Building Markets - Industry - Overview

Australian households spend $6.5 billion a year on arts-related goods and services – more than dairy products or household appliances

In 2009-10, Australian households spent $15 per week on arts-related products, equating to approximately $6.5 billion economy-wide.

This spending is related to receptive enjoyment of the arts at home such as listening to music (57 percent), attending arts events (21 percent) and creatively participating in the arts (22 percent).

Key items of spending included books ($4.64 per week), culture courses ($2.00 per week) and music concerts ($1.89 per week).


Spending on the arts increased by 7 percent between 2003-04 and 2009-10, creating more commercial opportunities for the arts

Spending on the arts increased by 7 percent between 2003-04 and 2009-10, after adjusting for inflation.

Spending associated with attending the arts grew the fastest, but still represents the smallest component of spending.

Looking at individual categories, the highest growth rates occurred in music concert fees and charges, paintings, carvings and sculptures, and portable music players.

Spending on musical instruments and accessories, CD players and pre-recorded compact discs and records (audio) decreased over the period.


Spending on entertainment and media is expected to continue growing at 3 percent a year to 2018

PwC’s Australian Entertainment and Media Outlook 2014-2018 predicts that Australia’s total entertainment and media market will continue to grow at a 3.4 percent compound annual growth rate to reach $39.8 billion in 2018.[1]

Much of this growth is related to Australian internet access spending, which consists of consumer fees paid to internet service providers for broadband plans, wireless mobile services and data cards, and dial-up access.

Strong growth in the Australian music sector is largely driven by the digital distribution market which is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 6 percent between 2014 and 2018.

The live music sector in Australia remain important. However, the fluctuating Australian dollar and recent changes in the festival market means international touring is no longer a guaranteed success.

[1] Including Consumer and educational books, Consumer magazines, Filmed entertainment, Free-to-air television, Interactive games, Internet, Music, Newspapers, Radio and Subscription television.


Creative and performing arts industries contribute less than half the economic value of broadcasting, but have double the employment

Based on statistics for selected industries published by the ABS, the creative and performing arts industry is bigger than the heritage sector, in terms of total income and industry value-added. [1] However, it is smaller than the broadcasting, printing and publishing industries.

Around 37,000 people are employed in the creative and performing arts industry, which is comparable in size to the motion picture industry, and high relative to the income of the sector.[2]

The creative and performing arts industry grew in size between 2007-08 and 2009-10 across all metrics.

[1] As defined by ANZIC 2006. This includes industries engaged in performing arts operation, Creative Artists, Musicians, Writers and Performers and performing arts venue operation.

Industry value added (IVA) represents the value added by an industry to the intermediate inputs used by the industry. IVA is the measure of the contribution by businesses in the selected industry to Australia’s gross domestic product.

[2] Note that this is based on a single industry and so differs from Cunningham and Higgs’ analysis of the 2011 census (which takes into account a number of creative occupations and industries using the trident approach. See the report for more details).

Figure 36 - Industry metrics for selected cultural industries

EmploymentTotal income
($ million)
Industry value-added
($ million)
Printing (including the reproduction of recorded media)50,0009,2524,034
Publishing (except Internet and music publishing) 49,00013,1817,091
Motion picture and sound recording activities36,0006,7522,157
Broadcasting (except Internet)18,0009,3374,052
Creative and performing arts activities37,0003,5011,441
Internet publishing and broadcasting5,000947392
Library and other information services1,000209107
Heritage activities6,000705366


International Connections - Global - Overview
Tag : economics

Cultural tourism reached a high in 2012 with almost 3 million international tourists and 23 million domestic cultural and heritage tourists.

The 2012 International Visitor Survey showed that 48 percent of all overseas visitors had attended at least one cultural attraction while in Australia. Of these 58 percent had visited an art gallery or museum and 20 percent attended theatre, concerts or other performing arts events.


Australia imports more cultural goods and services than it exports

In 2008-09, Australia earned $747m through the provision of cultural goods ($584m) and cultural and recreational services ($163m) to the rest of the world. By comparison, in the same year Australia imported $3,259.9m of cultural goods and $1,329m of cultural and recreational services from overseas. [1]

[1] The ABS calculates data on Australia's international trade in services on a balance of payments basis. Please see explanatory note for ‘International Trade in Services by Country, by State and by Detailed Services Category, Financial Year’ (cat. no. 5368.0.55.003) for further details.


The value of art-related goods exports has been declining

The export of arts-related goods declined by 21 percent from 2005-06 to 2009-10. In particular, exports to the UK and USA have decreased, while the value of exports to China, Japan, Papua New Guinea and Canada has increased slightly since 2005-06.

New Zealand is our primary export market for arts-related products, including books, magazines, audio and video media, exposed photographic and cinematographic media and artistic works, and musical instruments.


Many tourists to Australia engage in cultural activities

The 2012 International Visitor Survey by Tourism Research Australia, showed around half (48 percent) of all overseas visitors attended at least one cultural attraction while in Australia, on par with 2009 levels.

Of these, 58 percent had visited a museum or art gallery and 20 percent attended theatre, concert or other performing arts.

Many also experienced Indigenous culture, with 19 percent ‘experiencing Aboriginal art/craft and cultural displays’, and 9 percent ‘visiting an Aboriginal site/community’.

International cultural and heritage visitors create economic benefits through longer stays and higher spending patterns than other tourists. In 2012, the average amount spent per trip was $5,956 compared with other international visitors who spent on average $3,779. This resulted in total spending of $16.3 billion in 2012.

In 2009, visitors from Asia (mostly China, Japan and Korea) accounted for 36 percent of all international cultural and heritage visitors. The United Kingdom and New Zealand accounted for a further 15 percent and 13 percent respectively.

The most popular destinations in 2009 for both international and domestic cultural heritage visitors were New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria, while rates of participation in cultural and heritage activities were higher in the Northern Territory, the Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania.


Cultural tourists spend twice as much as other tourists, creating important economic impacts

During 2012, Australians took 12 million day trips and 11 million overnight trips involving participation in cultural and heritage activities in Australia.

Overnight cultural and heritage visitors accounted for 15 percent of all overnight trips, and spent a collective 60 million nights at least 40 kilometres from home.

Visiting museums or art galleries was the most popular cultural activity for both domestic overnight visitors (46 percent visiting) and day trippers (38 percent visiting). Attending theatre concerts or other performing arts attracted 20 percent of overnight visitors and 22 percent of day visitors.

Just 2 percent of domestic overnight visitors experience Indigenous art or craft or cultural displays (compared to 19 percent of international visitors), and 2 percent visit an Indigenous site or community (compared to 9 percent of international visitors).

As with international visitors, domestic cultural tourists spend significantly more on their trips than other tourists, creating higher economic impacts. The average amount spent per trip was $1,008 compared with other domestic tourists, who spent on average $611 per trip.

Domestic travellers represent 89 percent of all cultural tourists, with over 20 million visitors in 2012. Across both international and domestic markets, the number of cultural visitors has grown at a rate of 3.7 percent per year since 2000.


Funding Sustainability - Support - Overview

Government support for the arts has remained stable since 2007-08

Total government funding for arts and culture was $7 billion in 2012-13. Funding for the arts was around a fifth of this (approximately $1.5 billion). It has been relatively stable since 2007-08, with a slight increase in 2011-12.[1]

Australian Government (federal) funding to the arts has declined slightly from $477 million in 2007-08 to $419 million in 2012-13. However, State/Territory government funding has increased from $757 million in 2007-08 to $915 million in 2012-13. Local government funding has increased slightly from $134 million in 2007-08 to $154 million in 2009-10 (and an estimated $167 million in 2012-13*).

The level of federal government funding for the arts is likely to change over the next four years with the commitment of $75.3 million in additional funding to the Australia Council in the 2013-14 Federal Budget, to implement the recommendations made in the Review of the Australia Council.

Although State/Territory government funding increased from 2007-08 to 2011-12, it has since taken a general downward trend and State government budget cuts to the arts in 2014-15 are also likely to have an impact on the future trends in State/Territory funding for arts and culture.

[1] Includes funding for art museums, literature and print media, music performance, drama, dance, music theatre and opera, other performing arts, performing arts venues, music composition and publishing, visual arts and crafts and other arts.

* Note that detailed funding at the local government level was not reported by the ABS after 2009-10. Our data uses estimates of local government funding for later years based on the funding levels provided in previous years. Please note these are estimates only.


Visual arts attracts significant public funding for art museums

All artforms are supported with public funding in 2012-13, including:

  • Visual arts - $382 million[1]

-Art museums – $317 million[2]

-Visual arts and craft - $65 million

  • Performing arts (including music, dance, theatre and other performing arts) - $702 million[3]

-Music – $174 million

-Dance – $37million

-Theatre – $62 million

-Performing art venues - $270 million

  • Literature – $46 million.

There is also substantial funding for ‘other arts’ items, which includes cross-artform activities.

[1] Includes an estimated $61 million for art museums from local government. This is an estimate only as detailed data was not available for 2012-13. Excluding the estimated local government funding, there was $256 million in support for art museums in 2012-13.

[2] Includes an estimated $61 million for art museums from local government. This is an estimate only as detailed data was not available for 2012-13. Excluding the estimated local government funding, there was $256 million in support for art museums in 2012-13.

[3] Includes an estimated $106 million for performing arts from local government. This is an estimate only as detailed data was not available for 2012-13. Excluding the estimated local government funding, there was $596 million in support for performing arts in 2012-13.


Australia Council provides around $175 million funding to support the arts in Australia

Australia Council provided around $175 million in grant and project funding to artists and arts organisations in 2012-13.[1] Of this, $98.5 million went to MPA companies, $21 million to Key Organisations, $26.8 million to board grants and over $28 million to Council and Government initiatives.

In the 2013-14 Federal Budget, a $75.3 million increase in funding over four years was confirmed for the Australia Council to implement the recommendations made in the Review of the Australia Council.

This funding supported over 1000 individual artists, 168 arts organisations, the creation of almost 9000 new works and the presentation of over 7000 new works. There were over 15 million attendances at Australia Council-supported activities.

The Australia Council’s total funding for 2012–13 included:

  • $8.7 million for international activities by Australian artists and arts organisations
  • $7.9 million for arts and cultural activities with a predominantly Indigenous focus
  • $21.1 million for arts and cultural activities with a predominantly regional focus.

In terms of changes over time, the total value of funding has decreased slightly over time from $177 million in 2009-10 to $175 million in 2012-13 in real terms. However, the number of grants and projects supported has continued to increase.

The amount of funding supporting artists internationally has increased ($8.7 million in 2012-13 from $6.8 million in 2009-10). Around two thirds of the artists supported by the Australia Council in 2012-13 engaged in some type of international activity (63%).

[1] This is approximately 40 percent of the total Federal government spending on the arts, as shown in Figure 64. (The Australia Council is an arms-length body of the Federal government).

Figure 68 - Trends in Australia Council’s funding and performance

Total funding in 2012-13 value$ million177.5171.4168.2174.8
Grants and projects#1 8731 8971 9222 021
Organisations funded: Key Organisations in 2012-13 value$ million22.923.121.921.2
Organisations funded: Major Performing arts in 2012-13 value$ million102.4101.099.598.5
Grants to organisations#1 1211 0851 0191 039
Grants to individual artists (funded directly)#752812903982
Grants to individual artists devolved through organisations / companies#14310510837
Countries presented in#58666576
Grants supporting Australian artists internationally in 2012-13 value$ million6.
Grants supporting Australian artists internationally#362418578620


Regularly funded arts organisations received $260 million in government support in 2011-12

The Key Organisations and MPAs regularly funded by the Australia Council received $260 million in government support in 2011-12. Just over half was Federal government funding (55%) and 42 percent was funding from the States and Territories.[1]

While the Key Organisations received a similar amount of support from both the Federal and State governments, the MPAs received almost two-thirds of their government funding from Federal government (61%).

[1] Arts organisations data is based on acquittal information and is subject to change based on updated data received from the Key Organisations and MPAs.

Figure 69 – Government funding for Key and Major Performing Arts Organisations

Key Organisations ($)Major Performing Arts Organisations ($)
Federal government42,749,042101,247,750
States and territories47,328,41262,456,327
Local government2,851,180818,750
Others and overseas2,756,009255,786


Regular Australia Council funding supports many arts organisations to engage thousands of artists

The Australia Council supported 168 arts organisations with regular funding in 2012, including performing arts producers, galleries, arts and craft centres, festivals and service organisations.[1]

These organisations employ and contract thousands of artists and creative professionals each year.

The Major Performing Arts sector employed over 1,500 [2] artists and creative practitioners in 2012, including 863 permanent full-time staff. Orchestras employ more artists and creative practitioners (664) than opera (412), theatre (234) and dance (218) organisations.

Employment across most art forms is found to be a mixture of both full-time and casual contracts when comparing full-time equivalent (FTE) and headcount. Theatres lean more towards casual and contract employment as reflected by the notable difference between headcount (1368) and FTE (234)

[1] Arts organisations data is based on acquittal information and is subject to change based on updated data received from the Key Organisations and MPAs.

[2] Full time equivalent employee numbers. The actual number employed as artists/ creatives in 2012 was 5,552 people


Regularly funded arts organisations produced around 900 new Australian art works in 2012

In 2012, organisations that receive regular funding from the Australia Council produced almost 900 new Australian works for premiere seasons, showings or first time publication.[1]

Most new works are performing arts or cross-artform works, with smaller numbers of visual art works and publishing works of literature.

The trend in number of new Australian works produced by the key and major performing arts organisations supported by Australia Council has varied by artform. Theatre has seen increases in number of new Australian works from 2010 (123) to 2012 (212), while visual arts increased in 2011 (from 131 in 2010 to 233 in 2011) and then declined in 2012 (164). Many other artforms have produced a relatively steady number of new Australian works, except for cross-artform, which has seen a decline in 2012.

[1] Arts organisations data is based on acquittal information and is subject to change based on updated data received from the Key Organisations and MPAs


Since 2010 regularly funded arts organisations have generated around 10 million attendances annually

Arts organisations regularly funded by the Australia Council attracted almost 11 million attendances to exhibitions and performances in Australia in 2012, an increase from the 9 million attendances in 2011.[1] In addition these arts organisations distributed over 2.5 million copies of their publications in 2012.[2]

In 2012, the majority of these attendances were at visual arts events (5.8 million) – an increase on 2011 and reflecting cyclical visitation patterns led by biennial arts events. Of the 4.6 million performing arts attendances, Music and Theatre both saw around 1.9 million attendances in 2012, which was higher than 2011.

The Major Performing Arts organisations generated 77 percent of performing arts attendances in 2012. The remainder of attendances were generated by the 140 Key Organisations.

[1] Arts organisations data is based on acquittal information and is subject to change based on updated data received from the Key Organisations and MPAs

[2] Publications includes books, art publications (publically available), newsletters (excludes membership newsletter), journals (literary, art and industry/sector), magazines(literary, art and industry/sector), catalogues and programs (publically available), sector publications (publically available), other publications (excluding annual reports)


Major Performing Arts Organisations have become more financially stable

With support through inter-governmental funding agreements, Australia’s 28 Major Performing Arts Organisations have improved their financial position over time.

Overall income of the organisations has grown by 34 percent in real terms between 2001 and 2012. Expenses also increased, but at a lower rate of 31 percent, resulting in increased profitability.

On average, the MPA organisations are less reliant on public funding than they were in 2001, with earned revenue and private sector support representing a higher proportion of their income. In 2012 the sector earned around $1.47 for every dollar of government funding, a small increase from $1.22 in 2001.[1]

[1] Expressed in 2012 dollars for comparison


Grants are important in supporting artists to spend more time on their art

According to Throsby and Zednik, an estimated 45 percent of artists applied for a grant, prize or other funding between 2004 and 2009, up from 41 percent between 1996 and 2001. Around two-thirds of artists that applied for funding were successful in their applications over the course of 5 years (65 percent success rate for applications).

Income maintenance was seen as the most important purpose of funding by 57 percent of artists, and a further 18 percent felt that the key purpose of funding for them was to support publication, showing or performance of new work.

A recent longitudinal study of early career artists suggested that grant funding may provide stability for artists to maintain the amount of time they spend on creative practice activity, with those artists who had not received any grants funding over the three years of the study showing the largest decreases in the time invested in their practice.

Artists highlighted a number of effects that receiving grants, prizes or other funding had on their creative practice:

  • Over half of artists that received funding felt that it gave them freedom from financial worries and allowed them to devote more time to their creative practice
  • Half felt that it gave them stimulus to continue their work
  • Four in ten artists said that it enabled them to travel overseas
  • 40 percent said that it helped with marketing and promoting their work


Grants provide a variety of benefits for early career artists

Australia Council longitudinal research explored the impact of grants for early career artists.

The research design compares those who have received Australia Council grants and those who have not. This allows us to better understand the impact of Australia Council grants, controlling for factors shared between these two groups such as the personal characteristics associated with making an application in the first instance, and any changes over time in the surrounding economic and social circumstances. However, it should be noted that any differences observed over time are likely to be due to both the impact of the grant and the influence of any pre-existing differences between successful and unsuccessful applicants. So that we can be more confident in our assessment of the role of the grants themselves, we ask artists directly about the impact of their grant, as well as observing changes in their career over time.

Overall, direct benefits reported by artists were feeling encouraged to continue as an artist and feeling more confident as an artist. Other notable impacts of Australia Council grants include giving credibility to the work or practice of artists, helping to develop artists’ own practice, and helping artists to develop networks and contacts with other artists.

Three years after receiving the grant artists who received Australia Council grants had made more career progress than artists who did not receive a grant. On average, they spend a greater proportion of time on their creative practice (47 percent compared to 43 percent for non-grant recipients) and report higher total income (average around $38,000 compared to $34,000 for non-recipients) and creative income (average around $14,200 compared to $11,700 for non-recipients).

They were more likely to have a career plan or strategy in place (81 percent had a plan in place compared to 73 percent of non-recipients), to have conducted a range of networking activities, and to do the type of artistic activities that characterise an establishing rather than an emerging artist (80 percent were categorized as an establishing artists compared to 75 percent of non-recipients).

Figure 75 - Comparison of recipients of early career artist grants vs. non-recipients on a variety of measures in year 3

Australia Council grant recipientsNon-recipients of Australia Council grants
Proportion of time spent on creative practice (%)4743
Proportion of income earned from creative work (%)3734
Confidence in future (mean rating out of 10)6.96.4
Artistic fulfilment (mean rating out of 10)6.76.0
Have a plan / strategy in place (%)8173
Been involved in interstate work (%)6144
Been involved in international work (%)4842
Engaged in establishing artist activity in last 12 months (%)8075


State/territory funding for artists is a key source of financial assistance

Around three in ten practising professional artists received a grant, prize or other funding between 2004 and 2009 (29 percent).

State/Territory agencies were the most applied to source of financial assistance. Additionally, applications to state/territory agencies had the highest success rate, with six in ten applicants receiving funding.

Just over 2 in 10 artists applied for a grant, prize or other funding from Australia Council, but less than half of those were successful (43 percent success rate).

Figure 76 - Sources of financial assistance applied for between 2004 and 2009

Applied (%)Approved (%)Success rate (%)
State / Territory agency261660
Australia Council21943
Arts organisation or company17951
Local government11655
Private foundation10443
Non arts organisation or company5348


Regularly funded organisations are active in the regions

Regional artists make up about a third of the artist population (31 percent) and are just as likely to apply for financial assistance as metro artists. However, they are less likely to apply to the Australia Council than to state or territory government bodies; and they are less likely to apply to the Australia Council than metro artists (17 percent vs. 23 percent).

One in five Key Organisations between 2008 and 2010 were regionally based, while two thirds of all Key Organisations engaged in some form of regional activity. Just over half of all regional activity was conducted by regionally based organisations (55 percent), but many metro based organisations were also active in the regions (45 percent).

The number of MPA organisations conducting regional activity increased between 2008 and 2010. In fact by 2010, 25 of the 28 MPA organisations engaged in regional activity, accounting for one fifth of all activity conducted between 2009 and 2010.


Career prospects and earning potential - Creation - Music
Tag : economics

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.


Music teaching is the biggest employment market in the music industry

Practising professional musicians note some of the factors inhibiting their professional development are a lack of work opportunities, lack of financial return from creative practice, and a lack of time to do creative work due to other pressures and responsibilities.

With too few professional music opportunities, professional musicians and other artists undertake arts-related work (mainly teaching music) and non-arts related work to support their creative practice.

Their non-creative work generally generates higher financial returns than creative work (musicians generate 44 percent of their income from creative practice, despite devoting 52 percent of their working hours).

The 2006 Census found high and increasing levels of employment in music teaching relative to other music occupations, which remained stable in the 2011 Census.

In terms of the size of the labour market, this means teaching music is one of the best opportunities for finding work in music.

Unlike the musician population, two thirds of all music teachers are women, suggesting women are working as teachers as opposed to practising artists.


Musicians leverage their skills in other industries to complement their creative incomes

Whilst they face challenging financial conditions, Musicians are able to leverage their skills in other occupations and industries. Throsby and Zednik estimate that musicians and composers fare better than other artists, having higher annual incomes that have fared better over time (most artist incomes have not kept pace with inflation). Composers are one of the only groups to have increased their incomes over time in real terms.

Two-thirds of practising professional musicians and composers are able to cover their costs of living with their total arts and non-arts income (65 percent and 63 percent respectively) – compared with smaller proportions of other types of artists.


Household consumption of music - Industry - Music
Tag : economics

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.


At over $2 billion, Australian households spend more on music than they spend on domestic holiday airfares

In 2009-10, each Australian household spent an estimated $380 on music-related goods and services, totalling over $2 billion economy-wide. As a point of comparison, other items of household spending of a similar value included internet charges, dental fees and domestic holiday airfares.

Table 7 - Spending by Australian households on music-related goods and services

Total annual expenditure by households ($m)%
Audio equipment97948%
Other recreational equipment12863%
Total music related2034100%
Total spending on goods and services334,034
Music as a proportion of total spending0.6%


Key music products consumed by Australian households are concert tickets, recorded music and music players

The largest single items of expenditure on music related to music concert fees and charges, with Australian households spending almost $100 per year. Other notable items included portable music players, home entertainment systems and pre-recorded CDs and records.


Spending on recorded media has fallen whilst concert and nightclub ticket purchases has increased

In real terms, spending on music by households is relatively steady – with only a slight decrease in real terms between 2003-04 and 2009-10.

Spending on services such as music concerts and fees has risen, whilst there has been a decrease in spending on media such as CDs and records to half what it was in 2003-04.

Table 8 - Spending by Australian households on music-related goods and services – 2003-04 and 2009-10

Weekly household expenditure 2009-10 ($)Weekly household expenditure 2003-04 ($)% change in real terms
Audio equipment3.523.345%
Media (e.g. CDs and records)0.921.96-53%
Musical instruments0.460.80-43%
Services (Concerts and nightclubs)2.411.5061%
Total music related7.317.60-4%
Total spending on goods and services1,236.281,061.3116%


Musical instrument sales - Industry - Music

Imports of musical instruments have dropped back to 2004 levels, with weakened domestic sales

Information received from the Australian Music Association (AMA) based on ABS data shows declining instrument imports in 2011, after periods of solid growth in the 2000s across most categories of instruments.

According to the AMA, unit imports fell 13 percent to 1.876 million items in 2011.

In addition to a contraction in spending, the AMA suggests that significant volumes of goods are being imported directly from overseas suppliers by Australian consumers. Key factors behind this change in behaviour include the high Australian dollar, wider range and availability from international vendors, no Goods and Services Tax (GST) and competitive international freight costs.

Professional audio equipment, guitars and amps, and keyboards and pianos continue to make up the majority of the musical instrument market.


Performing industry - Industry - Music

Music concert ticket sales reached $1 billion in 2013, with 11 million attendances nationally

According to Live Performance Australia, ticket sales at surveyed music events reached just over $1 billion in 2013, across Musical Theatre, Music Festivals, Opera, Classical and Contemporary music categories.

Contemporary music performances accounted for 6 million of the 11 million attendances at ticketed music events in 2013.

Figure 10 - Revenue, attendances and average ticket price of key music performance categories

RevenueAttendancesAverage ticket price
Contemporary music$628,130,1466,266,137$110.50
Musical Theatre$193,389,7632,085,131$100.94
Music Festivals$107,367,7801,053,419$130.46
Classical Music$70,481,8411,169,643$73.18
Total music events$1,042,653,23510,919,091


Tag : economics

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.


Recording industry - Industry - Music

Digital music sales have experienced rapid growth, overtaking physical products for the first time

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.


Australia is amongst the leading digital music markets internationally

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.


Digital music has contributed to greater demand for single tracks, in place of full albums

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.


Music subscription services will continue to transform the recorded music market

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.



Unauthorised file sharing has a significant impact on the music industry

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.



Recent years have seen a decline in the number of music retail stores

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.



Physical products are evolving towards niche interests and deluxe products and packages

IFPI predicts that physical products will remain a significant element of the music industry, and notes a trend towards deluxe products or bundles with merchandise or concert tickets.

Whilst small in size, in recent years the vinyl market has reached three or four times its level in the mid-2000s, and growing sales in leading markets suggest this trend will continue in the near future.


Returns from performance and broadcast - Industry - Music
Tag : economics

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.


Large numbers of songwriters and composers share in performance royalty distributions

In 2011-12, APRA distributed over $170 million to around 244,623 writers, composers and publishers, for the public performance and communication of musical works. APRA recieved around $22 million in royalty recipets from overseas societies in 2011-12.

The number of works in each annual distribution has been growing over time – with around 726,825 unique works in the 2011-12 distribution.

In 2010-11, APRA collected and distributed over $135 million to writers and publishers. Around 15 percent of this amount ($20 million) was distributed to local songwriters and composers, and 42 percent ($56 million) to local and international publishers.[1]

Looking at local songwriters and composers - a total of 52,000 distributions were made  by APRA in 2010, totalling $20 million. Two discrete biannual distributions were made, meaning some members received two distributions. Most members received small amounts.

There were over 700,000 works represented in the 2010-11 distribution. The rights holders sharing in the distributions are approximately 18 percent local and 72 percent foreign. For example, in 2010 approximately 41,500 local rights holders and 190,500 foreign rights holders were paid distributions by APRA.

[1]   Amounts paid to publisher members are for local works as well as foreign works sub-published in APRA territory


Australia’s global ranking - Global - Music

Australia is the sixth largest music market in the world, representing three percent of the total global music market

The USA and Japan are the biggest markets for recorded music in the world, together representing more than half of all sales of recorded music in 2011. Australia ranks sixth in terms of recorded music market size, slightly ahead of Canada.


Competitiveness of Australian musicians - Global - Music

The Australian market favours international artists, to a higher degree than do other markets such as the USA, UK and Canada

International acts dominate the top selling albums in Australia.

Local acts accounted for 30 of the national top 100 albums in 2010, up from 26 in 2009, led by Angus and Julia Stone’s Down the Way at #7. In contrast, local acts account for around 50 percent of the top albums in France, Germany and Japan.

Australia ranks 34th in a list of 48 markets in terms of the proportion of local products in our recorded music market, with just 25 percent of physical products sold originating in Australia. This places us slightly behind our most comparable market, Canada.

The PPCA’s ‘most played’ lists reflect a similar picture – showing an average of 24 Australian recordings in the top 100 between 2005 and 2011 – and just an average of two in the top 10.


Few Australian artists achieve the success of international stars, but the past fifteen years have seen Australian artists increase in popularity

Over the long term, the proportion of Australian works represented in Australian record sales appears to be increasing, based on indicative estimates compiled from record industry reports to ARIA.[1]

However, the proportion fluctuates markedly from year to year, depending on particular artists’ popularity at a given time.

Analysis of Australia’s ‘most played’ lists suggests that Australian representation peaked in 2008, with 28 tracks in the Top 100 most played tracks, and 19 artists in the Top 50 most played artists.

[1]   Figures are based on reporting by record companies to ARIA, and do not constitute an analysis of total Australian sales. These figures should be viewed as indicative only.


Key international markets - Global - Music

Australia’s key export markets are the USA, UK and Europe

The key international markets for performance and broadcast of Australian music were the USA, UK and Europe.


Whilst large in size, there are challenges in relation to the Japanese music market

Recent Austrade profiles of music export opportunities focus on potential opportunities in Japan.

According to Austrade, the proportion of international music products sold in Japan is low (17%) and declining, with international acts struggling to establish themselves in the Japanese market.


Trade in music royalties - Global - Music

Historically Australians have paid more music royalties to overseas artists than they have received in return

In 2008-09 other countries paid $75m in music royalties to Australia. Australia paid more than three times this amount in royalties to international artists ($235m).

The last three years have seen the balance of trade reach the highest level since 1991-92.

APRA | AMCOS collected revenue of $20.2m from overseas collecting societies in 2010-11 – a decrease on prior years due to the appreciation of the Australian dollar.



Trade in recorded music - Global - Music

Australia’s spending on international music products exceeds our exports – with the majority relating to musical instruments

In 2005-06 Australia spent a total of $239 million on music imports and earned $12.8 million on recorded music exports. Included in this is $1.8 million earned on printed music or manuscript exports in 2005-06.

Table 9- Trade in recorded music 2005-06

Imports ($m)Exports ($m)
Music printed or in manuscript5.21.8
Recorded media for sound78.8-
Pianos and other keyboard stringed musical instruments27.81.8
Other stringed musical instruments26.32.4
Wind musical instruments19.61.1
Other musical instruments24.61.7
Musical instruments, the sound of which is produced, or must be amplified electrically56.74
Total expenditure239.012.8


Private sector giving - Support - Music

Private sector support for music organisations is strong but opportunities remain

Between 2008-09 and 2009-10, Australian music and opera organisations regularly funded by the Australia Council (a small part of the overall industry) did not increase levels of private sector support as some other organisations did. Music (down $1.7 million) and Opera (down $0.7 million) recorded the largest declines for performing arts organisations.

Looking at the major performing arts organisations, private sector support grew in 2011 with nine of the 10 organisations reporting increases on 2010 levels.

However, comparatively music and opera organisations have generated lower growth than dance organisations over time.

Only three of the 10 music and opera organisations were found to have increased their private sector earnings consistently over time.  These three companies made up 63 per cent of private sector revenue generated by music companies in 2011 and most of the increase over time.

Whilst opera companies were performing strongly in 2001, they have not grown support over time to the extent that other sectors have. In real terms, private sector support for opera has shrunk over the past 10 years.


Public funding - Support - Music

Music funding represents just a fraction of government spending on culture – and it supports just a fraction of the music industry

In 2009-10, ABS figures show funding at the national and state level was over $160 million for music performance, music theatre and opera, and music composition and publishing. This represented 2.4 percent of total cultural funding at these levels, and was relative to:

  • Heritage – 10.4 percent
  • Radio and television services – 19.5 percent
  • Environmental heritage – 20.2 percent
  • Art museums, other museums and cultural heritage – 14.2 percent
  • Libraries – 11.4 percent.


Further support for music is provided through other funding streams. For instance, State and Local Governments provide significant support to performing arts venues and facilities. In 2009-10, State and Local government expended $151.5 and $91.1 million on performing arts venues respectively.

Table 12 - Australian and State/Territory Governments spending on music

Value of funding ($m)Percentage of total funding (%)
Australian Government
Music performance64.61.0
Music theatre and opera21.70.3
Music composition and publishing2.00.0
State & Territory Governments
Music performance50.60.8
Music theatre and opera22.10.3
Music composition and publishing0.60.0
Total 161.63.4
Per person$8.42


After growth in 2007-08, public funding for music has stabilized

Public funding at the federal and state government levels remained stable in 2010-11, after growth in previous years.

2010-11 saw a slight decline in funding for music performance and music theatre and opera, and an increase in funding for music composition and publishing.


Over half of Australia Council funding goes to the music sector – with the majority supporting Australia’s orchestras and opera companies

In 2010-11, the Australia Council invested a total of $84.7 million in the music sector, including distributing $51.3 million to 6 orchestras.

$5.7 million  was provided through the Music Board to activities including the writing and recording of new music, the presentation of concerts and tours and festivals, professional development for artists.

The Music Board also supports 37 organisations through its Key Organisations and program funding. While the majority are presenting and performing organisations, this group also includes service organisations such as the Music Council of Australia.

The Major Performing Arts Board provides annual rolling funding of $72.4 million to six symphony orchestras- the Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, West Australian, Queensland and Tasmanian symphonies; one pit orchestra – Orchestra Victoria;  two chamber music organisations -the Australian Chamber Orchestra and Musica Viva Australia; a period instrument Orchestra – the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra; and four opera companies – Opera Australia, including the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra; and the West Australian, Queensland and South Australian opera companies. Each of these organisations is contracted under a tripartite/quadripartite agreement between the company, the Australian government and the relevant State funding bodies.   MPA organisations are obliged to meet specific criteria and outcomes agreed under individual funding arrangements which include demonstrating artistic vibrancy and significant sector development initiatives.

Further support for music is provided through the Arts Development Division via a range of music specific programs targeting international market development. These include foundation funding of Sounds Australia, a national export initiative established to provide a cohesive platform for the promotion of Australian music and music businesses at international markets. Other initiatives include funding for the Australasian World Music Expo and support for international touring and showcasing through International Pathways (in partnership with the Music Board) and Live On Stage.

The ATSIA division, Community Partnerships committee and Artstart program all also support individual music projects.


Public funding plays an important role in the creation of new musical works

In their survey of a sample of practising professional composers and performing musicians, Throsby & Zednik found that composers were more likely than performing musicians to apply for a grant and be successful.

Grants are often linked with the creation of new works, and Throsby and Zednik found that grant income is more significant for composers than for performing musicians. Composers’ grant and prize earnings represented 10 percent of all composing income. In contrast, for the performing musicians in the study, grants, prizes and fellowships represent just one percent of their creative income.

In terms of Australia Council funding specifically, Throsby and Zednik report that 11 percent of professional performing musicians and 22 percent of composers applied for Australia Council funding at some point during the five years up to 2009 – a smaller proportion than most other art forms. Despite this, the large population of musicians means the Music Board receives amongst the highest number of applications of any art form board.


Income and career development - Creation - Visual Arts

Most visual arts practitioners work in a freelance capacity – and many face insecure economic conditions

Within their principal artistic occupations, very few visual arts practitioners work as ‘employees’. Throsby and Zednik found that 87 percent of visual artists and 92 percent of craft practitioners operate as freelance or self employed individuals.

Throsby and Zednik point out that a substantial majority of artists therefore face insecure working environments for their artistic work, forgoing the sorts of benefits that employees customarily receive, such as sick leave, maternity leave, and employer’s superannuation contributions.

Some visual arts practitioners believe they lack adequate skills to manage their business affairs as a freelance artist, and almost a quarter have no arrangements in place for their future financial security (such as superannuation schemes).


Global art market - Global - Visual Arts
Tag : economics

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.


The global art auction market is valued at over $12 billion, led by the US, China and the UK markets

In 2012, global art auctions generated $12.269 billion, of which $5.068 billion was generated in China and $7.2 billion in the rest of the world

Accounting for 41 percent of the global share, China has the largest share of global fine art auction turnover in 2012. The next largest markets – the USA and UK trail behind with 27 percent and 18 percent of turnover share respectively.[1]

Australia is emerging as a player on the art auction scene. While 2012 revenue was estimated by Artprice at $82 million,[2] this represents an increase on 2004 revenue.

[1]   Indexed auction records are based on Fine Art and Design catalogued auctions (paintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs, prints, watercolors, etc) recorded by, except antiques and furniture.

[2]   Note some differences in reported auction turnover for Australia exist between Artprice and Australia Art Sales Digest due to differences in definition and auction houses included in analysis.


Australia’s secondary market is small relative to the size of our economy

Art auction sales contribute considerably more to the GDP for the UK and China than Australia.

Despite growth over the years, Australia is still in the early stages with fine art auction revenue contributing to only 0.005 percent of GDP. In comparison, the secondary market is four time in Switzerland, relative to the size of its economy.


China is emerging as the largest visual arts market in terms of auction sales

China has been the leading global art auction market since 2010, with 41 percent market share in 2012 ($5.07 billion).[1]

This is $1.7 billion higher than the USA (in second place, with 27percent of global art sales) and $2.9 billion ahead of the UK (in third place, with 18percent of global art sales).

However after the rapid growth of 49 percent between 2010 and 2011, visual art auction sales in China increased more slowly (6 percent)  from 2011 to 2012. Despite this slower growth, auction sales in China continue to make up half of the top ten highest grossing artists worldwide.

[1]   Indexed auction records are based on Fine Art and Design catalogued auctions (paintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs, prints, watercolors, etc) recorded by, except antiques and furniture.


Paintings and drawings represent 96 percent of auction turnover globally

According to Artprice, paintings and drawings garner higher average prices at auction compared with sculpture, print and photographic works.

In 2010, it estimated that paintings and drawings accounted for 69 percent of lots sold, but 96 percent of auction turnover globally.


The majority of European auction sales relate to Modern art, but Contemporary and Post-war sales are growing

Sales of Modern art works represent 48 percent of the European visual art auction market. Artprice reports that in 2012 Modern works sold at auction generated over $3 billion in revenue.

Contemporary and Post-war works generate an increasing share of the market. Between 2000 and 2012, sales of Contemporary and Post-war works increased from 11 percent to 34 percent of European auction turnover.

Sales of ‘Old masters’ and ‘19th Century’ works have decreased over time, respectively accounting for just 8 and 11 percent of the market in 2012.


Cultural tourism in Australia - Global - Visual Arts

The Australian economy benefits from international visitors to museums and galleries

Tourism Research Australia’s International Visitor Survey 2009, showed more than half (51 percent) of all overseas visitors attended at least one cultural attraction while in Australia.

Of these, 57 percent had visited a museum or art gallery and 17 percent had visited an art/craft workshop or studio.

Many also experienced Indigenous culture, with 20 percent ‘experiencing Aboriginal art/craft and cultural displays’, and 11 percent ‘visiting an Aboriginal site/community’.

International cultural and heritage visitors create economic benefits through longer stays and higher spending patterns than other tourists. In 2009, the average amount spent per trip was $6,280 compared with other international visitors who spent on average $3,832. This resulted in total spending of $16.3 billion in 2009.

Visitors from Asia accounted for 36 percent of all international cultural and heritage visitors. The United Kingdom and New Zealand accounted for a further 15 percent and 13 percent respectively.

The most popular destinations for both international and domestic cultural heritage visitors were New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria, while rates of participation in cultural and heritage activities were higher in the Northern Territory, the Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania.


Visiting museums and galleries is the most popular cultural activity for overnight and day trippers within Australia

During 2009, Australians took 9.5 million day trips and 9.3 overnight trips involving participation in cultural and heritage activities in Australia.

Overnight cultural and heritage visitors accounted for 14 percent of all overnight trips, and spent a collective 50 million nights at least 40 kilometres from home.

Visiting museums or art galleries was the most popular cultural activity for both domestic overnight visitors (43 percent visiting) and day trippers (36 percent visiting). By way of comparison, visits to historical/heritage buildings, sites or monuments attracted 29 percent of overnight visitors and 25 percent of day visitors.

As with international visitors, domestic cultural tourists spend significantly more on their trips than other tourists, creating higher economic impacts. The average amount spent per trip was $1,030 compared with those not participating in cultural and heritage activities, who spent on average $578 per trip.

Domestic travellers represent 87 percent of all cultural tourists, with over 18.8 million visitors in 2009. Across both international and domestic markets, the number of cultural visitors has grown at a rate of 2 percent per year since 2000.


Household consumption - Industry - Visual Arts
Tag : economics

Australian household spending on visual arts has been growing over time.

We now spend over $100 annually on paintings, carvings and sculptures, art and craft materials, and art gallery and museum charges – a 26% increase on 2003-04 levels in real terms.


Households spend more on paintings, carvings and sculptures than computer games or tickets to sporting matches

Australian households spend almost $2.13 billion on things related to visual arts and craft each year (including cameras).

Of this, $860 million in spending relates to direct participation in visual arts, with households spending almost $550 million on paintings, carvings and sculptures, and $250 million on art and craft materials.



Spending on particular items has changed, but total spending on goods related to visual arts is steady

Overall, spending on items related to visual arts remains steady over time.

Between 2003-04 and 2009-10, spending on artworks, cameras and art and craft materials increased.

Over the same period Australian households decreased their spending on studio and other professional photography, photographic film and developing costs – changes which probably relate to the developments in digital photography.

Spending on gallery charges also decreased 22 percent to $0.14 per household per week.

Table 6 - Household spending on items related to visual arts including cameras - 2003-04 and 2009-10 (shown in 2010 dollars)

$ per week
$ per week
Change since 2003-04 (%)
Studio and other professional photography0.590.56-5%
Paintings, carvings and sculptures0.831.2551%
Art and craft materials0.550.574%
Art gallery and museum fees and charges0.180.14-22%
Cameras (excluding video cameras)1.391.4822%
Photographic equipment (excluding film and chemicals)0.22
Photographic film and chemicals (including developing)1.270.64-50%


Public galleries - Industry - Visual Arts
Tag : economics

Australia’s art museums are home to 2.8 million art works. In 2007-08, they held over 2,000 special exhibitions or displays, and recorded over 2 million paid and 10 million unpaid visitors.

Our art museums and galleries also enable millions of international tourists to experience Australian culture, and fuel important economic activity through tourism. In 2009, around 30% of international visitors and 43% of domestic travellers visited a museum or gallery.


Australia’s 165 public art museums attracted almost 13 million attendances in 2008

There are an estimated 165 non-commercial galleries/museums in Australia with a visual arts focus.  In 2008, the ABS estimated that these visual arts galleries/museums made up 14 percent of all museums in Australia – with an estimated 712 social history museums, 247 historic sites and 59 other museums operating.

Art museums held over 2,000 special exhibitions or displays during 2007-08. That year they recorded 12.9 million admissions, the equivalent of 42 percent of all museum admissions reported.  Four in five of these attendances were for free exhibitions and events.

Art museums were more reliant on public funds than other museums, with government funding accounting for almost 40 percent of their income in 2007-08. However, art museums also earned more than three times the funds of other museums through sponsorship and philanthropy.

Table 2 - Summary of non-commercial art galleries/museums in Australia

Year Art museums Free attendances Paid attendances Admissions incomeOnline visits
2007-08 165 107710002177000$1960000011987000


Artbank is the largest single buyer of contemporary Australian art in Australia

Artbank, the Australian Government’s art rental collection, includes over 10,000 artworks from 3,500 artists in a range of mediums from paintings and works on paper to sculpture and video.


In 2011-12, Artbank invested $1 million in 270 works, at an average price per work of around $3,700. The collection is valued at approximately $36.3 million.



Table 4 - Artbank acquisitions and collection value (2008-09 to 2011-12)

Financial yearWorks acquiredAcquisitions ($m)Average acquisition price ($)Total value of the collection ($m)


Australia Council-funded visual arts organisations produced 233 new works in 2011, and generated over 4 million exhibition attendances

The Australia Council supports 39 visual arts organisations with regular funding – including galleries, arts and craft centres, festivals and service organisations.

In 2011, these regularly funded visual arts organisations produced 233 new Australian works (e.g. commissioning of new contemporary visual art works). They also recorded over 4 million attendances. The majority of these attendances were at exhibitions with a small proportion going to visual arts performance events.

Table 5 - Summary of visual arts organisations in Australia - 2011

‘Key Organisations’ supported with multi-year funding:Number of orgsNew Australian worksExhibition attendancesPerformance attendances
Visual arts organisations 3923340803287793
All arts organisations14994746614691331790


Secondary market - Industry - Visual Arts

Sales of works at auction reached $95 million in 2012 – around five times the market in 1991

Auction sales of visual art works in Australia reached around $95 million in 2012. These sales are understood to relate mainly to the secondary market, in which artworks are resold, and include contemporary and heritage works.[1]

Sales at auction have experienced strong growth since the 1980s – peaking at $175 million in 2007. Since 2007, total sales have fluctuated between $88 million and $115 million annually, and they remain more than 5 times the size of the market in 1991.

Australian auction turnover includes sales of works by non-Indigenous Australian artists (83 percent), Australian Indigenous artists (8 percent), and overseas artists (9 percent).

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art sales have stabilised around $8.2 million, after four consecutive year of decline.  Sales remain well below the record total of $26.4 million set in 2007.

[1]   The primary market is made up of works being sold for the first time – usually in a commercial gallery.


Speculation by investors fuels price fluctuation in the secondary market

Between 1998 and 2011, the average price of works sold at auction increased markedly. Prices peaked in 2007, with the average price of works sold reaching $15,000 (64 percent higher than the 2006 average of $9,138).

Commentators suggest that speculation by investors led to a ‘market aberration’ in 2007.

Sales have since returned to pre-2007 levels. After the economic downturn in 2008, sales grew between 2009 and 2010, before stabilising in 2011 and 2012.


Growing numbers of visual artists are receiving royalties from copyright distribution

Almost all visual artists believe they have copyright ownership over any work they produce (92 percent). However, in 2009, Throsby and Zednik estimated that less than a third (28 percent) were members of a copyright collecting agency.


Viscopy currently represents over 9,000 Australian and New Zealand artists. New membership has been increasing over time, with a six percent increase in 2011-12. In 2011, Indigenous membership accounted for half of all Viscopy members.


In 2011-12, Viscopy distributed $1.7 million to members. Royalties were distributed to over 930 Australian and 440 international members in 2011-12 (compared to 800 Australian and 280 international members in 2010-11), with the average payment being $1,100.





Over $1 million in royalties have been distributed to almost 500 artists since introduction of the Resale Royalty Scheme in 2010

Since introduction of the Resale Royalty Scheme in 2010, more than $1 million in royalties has been distributed to more than 500 artists from the resale of over 5,000 visual arts works.

Viscopy reports that around 90 percent of distributions are to artists who are still alive. Over 60 percent of these artists were Indigenous.

With a few exceptions, the royalty payments generated by the scheme are relatively small: about 95 per cent of royalties paid to artists or their beneficiaries have been between $50 (the minimum amount) and $500. At the other end of the scale, the highest royalty generated to date by the scheme has been $50,000.




Sales of Indigenous visual arts and craft has decreased since the Global Financial Crisis, after several decades of growth

The visual arts sector provides a significant source of income for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, particularly for those living in remote areas where employment opportunities are limited.

Figures compiled by the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations (ORIC) suggest that the sector experienced strong growth over 1979–2007. However, since 2007, there has been a decline in the average revenue generated by Indigenous visual arts organisations, including remote arts centres.

Based on a review of financial reports lodged by the 101 corporations registered as making and selling Indigenous art, ORIC reports that between 2007-08 and 2010-11 the average revenue[1] generated by Indigenous visual arts organisations fell by 52 percent from almost $390,000 to $186,000 per organisation.

Whilst there is no conclusive information about the number of art centres, ORIC reports that this period saw a gradual decrease in the proportion of Indigenous organisations generating more than $500,000 in art sales revenue and an increase over time in the number earning no revenue at all.

Auction sales figures confirm that the total revenue generated through the public auction of Indigenous art fell 69 percent from $26.5 million in 2007 to just over $8 million in 2012 – a more marked decline than that experienced by other Australian art.

Declining sales in this area may be linked with the strong performance of the Australian dollar since 2009-10, which has affected the buying power of overseas visitors.

[1] Revenue from art sales refers to the amount directly generated from the sale of artworks, before expenses are taken into consideration.


Government support - Support - Visual Arts
Tag : economics

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 several periods of growth public funding for visual arts has declined slightly

The ABS reports that funding for visual arts fell slightly in real terms between 2009-10 and 2010-11. Whilst local government funding levels were not reported in 2010-11, funding from the Australian and State/Territory Governments declined 7 percent to $324.7 million.

In 2009-10, when fuller data was available, ABS figures show government funding for visual arts at the national, state and local levels was almost $400 million. This represented six percent of total cultural funding and was more than the funding received by other artform areas:

  • Visual arts – $398.3m (6.0 percent)
  • Theatre – $61.2m (0.9 percent)
  • Dance – $32.4m (0.5 percent)
  • Music – $160m (2.4 percent)
  • Literature – $48.8m (0.7 percent)


ABS statistics show that funding for visual arts and craft by the Australian, State and Territory and Local Governments has grown in several periods between 1994 and 2010 – with the first drop in funding being recorded in 2009-10. Small declines were seen in 2009-10 at the Local, State and Federal levels and in 2010-11 at the State and Federal levels.


Australia’s art museums receive $330 of the $400 million in government funding for visual arts

Most funding for visual arts relates to Australia’s public art museums, including the major State art museums such as the National Gallery of Victoria and the Art Gallery of New South Wales, and other art museums such as the Museum of Contemporary Art and National Portrait Gallery. Government funding of $330 million was provided to art museums in 2009-10.

In 2009-10, $68.7m or 17 percent went to other parts of the visual arts sector, representing one percent of total cultural funding.

Table 8 - Government spending on visual arts and craft – all levels

Art museumsVisual arts and craftTotal funding
Australian Government ($m)90.130.6120.7
State & Territory Governments ($m)187.138.1225.2
Local Governments ($m)52.4-52.4
Total ($m)329.668.7398.3
Per person ($)15.583.117.83


Australia Council provides over $15 million funding to the visual arts sector

In 2011-12, the Australia Council invested a total of $15.7 million in the visual arts and craft sector.

Of this, $4.9 million in funding was provided by the Visual Arts Board to support a range of activities including the creation of new work, the presentation and promotion of contemporary visual arts and craft, and professional development for practitioners.

The Arts Organisations Division administered $8.7 million funding for 39 visual arts organisations during 2011-12, including the Museum of Contemporary Art and the National Association for the Visual Arts.

Almost $1 million was provided to young and emerging visual artists through the Art Start program.

A further $500,000 in funding for visual arts and craft was provided through the Arts Development Division to support the development of visual artists, curators and organisations. In particular, through the Arts Development Division, the Australia Council supported the representation of 42 Australian artists at international art fairs, including the Venice Biennale.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Board provided $277,000 in grants funding, including for new work and for skills and arts development.

Key projects included the 18th Biennale of Sydney’s All our Relations showcase of more than 220 works by over 100 Australian and international artists, and Hatched – Perth Institute of Contemporary Art’s annual survey of the best of Australia’s art school graduates.


Private sector support - Support - Visual Arts

Visual arts organisations generated $53 million in private sector support in 2009-10 – more than any other art form

In terms of philanthropy and sponsorship earnings, art galleries outperform other parts of the arts sector generating almost a quarter of total earnings.

In an AbaF survey of 318 arts organisations, it was estimated that $221 million in private sector support was generated by the arts in 2010-11. The visual arts generated $53 million of this amount.

Art galleries earn most of their support through philanthropic giving ($40 million), with sponsorship making up a smaller but still notable share ($11 million).

In contrast, visual arts, craft and design organisations participating in the survey were estimated to earn just $2 million in private sector support, and most of this was generated through sponsorship (increasing from $0.9 million in 2008-09 to $1.5 million in 2009-10).


Visual arts organisations generate higher levels of private sector support than other arts organisations regularly funded by the Australia Council

Looking at organisations regularly funded through the Australia Council, visual arts organisations (including galleries, arts and craft centres, festivals and service organisations) earn well above other arts organisations from private revenue sources – although earnings in 2011 were lower[1] than 2010 levels.

In 2011, 40 surveyed visual arts organisations earned an average private sector income of $302,500 (compared with $360,000 in 2010), generating over $12 million in total.

However, ‘It’s a given’ found that earning levels were not uniform from organisation to organisation, and identified four visual arts organisations who earn 81.2 percent of total private sector support for visual arts.

This sample includes organisations operating on a biannual cycle, such as the Biennale of Sydney, which may influence the fluctuations in the data.

[1]   The overall decrease in private sector support for funded visual arts organisations has been driven by a decrease in corporate sponsorship for visual arts companies. This trend is consistent with a 20 percent decline in sponsorship revenues across the arts sector from 2010 to 2011.


Role of grant funding - Support - Visual Arts

Grants are an important source of creative income for visual arts practitioners

According to Throsby and Zednik, an estimated 57 percent of visual artists and 60 percent of craft practitioners applied for a grant, prize or other funding between 2004 and 2009. This is higher than most other art forms (e.g. 24 percent of musicians, and 49 percent of dancers applied for a grant, prize or other funding). An estimated 1 in 3 visual artists (35 percent) and 2 in 5 craft practitioners (41 percent) were successful in their applications over the course of 5 years.

Earnings from grants, prizes and fellowships are a particularly important source of income for visual artists, making up an estimated 10 percent of their creative income. Although craft practitioners are among the most successful grant applicants across the artforms, earnings from grants, prizes and fellowships only make up 4 percent of their creative income since their creative income is higher.