In the 2006 census around 7,800 people reported primary musician occupations such as instrumental musicians, singers, composers or music directors. This increased slightly to around 7,900 in the 2011 census.
Relative to the 12,500 thought to be currently practicing professionally, or the 60,000 of those registered with APRA | AMCOS, it is clear that considerable numbers of musicians are not working in musician occupations as their main job.
Looking at specific types of music practice suggests that composers/arrangers are the least likely to be practicing as their main job, whereas instrumental players are most likely to.
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.
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).
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.
In addition to major ticketed events, live music brings millions of fans into venues such as hotels, clubs, cafes and restaurants. In 2011, it was estimated to generate 41.97 million attendances, and leverage $1.21 billion revenue through audience spending in licensed live music venues.
With 6,300 such gigs each week across the country, live music also helps to sustain almost 15,000 jobs.
Australians purchased almost 100 million sound recordings in 2011, including CDs, vinyl, digital tracks and music ringtones. Audience demand for major music performances reached over 10 million tickets in 2010/11 – generating sales of more than $1 billion.
This means Aussies are consuming music faster than ever.
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.
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.
Almost all Australians intentionally listen to music weekly or more, and 57% attend live music events each year, making music the biggest art form in Australia.
By comparison, only 42% of us undertake physical activity for sport, recreation or exercise weekly or more.
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.