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Life / Music
Mary Mihelakos of The Brunswick Ballroom who recently won the Music Victoria Award for Best Small Venue, and Helen Marcou AM of Bakehouse Studios, have added to the growth of the Australian music industry.
BIG WETT in her debut to Melbourne for her debut headline performance in October. Photo: James Tran
The Victorian Music Development Office (VMDO) has released the latest results of their Music Habits survey of 2000 Australians. Despite the Covid pandemic that shut down live music for two years in Victoria, and months across the nation, the research has revealed that live music is enjoying a boom.
Up to 18 per cent go to stadiums, which is up from 13 per cent in the pre-Covid year of 2019; 19 per cent go to arenas, up from 12 per cent in 2019; and a whopping 22 per cent are attending mid-level venues, up from 16 per cent in 2019. The upwards trend was also reflected in theatres at 27 per cent up from 22 per cent in 2019 and 34 per cent in bars and clubs, up from 33 per cent in 2019.
Greek Australians’ attended live music gigs of all genres – Greek pop, traditional, and contemporary. They flocked to bars, clubs, small to mid sized venues, concert halls and Greek festivals. Greek-Australian musicians began to play live again and musicians from Greece began to tour Australia after two years of border closures.
Speaking to Neos Kosmos, Jas Moore the Director of VMDO said that “Greek Australians play an important role in our live music ecology.”
“Plato once said ‘music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything’, and indeed we see this spirit shine through from the rebetiko gigs in bars, clubs, even to the concert halls.”
“Festivals, like the Antipodes festival, who present traditional, pop, and Greek hip hop sounds – are essential to our industry. On an industry level, Mary Mihelakos of The Brunswick Ballroom who recently won the Music Victoria Award for Best Small Venue, and Helen Marcou AM of Bakehouse Studios who was inducted into the Music Victoria Awards Hall of Fame played a key role,” Moore said.
It was at the Brunswick Ballroom that George Xylouris performed his first solo in 2021, then with Jim White for the Rise Festival after two years of border closures and lockdowns.
In other findings the Music Habits survey revealed that CDs are the most common music purchase at 18 per cent even though, CD music consumption is in decline by 7 per cent from 2019. Almost half, 49 per cent of those surveyed said their favourite and preferred method to consume music is to stream free music, access free music videos or listen to paid music which is up 6 per cent from 2019,” Moore said.
Music has become more important to Australians than the pre-pandemic period and pop music has topped the charts so to speak. The study found that 37 per cent of those surveyed said that “music is my life, my number one passion” and this is up from 32 per cent in 2019.
The biggest jump found that 54 per cent of under 35-year-olds said that music was a central passion, which is up from 44 per cent in 2019.
“Pop music is living up to its name, it is the most popular music genre in Australia, and 59 per cent of Australian adults say they regularly listen to pop music, while 20 per cent claim it is their favourite genre,” said Moore.
No one would find it surprising that the most popular music genres in Australia were pop music at 20 per cent, rock, and indie-rock at 13 per cent, country stood at 11 per cent and current Top 40 hits reached 10 per cent, Top 40 hip hop and rap made 7 per cent. Hip hop and rap was consumed by 16 per cent of 16- to 24-year-olds.
YouTube played a significant role in Australians discovering music. The standout way Australians discovered music was YouTube at 31 per cent of those surveyed.
“Once discovered, 41 per cent of Australians follow-up an artist and stream their music on YouTube which is up from 25 per cent in 2019,” said the VMDO director.
Commercial radio as a source of discovery hovers around 20 per cent, while music streaming services at 18 per cent, social media at 17 per cent and television and movie streaming at 16 per cent.
The Music Habits research highlights that 46 per cent of those surveyed claim that finding new music was important to them, and that figure rose to 70 per cent for under 35s.
Among those who discover music via social media, the survey showed that TikTok is growing, and that Facebook is still important. The most popular platforms are 61 per cent on Facebook, 55 per cent on Instagram, 50 per cent on TikTok and 18 per cent on Twitter.
The Music Habits research shows that attendance at gigs is growing and there doesn’t appear to be any reservation for music fans to be in large crowds after two years of the Covid pandemic.
Moore said that to 18 per cent are visiting stadiums a few times a year to watch live music, which is up from 13 per cent from 2020. Australians listen to about 1.9 hours music a day, but this changes according to age.
“The survey discovered that under 35-year-olds listen to an average of 2.3 hours of music a day, with 15 per cent listening to more than 4 hours,” Moore said.
Those of us over 55-years-old are listening less frequently and over 20 per cent said they don’t even listen to music most days.
Overall though people spend less on music than they did in the past. Despite more enthusiasm for music, music spend in Australia is at recovery stage.
Spending on recorded music is up around 5 per cent, while there is significantly less invested
In live music (-18 per cent) and merchandise (-15 per cent).
“Even though there is a lower spend on music, it’s pleasing to see that under 35s are the most willing to invest in music with 59 per cent purchasing live music tickets, CDs or merchandise,” said Moore.