According to Throsby and Zednik, artists are optimistic about new technologies. Almost nine in ten artists believe that technology will open up more creative opportunities in the future (85%), with 60% of them thinking it was likely or very likely for new technologies to improve their income earning potential.
A number of professional artists were using the internet to create art in 2009, mainly to create collaborative or interactive art with other artists, or to create artistic work using social networking websites.
With increasing accessibility to the internet (nine in ten Australians have access) through a variety of devices, the way people interact with the arts has been transformed.
Double the number of Australians now use the internet in some way to engage with the arts, two thirds in 2013 compared to one third in 2009.
Over half of Australians (56 percent) receptively participated online in the last 12 months by watching or downloading art. The main activities in this area were downloaded music (45 percent) and around three in ten accessed e-books (31 percent), viewed visual arts (30 percent) and watched performances (27 percent).
Almost one quarter of Australians creatively participated online by creating, sharing or selling art on the internet.
The Australia Council’s research ‘Connecting:// arts audiences online’ found the internet to be a powerful tool for the arts in broadening and deepening engagement with audiences.
The research showed that a majority of Australians arts audiences were already using the internet in relation to attending arts events in 2010. Arts audiences were found to conduct a range of activities on line, particularly in terms of researching events, planning their outing, and conducting follow up activities such as sharing photos.
The research also showed significant interest in using the internet to engage more with artists and arts organisations in future. For instance, whilst just 15 percent of Australians had interacted online with artists and event organisers in researching events, 33 percent were interested to do so in future.
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.
In terms of digital consumption, Australia was the first market in the world where our growth in digital outpaced our fall in physical sales, even prior to the uptake of music streaming subscription services Spotify, Deezer and Rdio.
IFPI estimated the digital music market accounted for 47 percent of Australia’s recorded music sales in 2012 (up from 38 percent in 2011), placing it in 5th position amongst the leading markets in terms of digital uptake internationally.
The IFPI notes a range of factors boosting the digital music sector internationally, including major players expanding their services into new markets, new players entering the market, the emergence of new partnerships, the continued advance of subscription services and ad-supported streams, better monetisation around music videos, positive developments in the legal environment in specific countries and the rapid growth in devices such as smartphones and tablets.
Overall sales figures released by ARIA show that the dollar value of sales of sound recordings and music videos has decreased by 12% in 2013, following a slight increase in 2012.
While physical sales have continued to decline, digital sales have grown rapidly over the last four years and now account for 55% of the total market at $192.3 million, overtaking physical music products for the first time.
The ‘a la carte’ model (where the consumer pays per track or per album) has contributed to a trend towards sales of single tracks, away from albums.
Single digital tracks now make up the majority of units sold. However their smaller average unit price means they only account for 27 percent of wholesale market value.
CD album sales have fallen from around 50 million units in 2006 to 20 million units in 2013, yet they still make up 40 percent of market value, with higher average unit prices than digital music.
The number of consumers subscribing to music services globally is estimated to have increased by nearly 65 per cent in 2011, reaching more than 13 million people. IFPI believes the subscription model is supplementing the tens of millions of consumers using download services, and noted no ‘cannibalisation’ of the digital download market in its Digital Music Report 2012.
In Australia, the availability of an increasing number of services is expected to fuel further growth in the digital market in the future.
As of March 2012, there were an estimated 32 legitimate digital music services in Australia.
Based on 2010 findings, Music Rights Australia reports that around 2.8 million Australians download unauthorised music via file sharing networks every year. A quarter of these individuals claim to do this every month (700,000 Australians).
Recent international research estimates the practice is even bigger, with 28 per cent of internet users thought to access unauthorised services on a monthly basis.
Research on BitTorrent (the most used file sharing P2P protocol worldwide with 100 million regular users) in Australia found that 89.9 percent of all torrent files from the sample examined were confirmed to be infringing copyrighted content. Of the files in the top three categories (movies, music and TV shows), there were no legal torrent files in the sample.
The number of retail music stores has declined in the past decade. In the early 2000’s the number of stores contributing data to the ARIA charts included around 1,100 stores. Today there are closer to 600 specialty music stores.
Over that time there has been a significant reduction in the number of chain locations, whilst some smaller specialist retailers have sustained their businesses servicing a small but committed customer base away from high traffic shopping centres.
According to the Australian Music Retailers Association (AMRA), some of the key factors affecting the retail business include:
- Declining average unit prices
- Rise of digital downloads
- Unauthorised file sharing
- International online retailers (eg Amazon)
- Increased cost of rental spaces.
In addition to specialty music stores, music products are also sold though supermarkets, at petrol stations, markets and performances.
Australian business expenditure on music broadcasting is well established, with APRA | AMCOS collections from TV and radio continuing to grow in excess of $100 million. Licence fees earned from live public performances and live events are also significant.
Digital and online spending reported by APRA | AMCOS exceeded $30 million in 2011-12 – having grown substantially each year for the past five years.
Live music audiences were more likely than other arts audiences to use the internet at almost all stages when attending a music event.
Popular music attendees were more likely than attendees of opera, classical music and musical theatre to use the internet at various stages of their attendance journey. For example, musical festival attendees were more likely than other music attendees to engage in online word of mouth before (42 percent vs. 28 percent) and after the event (53 percent vs. 37 percent). Meanwhile, opera attendees were less likely than other music attendees to engage in online word of mouth both prior to (16 percent vs. 28 percent) or after an event (18 percent vs. 34 percent).
While opera attendees were also less likely to further enrich their experience by accessing online images and video before or after the event, they were more likely than other music attendees to have an interest in being able to do this (29 percent vs. 13 percent after the event).
Figure 30 - Use of the internet at each stage of the 'attendance journey' - arts attendees and live music attendees
|Total arts attendees||Live music attendees|
|At the event||31%||32%|
|After the event||66%||73%|
E-newsletters from ticketing organisations were the most frequent online tool used to build awareness of live music events.
Eight in ten live music attendees booked their event between a few weeks to three months or more in advance.
In terms of online engagement, art galleries reported almost 12 million unique online visits in 2007-08, and almost 50 million page views during that year.
This far exceeds the website visitation of social history and historic site websites, but is less than that of ‘other museums’, including natural history and science museums such as Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum.
Table 3 - Summary of on-line visits to non-commercial art galleries/museums in Australia
|Museum type||No. of museums||Total webpage views||Total unique visits||Average unique visits per museum|
|Social history museums||712||27495||8704||12|
The very nature of visual arts attendance is more spontaneous than attendance for other art events and there is often no need to plan or research the event prior to attending (particularly since attendance at most events does not require a booking). As such visual arts attendees were less likely to engage online before, during or after the event.
However, visual arts festival attendees were more likely than other visual arts attendees to engage online before and after the event. For example, visual arts festival attendees were more likely to engage in online word of mouth before (36 percent vs. 22 percent) and after (37 percent vs. 26 percent) the event.
Craft festival and fair attendees were also more likely than other visual arts attendees to engage in online word of mouth before (39 percent vs. 22 percent), but less likely to do this after the event (18 percent vs. 26 percent).
With current low levels of online engagement, private gallery attendees were interested in the prospect of accessing online images and videos before attending events in future.
Table 7 - Use of the internet at each stage of the 'attendance journey' - arts attendees and visual arts and craft attendees
|Total arts attendees||Visual arts attendees|
|At the event||31%||29%|
|After the event||66%||60%|
A small proportion of visual arts event attendees (such as visitors to a gallery or attendees at craft fairs) used the internet at events in 2010.
However, there was strong interest to do so in future. Key areas of interest include:
- Finding out more information about events and artists
- Receiving information from event organisers
- Engaging with the creators or contributing to the event.