UTAS Research

The Economic and Cultural Value of Live Music in Australia 2014, sets out to value the economic, social and cultural contribution of the Australian live music industry. This is the first research of this scale completed since 2011. This research was undertaken in partnership with the University of Tasmania, City of Sydney, City of Melbourne, The Government of South Australia, and the Live Music Office.


The value of live music is intuitively understood by the millions of Australians whose lives are enriched by time spent on sticky floors, in muddy fields and at concert halls. Music is an experiential medium and live performance is its most elemental form. Trying to articulate this intuitively understood value, however, quickly reveals complexity as live music informs identity, leaves longstanding memories and helps create meaning across communities and cultures.

Australia’s live music sector is similarly complex, comprising multiple, interrelated industries whose contributions to the economy need to be accounted for. Within a single venue, or at a single performance on any given night, there is likely to be several interdependent commercial interests in play. The motivation and operation of these businesses is poorly understood due to a lack of available fine-resolution data.

The original contribution of this study is to locate the discrete values of live music activity and, for the first time, illustrate the dynamic ways in which they interact.

We depict how producers and consumers use their time and money to enable live music making in Australia. This affects individual and community states of physical, human, social, and symbolic capital, which is converted by users into a set of economically valuable outputs that impact upon the welfare of society.

Our model adopts the best-practice principles of cost and benefit analysis to estimate the value of the unique cluster of activities associated with live music making in Australia. As this report includes the first known valuation of live music as an economic, social and cultural ecosystem within a defined region, we also identify several new directions for future research.

Download the full report here

Key findings:

  1. Live music spending in Australia delivers at least 3:1 benefit-to-cost ratio;
  2. Nationally, an estimated 65,000 full and part-time jobs are created by monies spent on live music (page 39), with taxation revenue generated for all tiers of government,;
  3. Food and drink is the number one expense for those attending a live music performance equating to 29.3 per cent of the total spend;
  4. Expenditure on tickets comes in second at 19.2 per cent of spend, followed by travel at 17.6 per cent and accommodation at 12.4 per cent;
  5. Audiences are prepared to travel significant distances to attend live music, and this demonstrates live music is a source of regional competitive advantage
  6. Live Music attendance was identified by punters and venues as contributing to improved health and wellbeing.

Funding Partners