The Moshtix State Of The Industry 2013 report has been unveiled, confirming what many in the Australian music industry suspected and what the entirety of punters already knew. The report surveyed 5,000 people across the country to gather data regarding the motivations behind concert and festival attendance, shedding some light for industry figures looking to influence sales.
The study, published every other year, has arrived at a tumultuous time for Australian festivals and live music in general. In just the last few months, we’ve seen the cancellation of several major festivals — Harvest and Pyramid, most prominently — and the collapse of major touring companies, while each month seems to bring news of an imminent venue closure, as in the case of Melbourne’s beloved Palace Theatre.
Speaking to theMusic.com.au, Moshtix CEO Harley Evans said “When we started the survey we hadn’t been exposed to some of the stuff that has come out recently. We didn’t have the context then that we have now.” The study revealed that ticket prices and lineup quality are paramount for good festival attendance, with these two factors influencing the punter’s decision more than any other variable. Features such as decoration, theme, food and drink variety, and after parties were of little importance.
Of the 5,000 people surveyed, 93.7 percent said they had attended a festival in the past two years and 45 percent had attended four or more festivals in the past two years. “It’s difficult to come up with an all encompassing festival statement,” said Evans “Some festivals are known for their line-ups and headliners and others are hoping to have a mix of artists and may not need a headliner…I think nirvana is for a promoter to announce their festival without a line-up and still get a response.”
Evans also elaborated on the issue of lineup quality as related to ticket pricing, saying “Artists aren’t getting cheaper, but [promoters have] got to keep ticket prices in check. We’ve seen that once prices get to a certain point people start to fall off.” Meanwhile, acts and cost aren’t all that’s impacting the state of local live music in Australia.
Of the survey sample, 68.7 percent believed there were simply no local venues in their area. “The reality is not every town can have a high quality commercially viable venue, so venues are getting people to travel,” explained Evans. With draconian liquor licensing laws ensuring the continuing closure of venues nationwide and the perception of small warehouse venues as “illegal” and “dingy,” the report doesn’t bode well for Australian live music.
Respondents also made it clear that lineups are important when it comes to local gigs, with 98.1 percent identifying the headlining artist as the key influence behind purchasing tickets. Only 39 percent of the survey sample said they’d see a gig purely for recreation. Furthermore, 1.9 percent said they attend local gigs a few times a week, while 42.2 percent said they go a few times a year.
Evans said that what venues and promoters should be taking away from the survey is the importance of mobile ticketing, saying “Mobile feels like the right place for that last minute conversation and purchase.” The Moshtix research indicated that 73.1 percent of people become aware of festivals through email alerts, 71.9 percent through social media and 72 percent via word-of-mouth. The findings were similar for local music, with word of mouth 72 percent, social media 65.7 percent, and email 63.9 percent.
“Live music fans are passionate people and their interest travels with them everywhere, as do their mobiles,” said Evans “We must make sure their mobile experiences are in keeping with the interaction they want from our industry.”