Creative Workforce - Creation - Overview

Museums engage more volunteers than the performing arts

The performing arts engage fewer volunteers than the museum sector, as suggested by the ABS Service Industry surveys undertaken on parts of the cultural sector.

Museums attract the largest number of volunteers overall.

Figure 15 - Number of volunteers for selected arts and culture service industries [1]

Museums and art galleries2007-0823,426
Performing arts2006-076,582
Performing arts venue operation2006-071,935
Libraries and archives2003-046,853

[1] Volunteer numbers for industry metrics are asked of organisations, not individuals. Hence the numbers presented here are not directly comparable to the numbers presented in the Voluntary Work data source (cat no. 4441.0), which are asked of individuals.


International Connections - Global - Overview
Tag : venues

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.


Attendance and Engagement - Participation - Overview

Total estimated attendances have increased from 47 million in 2005-06 to 55 million attendances in 2009-10

ABS estimates suggest the number of attendances at art venues or events increased 17 percent between 2005-06 and 2009-10. Art venues and events made up around 21 percent of the total number of cultural attendances in 2005-06, increasing to 24 percent in 2009-10.[1]

While all art venues and events saw increased attendance in 2009-10, the largest increases were for art galleries (around 1.7 million additional attendances in 2009-10) and popular music concerts (around 3.7 million additional attendances in 2009-10).

Attendances at other arts events, such as classical music concerts and theatre performances, also increased slightly over the period.

[1] Conservative estimate based on how often Australians attend the arts.

Non-arts cultural activities include attending museums, botanic gardens, cinemas, zoos, aquariums and libraries.


Queensland and Western Australia have proportionally fewer cultural organisations than other States and Territories

According to the Office for the Arts’ Register of Cultural Organisations, there are 1,482 cultural organisations in Australia whose principal purpose is the promotion of a cultural activity. This means they administer a public, non-profit fund and are eligible for Deductible Gift Recipient status.

Eligible cultural activities include literature; visual, community, performing or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts; music; crafts; design; television; video; radio; film; or movable cultural heritage. [1]

The Australian Capital Territory, Victoria, New South Wales and Northern Territory have proportionally more cultural organisations, relative to the number of Australian businesses overall.Queensland and Western Australia have comparatively fewer cultural organisations. Queensland is home to 20 percent of Australian business, but just 13 percent of cultural organisations. Western Australia has 10 percent of Australian businesses, but just 8 percent of cultural organisations.

[1] Public art galleries, museums and libraries are generally not included on the Register as they are approved by the Australian Taxation Office under another Deductible Gift Recipient category.


More Australians now attend art galleries and popular music concerts

ABS surveys of attendance at cultural venues and events shows that 26 percent of the Australian population over the age of 15 attended an art gallery during 2009-10, equivalent to 4 million Australians. This was significantly higher than the 23 percent that attended in 2005-06.

Attendance at performing art events has also seen a statistically significant increase in 2009-10 from 50 percent of Australians attending at least one event in 2005-06 to 52 percent attending at least one event in 2009-10. This has largely been driven by attendance at popular music concerts. Three in ten Australians had attended a popular music concert in 2009-10 (30 percent) – a statistically significant increase on the 25 percent attending in 2005-06.

Attendance at classical music concerts, musicals and operas, dance performances and theatre performances has remained stable since 1999.


Funding Sustainability - Support - Overview

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.


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


Music performances garner the highest ticket prices in Australia’s entertainment industry

Tickets to music performances captured by Live Performance Australia have average ticket prices well above other artforms such as dance and theatre.

Large scale international acts can have a significant bearing on ticket prices – and the timing of tours can impact sector revenues in any period. For instance, contemporary music ticket sales revenue grew by 30 percent in 2013 compared to 2012 levels due to a number of high profile international performers touring Australia (2013 saw Beyonce, Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen and Rhianna perform to large audiences in Australia).

Contemporary music continues to be the largest category in the live entertainment industry, although music festivals, opera and circus and physical theatre have higher ticket prices.


Live music in almost 3,904 hotels, bars, clubs, restaurants and nightclubs in 2009-10 generated an estimated 42 million attendances

A 2011 study conducted by Ernst & Young for APRA | AMCOS and the Australia Council indicated that there were over 3,900 licensed live music venues in Australia, including hotels, bars, clubs, restaurants, cafes and night clubs

It is estimated that these venues staged approximately 328,000 live performances in the 2009-10 financial year, equating to approximately 6,300 performances per week.

Hotels and bars represented the biggest portion of the venue-based live music sector – estimated to generate over 24 million attendances per year.

Whilst there were only 75 nightclubs, the study estimated they had the highest number of
performances, and the most attendances per performance compared with other venues.

Restaurants and cafes represented the smallest portion of the venue-based live music sector, with fewer performances and average attendances in their 450 venues.

Table 3 - Key metrics of live music venues in Australia

Hotels/ barsClubsRestaurants & cafesNight clubsTotal
Number of live music venues1,9721,407450753,904
Number of venue-based live music performances184,895103,59228,73710,512327,736
Total attendance at venue-based live music performances 24,281,32412,859,0992,136,5852,689,09641,966,104
Average performances per venue94746414084
Average attendance per performance13112474256128
Average attendance per venue12,3139,1394,74835,85510,750


Live music in hotels, clubs and restaurants generated gross revenues of $1.21 billion and contributed around $650 million to the Australian economy

Some licensed venues generate revenue through ticket sales, however most performances are not ticketed. When surveyed about their events, venues indicated the main reason for staging live music was to generate patronage and invigorate other parts of the venue’s business, particularly food and beverage sales.

These venues were estimated to generate total revenues of $1,211.1 million in 2009-10, mostly through food and beverage spending by attendees.

The study estimated that the industry contributed $651.9 million in value to the Australian economy – which is broadly comparable with the sports industry.[1] It also estimated the venue-based live music industry supports employment of approximately 14,866 full time equivalent positions.

[1]   The comparisons made here include figures obtained through different methodologies, and should be treated
with caution.

Table 4: Comparison of value-added by music and similarly sized industries

IndustryValue added ($m)SourceYear of estimate
Film and Video Productions $1,110.7ABS2012
Sports and physical recreation clubs, teams and sports professionals$705.2ABS2006
Venue-based live music industry$651.9E&Y2010
Book Publishers$482.2ABS2004


Performances by Indigenous artists are held in a minority of licensed live music venues

Analysis of APRA licensing returns suggests that performances by Indigenous artists were held in almost 30 percent of hotels and clubs during 2004-05.

The proportion of venues with Indigenous performances also varies from state to state. Over the three years to 2006, APRA returns show that 37 percent of venues in NSW held performances by Indigenous artists, compared with less than 1 percent of venues in Tasmania.






Rights - Industry - Music

Broadcasting, performance and use of live and recorded music generated over $290 million in licence fees in 2012

APRA | AMCOS have licences in place with 84,000 licensees, and have 81,000 members.

It paid 244,623 music creators and rights holders in 2011-12 and distributed around $237 million in royalty distributions to songwriters, composers and publishers.

PPCA have licences in place with over 54,000 venues Australia-wide, including clubs, hotels, bars, restaurants, fitness centres, shops, halls and dance studios for the broadcast, communication or public playing of recorded music. It also grants licences to radio and TV stations.

On behalf of rights holders, it distributed over $29 million to licencor labels and registered Australian artists in 2011-12.


Attendance - Participation - Music

Live music is the most commonly attended art form, with 57 percent of Australians attending in 2013

In comparison to other artforms, live music was attended by a greater proportion of the Australian population (57 percent vs. 38 percent for theatre and dance and 37 percent for visual arts and craft).

However, live music goers attend less frequently than visual arts attendees with 13 percent of people attending monthly compared to 17 percent for visual arts.


Popular music such as rock, pop, country and dance is the most widely attended music genre

Attendance across all music categories has remained stable since 2009. Musical theatre, classical music and opera are attended by significant numbers in 2013, but ‘Other live music’ (such as rock, pop, country, dance etc) was still the largest genre within the live music category being attended by 39 percent of all live music attendees.


Opera and musical theatre attendance is less frequent than other music genres

Frequency of music attedance has remained stable since 2009. In 2013, Opera and new classical were attended the least of the music genres overall. However, new classical was attended most often with 15 percent of people attending monthly. Opera and musical theatre had the lowest proportion of monthly attenders at 4 percent and 5 percent respectively.


Of those who booked tickets to attend a live music event, most did so well in advance

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.


Income and career development - Creation - Visual Arts

Arts and craft are the primary creative activity for Indigenous Australians, but main-job employment has declined

Indigenous ‘arts and craft’ are important forms of creative expression for Indigenous Australians, with 17 percent of those aged 15 and over (almost 56,600) estimated to participate in 2008. The 2008 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS) also found that 5.7 percent of Indigenous Australians (15,950 people) received payment for making Indigenous ‘arts or craft’.

However, only 524 Indigenous Australians were employed in visual arts and craft activities as their main job according to the 2011 Census. These artists were more likely to be employed as painters.

This figure is lower than that found in the 2006 Census, when 676 Indigenous people were employed in visual arts and craft occupations as their main job.

In 2001, 26 percent of Indigenous communities had access to an arts or cultural centre, relative to 65 percent who had access to a sporting facility.


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.


Public galleries - Industry - Visual Arts
Tag : venues

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


Art museum websites attracted almost 12 million visits in 2007-08

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 typeNo. of museumsTotal webpage viewsTotal unique visitsAverage unique visits per museum
Art museums165493181198773
Social history museums71227495870412
Historic sites24716237
Other museums5941194698


Commercial art galleries manage over 16,000 relationships with visual artists

The ABS estimated that there were 514 commercial art galleries operating in Australia during 1999-2000. This included 31 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) art centres and 483 other commercial art galleries.

These galleries provided over 16,000 on-going ‘representations’ for visual artists.[1] The average number of artists represented by ATSI art centres was 93, compared to 29 artists for other commercial art galleries.

In 1999–2000, commercial art gallery businesses had total sales of artworks of $218 million. Two thirds of this ($145 million) related to commission income from the sale of works on behalf of others.  One third related to sales of works owned by the gallery.

Represented artists shared in over $100m in commission income generated through the sale of their artwork by commercial galleries in that year. That is equivalent to over $6,000 per represented artist.

The ABS reports that in 2007-08 commercial art galleries charged a higher average commission for the sale of Indigenous visual artworks (40 per cent), compared to the work of non-Indigenous Australian visual artists (29 percent) and those from overseas (17 percent) in 1999-2000.

[1]   Artists represented on an ongoing basis are defined as the number of artists who have an agreement with a commercial art gallery to represent them by regularly displaying or promoting the sale of their artworks. This figure includes double counting as a commercial art gallery could represent more than one visual artist. As such it is not a representation of the total visual artist population.


Secondary market - Industry - Visual Arts

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.


Attendance - Participation - Visual Arts

Audiences are less likely to use the internet before, during or after attending visual arts events compared with other artform events

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 event31%29%
After the event66%60%


Government support - Support - Visual Arts

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