Rochella. Photo – Penny Ryan

New research commissioned by Music Victoria discovered that 78% young Victorians said their first live music experience shapes their overall passion for music.

Music Victoria CEO, Simone Schinkel, is pleased that the Perceptions of Live Music research confirmed that there is a passion to experience live music from a young age, which will create rewarding lifetime habits.

“Our research surveyed over 500 young people under 35 across Victoria. It found that 80% of the respondents plan to attend live music events at least once a year – but the challenges are affordability and motivation,” said Schinkel.

Young Victorians invest in live music. The research showed that in the last year:

  • 82% had bought a ticket for a music concert
  • 70% had bought a ticket for a music festival
  • 65% had purchased artist merchandise

85% of survey respondents identified that there are some obstacles to attend concerts and festivals, including lack of motivation (22%), limited public transport options (21%), value for money (19%) and not attending any events (19%).

Personal financial circumstances are impacting choices to engage with live music with 73% “trying to reduce spending to only essentials at the moment." However, 58% continue to purchase tickets, which indicates a willingness to invest in live music experiences.

Drop in live music attendance for under 18 year-olds

The research recognised that the festival market appears resilient for over 18 year-olds. However, there is a significant drop-off for those aged under 18.

Out of the 16-18 year-old cohort surveyed, 16% had not yet attended a music concert and 29% had not attended a festival (compared to averages of 3% and 11% across the 19-35 year olds).

Only approximately 40% of 16-18 year-olds are likely to attend a music festival at least annually. This figure is about 10% lower than expected, with 52% historically attending a festival by the time they were 18.

“We have an opportunity to motivate young people to actively engage with live music experiences at an early age. It will enhance their passive music awareness across digital platforms like YouTube, Spotify or TikTok,” Schinkel encouraged.

17-year old Zack Wileman loves live music. At his first festival experience at Riverboats Music Festival when he was 14, Zack cemented his passion for live music when Paul Dempsy covered Sam Brown's classic ‘Stop’.

On the weekend Zack attended Australia's largest free all ages music festival, St Kilda Festival to see Bones and Jones and later in the year plans to go to Pandemonium Rocks in Melbourne and Pearl Jam.

Zack was disappointed that Groovin the Moo had cancelled, “I was looking forward to heading to Bendigo to see international acts like Wu-Tang Clan's GZA and The Kooks. It was going to be my first festival as an adult!”

“The feeling of a live show is completely different to listening to it on vinyl or Spotify. Live music has so many extra surprises, like the band improvising – it makes the sound more enjoyable to hear,” Wileman explained.

“I love going to gigs with mates and seeing the way an audience reacts. As they cheer and sing along, it feels even more pure – it really confirms what music is all about," said Wileman.

Perceptions of Live Music – Insights from Young Victorians

From 27 July to 7 August 2023, Music Victoria surveyed 500 Victorians aged 16-35 years old online survey, which asked questions about the attitudes and behaviours surrounding live music experiences.

The primary emphasis of the research was on the under-35 age group, with a specific interest in understanding the dynamics among the youngest audiences, particularly those aged 16-25.

The findings will shape future Music Victoria strategic priorities to develop and strengthen opportunities for the Victorian music industry across artists, venues, festival, concerts and audiences.


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