UTAS Research

The Value Of Live Music Making In Australia, 2014

The value of live music making in Australia to the entire community is the sum of the benefits enabled. This study estimates these to be worth 15.7 billion dollars in 2014.

This figure is significantly greater than previous estimates based on price or economic impact; however, it is likely to be an underestimation given the limitations of the available data and forensic techniques.

Table 5: The Value of Live Music Making in Australia, 2014 ($m)


On its own, 15.7 billion dollars is a fairly meaningless sum. The power of numbers lies in their ability to provide a standardised basis for comparison, and—short of performing the same exercise for every other human activity—a top-line valuation of every human endeavour is impractical, if not impossible.

For that reason this study contrasts the net value of live music making in Australia with the cost of inputs. It can be seen that for every dollar invested by the community, over three dollars are returned.

Cost benefit analyses of this type within the live music landscape are rare, yet the findings of this study speak for themselves. If you could guarantee a minimum annual return of 300 per cent on every dollar commercially invested, then there would be a run on the banks tomorrow.

It is beyond the brief of this project to make recommendations as to how government investment in live music making in Australia can be made more efficient. That would require the application of the model to specific programs and policy contingencies. The results reported nevertheless reveal a number of outcomes that should be of particular interest to the community.

This analysis has shown that, because the external benefits of live music making in Australia exceed the social costs, the outcome is in fact efficient. We conclude that those who invest their time and money in enabling live music making in Australia are supporting the common good. Hopefully this report can educate readers to the economically real and significant value of live music making in Australia.

Although there are a number of limitations to the findings that would benefit from future research, the opportunity now exists for decision makers in both industry and government to leverage this framework for continual improvement in the marketing and delivery of their services.

For every dollar invested

Opportunities for Future Research

This study has identified a number of gaps in our understanding of the empirical impacts of live music making in Australia. Future research is therefore encouraged in the following areas:

  • Future research into the value of live music making should source data from:
    • a representative national sample of the consumer population(s) under consideration, and
    • shadow-market investors, including volunteers, businesses and government.
  • The development of a live music satellite account will comprehensively resolve the extent to which live music making directly impacts on the Australian economy.
    • Incidental expenses recommended for inclusion in a satellite account include included baby-sitting, car parking, hearing protection, cameras and multimedia devices, and recreational drugs; as is the inclusion where relevant of the instruments of live music production.
  • The input / output model used in this study made significant State-wide generalisations, particularly about imports, that may or may not have accurately reflected the actual flow of transactions in live music making in Australia micro-economy. Although collation and integration of the level of detail required to customise the model was beyond the means of this study, larger applications of the I/O method should consider this.
  • The impact of live music on the productivity of consumers and any employer-enjoyed surpluses they carry forward into their work.
  • Quantification of the full-suite of live music costs and benefits attributable to civil society, including:
    • volunteering
    • health
    • criminal and social justice
    • brand impacts on exports (such as tourism), and
    • civic engagement.
  • An examination of the indirect benefits non-users of live music might experience and the value that they place on these. This study assumed, by omission, that non-users of live music in the survey period received zero well-being benefits or satisfaction from it. Our survey method was not sensitive to this, and future studies should consider locating this value.
  • Greater sensitivity analysis and the modelling of various efficiency-based scenarios to better inform policy makers at all levels on the costs and benefits of future live music investment in Australia.