Despite its comparatively small inhabitants unfold over, in some instances, hundreds of miles, and handful of main cities, the market is remarkably robust and growing, with numerous exhibits at stadium degree, touring festivals and some very aggressive promoters. Christopher Barrett stories
It isn’t be the simplest or least expensive nation to succeed in from Europe or the USA, and as soon as there it may be necessary to travel hundreds of miles between cities and throughout multiple time zones.
Nevertheless, for many who take the time and have an viewers there, it’s is a rustic with a robust financial system and a population with a seemingly unquenchable thirst for reside music.
The newest Ticket Attendance and Income report, revealed in October last yr by business physique Reside Efficiency Australia (LPA), paints an image of a market in exceptional shape.
Modern music ticket sales revenue in 2017 was up 87.7 per cent year-on-year to A$826.1 million (US$568), in response to the LPA, with attendance up 49.6 per cent over the same time-frame, to eight.5m.
It was the sector’s first yr of progress in income since 2013 and the very best revenue and attendance recorded for modern music since LPA began producing the report back in 2004.
Australia is a massively competitive market with quite a bit to play for and one which has seen vital consolidation this yr amongst a few of its foremost promoters.
In March, Frontier Touring founder Michael Gudinski and Chugg Entertainment boss Michael Chugg reunited to type a three way partnership some 40 years after they co-founded Frontier Touring (see Audience challenge 230). That they had cut up in 1999.
Only a month later the market noticed additional consolidation when AEG bought a 50 per cent stake in Frontier Touring. The AEG-Frontier venture cements a relationship that goes back 12 years, throughout which era Frontier promoted AEG tours in Australia and New Zealand.
Included within the deal is main venue operator AEG Ogden, which owns and operates Qudos Bank Area (cap. 21,389) in Sydney, Brisbane Leisure Centre (14,500), Perth Area (15,000), Newcastle Entertainment Centre (7,500) and the 9,000-capacity ICC Sydney Theatre.
The mixture of Frontier, Chugg, AEG Presents and globally formidable promoter AEG Presents is a big rival to Reside Nation Australia.
AEG Presents chief operating officer and CEO/chairman Jay Marciano, based mostly in Los Angeles, says that following the Frontier acquisition the corporate plans to develop a touring network of mid-sized venues across Australia (see Audience situation 231).
“There are not enough small clubs and theatres in Australia for international artistes to be able to have the 10 or more shows that make it affordable to make the journey there,” he says.
AEG Ogden group director Tim Worton says the Frontier and AEG Presents deal shall be good for the market.
“We expect there will be the potential for even more AEG product to come to Australia as a result of the joint venture, so that is a positive,” he says.
Worton also expects AEG Ogden to profit from the merging of multinational venue management corporations AEG Amenities and SMG to type ASM International.
“SMG does not have any venues in our market, but we will benefit from the resources of this expanded network of venues,” he says.
Worton describes the native market as being “extremely buoyant” with AEG’s venues having fun with very robust ticket gross sales for exhibits by acts together with Phil Collins, Keith City, Pink Scorching Chili Peppers, Pink and Hugh Jackman.
Nevertheless, he factors out that there are difficulties, not least the very fact the Australian dollar has fallen in value to its lowest degree in around a decade.
“Promoters face the challenge of rising artiste fees and show production costs in addition to a weaker Australian dollar and that puts pressure on ticket prices, it can push them to a level that endangers the ticket sales needed to make the tours stack up,” he says.
Stay Nation Entertainment entered the Australian market when it acquired Michael Coppel Presents (MCP) in 2012, which on the time was the nation’s second largest promoter. Coppel is chairman of Reside Nation Australia (LNA).
Coppel says that is shaping up to be a report yr for LNA when it comes to the number of live shows and tickets bought.
In the spring LNA promoted Pink Scorching Chili Peppers’ first headline exhibits in Australia for 12 years, selling-out 12 arenas and open-air venues ranging in capacity from 12,00Zero to 35,00Zero. Around 176,657 tickets have been bought at costs ranging from A$101 to A$165 (US$70-115).
Among its different major excursions is Metallica, who will play eight stadium exhibits to a mixed audience of greater than 300,00Zero, with ticket prices from A$127 to A$250 (US$88-174).
U2 may even play eight stadium exhibits and a combined audience of 380,000.
“The market is two-paced; major headliners are doing great business but lesser names can struggle due to the high volume of competing tours and high ticket prices,” says Coppel.
At Reside Nation Leisure-owned Ticketmaster Australia a serious focus this yr has been shifting away from paperless tickets to a mobile-only service.
The Discussion board Melbourne (2,00Zero) turned the first venue in Australia to completely adopt the know-how and Ticketmaster has introduced paperless ticketing for all basic admission tickets for U2 exhibits.
“Fans want an easier and more secure ticketing system which fits seamlessly into their lives,” says Ticketmaster Australia & NZ MD Maria O’Connor,. “Not only will digital tickets simplify the entire ticketing process, it will also increase security, decrease fraud and unlock unprecedented value from customer relationships.”
The company just lately partnered with the new North Queensland Stadium (25,000) as its official ticketing agent. Opening in 2020, Elton John will carry out there in February.
“Live entertainment across Australia and New Zealand has never been stronger,” says O’Connor. “We’re seeing new venues being built around the country and further expansion into regional areas to cope with demand and further enhance the live experience.”
Michael Gudinski founded the Mushroom Group in 1972 and seven years later launched Frontier Touring as part of the group. Among the many acts it has worked with are Frank Sinatra, the Rolling Stones and Taylor Swift. Forthcoming exhibits embrace The Chemical Brothers and Shawn Mendes.
Frontier Touring’s three way partnership with Chugg Entertainment means the 2 operations now co-promote all Chugg tours, whereas Frontier has also joined Chugg and Potts Leisure as a companion in country music pageant CMC Rocks (24,00Zero).
Gudinski says it’s great to be working with Chugg once more and factors out it is rather much a partnership not an acquisition.
“It is not the band getting back together, Chugg is not part of Frontier, but Frontier is right behind him,” he says.
The veteran promoter says the cope with AEG does not imply the top of Frontier as an unbiased company.
“We are adding staff, going strong, and hopefully AEG will deliver more tours. We are thinking of the future,” he says.
Michael Chugg founded Chugg Leisure in 2000, touring acts corresponding to Coldplay, Radiohead, The Who and Florence + The Machine.
Chugg promotes around 600 exhibits per yr and its key tours this yr embrace Australian and New Zealand exhibits with Elton John, with 460,00Zero tickets bought for 31 exhibits, with prices ranging from A$139 to A$339 (US$97-237).
The company is finding environment friendly methods to market exhibits by way of digital platforms but Chugg factors out that traditional media stays vitally necessary. For its largest excursions the company makes use of radio, TV and outside promoting and has been recognized to supply particular TV and radio programming.
“When we sell-out we continue to promote the tours as it makes people aware of the act and their success,” he says. “Nothing frustrates our team more than seeing social media posts like ‘Oh dear, I’m a huge fan of … but I didn’t know they were here in Oz’.”
Chugg says ticket gross sales for his firm’s exhibits are usually robust however he doesn’t like other promoters decreasing prices for exhibits that aren’t selling nicely.
“We feel it must be really frustrating for fans when they pay full price and end up next to someone who paid as little as 25 per cent of the real ticket price,” he says.
Another veteran Australian concert promoter is Paul Dainty, who started organising exhibits in the early 1970s, working with David Bowie, U2, Michael Jackson and Miley Cyrus along the best way.
TEG Dainty was shaped in 2016 when TEG, which owns the country’s largest ticket agency Ticketek, acquired Dainty Group Worldwide, which had been owned and operated independently by Dainty. In a mean yr the company promotes round 200 live shows.
He says the Australian market could be very robust and his company had an “amazing” start to the yr with Phil Collins’s
Not Lifeless But: Reside! tour.
“We sold-out 11 shows in stadiums and arenas across Australia and New Zealand,” he says. “On one night we had Phil at AAMI Park [30,000] in Melbourne and Slash at Margaret Court Arena [7,500] literally across the road at the same time.”
One other firm spotlight was Eminem’s The Rapture 2019 tour in February, with five sold-out exhibits throughout Australia and New Zealand collectively attracting 304,Zero16 followers.
“We set new concert attendance records at the MCG Melbourne, with 80,708,” says Dainty.
TEG Dainty just lately introduced a 10-show stadium tour by Queen + Adam Lambert and can also be working on 28-date area tour by Hugh Jackman.
Founder and director of Byron Bay’s Bluesfest (25,00Zero) Peter Noble is among the last remaining really unbiased established promoters.
Ticket costs for the annual five-day Bluesfest, held in April, ranged from A$160 to A$700 (US$112-490). Headliners included Jack Johnson, Tash Sultana, David Gray and Iggy Pop.
Grey and Iggy Pop have been among those to enterprise further afield during April with exhibits in Sydney and Melbourne, beneath the BluesFest Touring banner, but Noble additionally works on tours throughout the year.
“Iggy Pop was the biggest tour so far this, with 9,199 tickets sold and prices starting at A$89[$62)”saysNoble[$62)”saysNoble[)”saysNoble[)”saysNoble
With greater than 40-years expertise in the business, Noble says now is a superb time to be within the enterprise regardless of the stiff competitors.
“It is a healthy business and a very exciting time, we are out there touring artistes at all levels from small clubs through to arenas,” he says. “We don’t want to end-up with two monopolies running the industry.”
Also based mostly in Byron Bay, One World Entertainment (OWE) promotes throughout the region and runs touring pageant Beneath The Southern Stars.
Headlined by Hoodoo Gurus, it completed a six-city run in January, enjoying to round 5,000 individuals per night time. OWE also lately promoted a tour by Boyzone and is working on tours by Kris Kristofferson and The Strangers.
“The live market is as strong as it’s ever been for the right act placed in the right venue,” says OWE CEO Andrew McManus. “It all comes down to awareness of your product and the local market.”
Prime of the listing of his considerations, nevertheless, is the “user pays” scheme launched by New South Wales police that permits it to add additional safety to festivals at the cost of the occasion organiser.
McManus says, “It is crippling. Police can determine how many cops they insist on having at an event while charging anything north of A$124.00 [US] per hour for them, and this is on top of the security guards we are obligated to have,” he says. “Something has to give otherwise more and more festivals and outdoor concerts will be unable to proceed.”
James Brown, Alice Cooper, Willie Nelson and The Stranglers are among artistes to have been promoted by Lennard Promotions over the previous three many years. Among the artistes the company is selling are Billy Ocean, 10cc and Suzi Quatro.
“Due to a glut of international and local tours the market is saturated and discretionary spending is tight,” says Lennard Promotions founder Aldo Lennard. “The challenge is to ascertain the right ticket prices as fans can only attend a certain number of concerts per year, and as ticket prices rise due to escalating costs and Australian dollar devaluation, the task will continue to be difficult.”
Together with his rivals collaborating extra strongly than ever, Lennard says he’s also open to joint ventures.
Paying the proper worth
The Van Egmond Group (VEG) has worked with acts corresponding to Michael Jackson, AC/DC and Prince because it launched greater than 40 years ago.
MD Garry Van Egmond says the corporate is making a buoyant market, however he would additionally wish to see less ticket discounting.
On the again of widespread consolidation among his rivals, Egmond thinks it’s constructive improvement.
“We have seen a lot of strong partnerships take place with the independents in Australia, both with international players and local players, and we want to be part of it.”
Like Chugg and Egmond, Destroy All Strains (DAL) common manager of touring Chris O’Brien is worried at the prevalence of discounted tickets.
“It affects people’s buying patterns,” he says. “We have found a good percentage of them are waiting until the back end to see if they can get a cheaper ticket. We have spent a huge amount of energy training our ticket buyers that this will never happen with our tours.”
Regardless of the challenges, O’Brien says the corporate’s first quarter was the strongest up to now. In a mean yr it works on 40 tours, but this yr it’s on track to promote 60.
Aside excursions by rock, metallic and various acts reminiscent of Combichrist and The Damned, DAL organises the Good Things pageant, which takes place in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane with a day by day capacity of 25,000.
Headliners this yr embrace The Offspring, All Time Low and Bullet For My Valentine.
O’Brien says it’s irritating that some artists do not prioritise Australia of their touring plans.
“A lot of artistes leave Australia late in their plans,” he says. “They get to a certain degree in the US or Europe after which anticipate the identical from their first go to to Australia.
“Trying to convince people that their artistes can have a long-term future in Australia can be a challenge.”
Constructing the longer term
After greater than nine years as CEO of the two,896-capacity Palais Theatre in Melbourne, Neil Croker launched live performance consultancy The Status Presents (TPP) in early 2017.
He says he has found it robust to seek out obtainable venues and shopper confidence could possibly be better.
“The market is always strong for the right product but it is generally patchy with consumer confidence low for most of this year, largely due to declining property values and the election period,” he says.
Among TPP’s current tasks was a nine-show tour of Quick Love – A Tribute To George Michael, which sold-out most of the venues, with capacities up to 2,00Zero and a mean ticket worth of A$69 (US$47).
“Following our first successful presentation of Fast Love, we have developed a co-promoting relationship with the show’s producers Entertainers UK that will see us tour more of their shows,” says Croker.
Melbourne and Olympic Parks (M&OP) manages public areas, parks and sporting amenities, in addition to the Rod Laver Area (16,000), Hisense Area (10,00Zero), Margaret Courtroom Area (7,500) and AAMI Park (30,050).
When the Rod Lever Area opened on the banks of the Yarra River in 1988 it was the first in Australia to have a retractable roof. Thirty years later the venue is conming to the top of a four-year, multi-million-dollar, redevelopment programme.
Arts Centre Melbourne (ACM) is a posh of theatres and concert halls within the central Melbourne suburb of Southbank that is to profit from a A$200m (US$137) local government funded overhaul.
Amongst its amenities is the Sidney Myer Music Bowl and a 12,500-capacity amphitheatre. ACM additionally houses the Hamer Hall (2,464) and State Theatre (2,0850).
Nearly all of live shows at ACM take place on the Bowl, which has this yr hosted acts including Florence + The Machine, Mumford & Sons, Kylie Minogue and Tash Sultana.
“The [redevelopment] project will transform the area around the Arts Centre, creating new and renewed open public space, including an elevated pedestrian park and outdoor performance and event spaces,” says ACM director presenter providers Glen Hirst.
There isn’t a doubt the market remains constructive and dynamic, with intense competition between promoters on the prime finish, but what seems to be an increase in last-minute ticket discounting suggests some pricing may need readjusting.