Even in tough economic times, the music business is big business.
In 2009/10, each Australian household spent an estimated $380 on music-related goods and services, totalling over $2 billion economy-wide. That’s more than they spent on internet charges, dental fees or domestic holiday airfares.
We all know the music industry is changing fast – but overall household spending on music is steady, confirming the enduring importance of music to Australian communities.
Government funding of $330 million ensures art museums can open their doors for free to over 10 million visitors a year. This represents a cost of $0.04 per Australian per day.
Visual arts organisations also lead the arts sector in generating private sector support for their work, generating 24% of the $221 million donations and sponsorship earned by the arts in 2009-10.
After many years of declining revenues the recorded music market is steady, thanks to rising digital sales.
Physical sales revenue continues to fall, but digital sales are growing faster as fans buy more online, and embrace subscription services such as Spotify.
Australians agree that playing an instrument is fun, a good way of expressing yourself, and gives a sense of accomplishment.
One third of kids learn to play musical instruments outside of school, and 70% of adults end up wishing they had learned.
There’s no denying the music business is big business, contributing to the Australian economy and employing tens of thousands of Australians.
But most artists earn small amounts from their creative work. Less than 200 musicians and composers earned over $100,000 from their creative practice in 2007/08 – and the median creative income for performing musicians was $7,200.
While women represent 45 percent of those with a music qualification and 50 percent of those that study music, they make up just 20 percent of those registered to receive royalties.
There are significantly more male songwriters and musicians in Australia.
Unlike the musician population, two thirds of all music teachers are women, highlighting different career paths for men and women in the music industry.
Relative to the global market for visual art, the Australian market is small. In 2011, Australian auction sales represented 0.6% of the total global auction market.
China is emerging as the largest visual arts market in the world in terms of auction sales, recording $5 billion in 2012 (41% of the global auction market) – highlighting big opportunities for Australia in the future.
In 2012, over 43% of children aged 5 to 14 did arts and craft as a recreational activity outside of school hours.
Similar numbers of kids visit museums and galleries each year (43%), making visual arts one of the most common way children engage with the arts.
Japanese artists are big in Japan, but US and British artists are big in Australia.
Our market favours international acts, with just 16 Australian artists making the Top 100 singles in ARIA’s End of Decade Singles (2000-2009).
1.2 million kids do arts and crafts for fun, and almost 2 million adults make crafts like woodwork, jewellery and ceramics.
Creating visual arts and crafts is also the most popular form of creative activity by Australians, with one in five participating.
This makes craft more popular than Twitter, which has 1.2 million users in Australia.