarter of respondents cited professional or personal involvement for increased live music attendance, indicative again perhaps of the high number of performing musicians and industry professionals who took part in the survey.

These same themes recurred when we asked consumers what they felt encouraged or inhibited other people attending live music. In both cases, access was identified as a major factor; as was cost, interest, awareness, and the positive and/or negative impact of other entertainment options. In particular respondents felt that poor public transport options, limited parking, and the limited availability and cost of taxis and event times was constraining the number of people attending live music. A number of respondents also identified government activity as a factor that might enable more live music attendance through changes to licensing, regulation and enforcement, improved infrastructure and the provision of grants.

Examined collectively, the most commonly identified factors influencing live music attendance among respondents were access, then cost and interest. Producers, on the other hand, most commonly identified programming as influencing attendance, followed by some combination of band draw; cost; promotion; venue reputation; venue environment; and the weather. Programming and the ability of a band to draw a crowd are clearly related and could be combined, however some venues identified both as distinct factors influencing attendance.

Producers appear to have only identified factors that can be directly observed and, at least to a degree, controlled or allowed for in planning live music events. For example, access was not identified by venues suggesting this is either unobserved or wasn’t commented on as it was outside of venues’ direct control. This discrepancy suggest access to venues may be an important consideration for policy makers and a beneficial area for future research, particularly given our findings that audiences appear willing to travel to experience live music.