Live Music Tours and Promotions in Australia.
Organizing a tour in Australia involves three key players — the act, the promoter, and the venue. Each of the players will cover different costs and in the end take home part of the gross profit. The most popular venues in Australia include Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena, Perth Arena, Sydney’s Allphone Arena, Qantas Credit Union Arena in Sydney, and Brisbane Entertainment Centre. Harry Styles played smaller venues in Australia in 2017 and chose 1 night at Enmore Theatre in Sydney,1 night at the Forum Melbourne in Melbourne, and 1 night at the Spark Arena in Auckland. Overall, deciding on how many nights to perform depends on the act's popularity in the area (and the corresponding demand).
WHO takes on risk when organizing a music tour
Breaking down the concert ticket price applies globally, which is why we are using this article from The Guardian to lay out the details.
First, 10% goes to the booking fee and processing fee. This is the fee that is charged by large music promotion companies, such as Live Nation, Ticketmaster, Eventim etc.
Third, there is a very small percentage which goes to royalties — usually from 3% (maximum) to as low as 0.1% of the gross profit.
What is left is around 84% of the gross profit (on average). From that amount, fixed expenses are covered first which include "venue hire, stage hands, venue staff, electricians, power, spotlight hire, scaffolding, barriers, catering, public liability insurance, backstage furniture, forklifts, rigging, medical staff, transport and other things such as towels".
This leaves between 50% and 70% of the gross profit which is then split between the artist and the promoter: "A commonly quoted figure is that the promoter will take 15% of what is left and the act will get 85%. But it will depend on if the promoter really has to work to get the show to sell out or if they are pushing on an open door and demand is so high it sells out in seconds. In those instances, the promoter may get as little as 5%; but for arena shows charging $150 or more for tickets, that 5% quickly adds up." The promoter is the one taking upon themselves the risk of putting on the show, drawing the crowds, and getting the show to sell. Depending on the risk they are taking, the promoter may ask for a larger share of the gross profit. This is done as follows: "Performers are often offered a guarantee, making the performance risk-free as they will be offered a set fee regardless of whether the show sells out, with the promoter shouldering any losses. In many cases, the performers will get a guaranteed minimum fee plus a percentage of anything made beyond that figure."
As we mentioned, the promoters take the risk for putting up a tour, and in turn charge a percentage of the gross profit. Therefore we looked into Australia's biggest music promoters. The list we used for this is a list that quotes research which is behind a paywall. While this research seems to be done each year, we cannot find an article that reported on the list in 2016 or 2017, and we are therefore using the accessible article which was written in 2015 and uses 2015 stats. The biggest tour promoters in Australia are:
1. Frontier Touring (981,019 tickets sold)
2. Nine Live (353,948 tickets sold)
3. Adrian Bohm Presents (207,642 tickets sold)
4. Chugg Entertainment (197,483 tickets sold)
5. Bluesfest Byron Bay (175,414 tickets sold)
6. Dainty Group (117,668 tickets sold)
HOW to plan where to tour
The same list we used for biggest tour promoters in Australia also listed the key (in their terms: biggest) venues in Australia which we provide in categories. They have also been included based on ticket sales (ultimately this means they are the most popular venues).
Five Australian arenas have been ranked among the Top 200 arenas in the world:
1. Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena (289,924 tickets sold)
2. Perth Arena (283,384 tickets sold)
3. Sydney’s Allphone Arena (207,229 tickets sold)
4. Qantas Credit Union Arena in Sydney (190,192 tickets sold)
5. Brisbane Entertainment Centre (177,989 tickets sold)
Australia’s outdoor sites included in the list are:
Melbourne Etihad Stadium (116,234 tickets sold)
Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm in Byron Bay
Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium (73,632 ticket sold)
Sydney’s Allianz Stadium (62,650 tickets sold)
Sydney’s ANZ Stadium (51,131 tickets sold)
Club venues included are:
1. Melbourne’s Corner Hotel (87,780 tickets sold)
2. Northcote Social Club (28,648 tickets sold)
3. Sydney sister venue the Newtown Social Club (27,209 tickets sold)
The only theater included in the list is Melbourne’s Palais with 136,195 tickets sold.
Most of the tour planning guides specify that one of the key things to do when planning a tour is "drawing up a rough schedule of dates, cities and venues" and then giving yourself room "to move as you won’t
always be able to get the venues you want on the days you want them. If you’re touring but not sure of which route to take look at what other bands have done in the past, especially those on a similar par to your own as this can help with venue choices". Another important thing to consider is to see what else is happening when you are planning to tour at the places where you are touring to avoid clashes.
Therefore, we looked at three different tours that have happened in 2017 or are happening in 2018 in Australia. First is Ed Sheeran who is touring stadiums. Second is Lana Del Rey who is performing Arenas, and third is Harry Styles who performed in small venues which capacities up to 5,000 people. Here is which venues they chose.
2 nights at Perth Stadium
1 night at Adelaide Oval
4 nights at Edihad Stadium in Melbourne
3 nights at ANZ Stadium in Sidney
2 nights Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane
1 night at Riverstage in Brisbane
1 night at Sidney Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne
1 night Qudos Bank Arena in Sidney
1 night at Enmore Theater in Sydney
1 night at the Forum Melbourne in Melbourne
1 night at the Spark Arena in Auckland
HOW to decide how many nights to perform
Deciding on how many nights to perform depends on the act's popularity in the area (and the corresponding demand). The rule for picking what nights and how many nights to perform can also be:
"If you've been getting good press in a particular area, add it to your list. If this tour is more about getting your music to a new audience and promoting a new release, first consider places that are budget-friendly and may have a concentration of music press and industry people. Ideally, you’ll choose places where you have a personal connection of some kind, whether it’s a strong fan base or a promoter you know well."
Tours are overall very expensive and therefore the planning involved in the tour can help reduce costs.
The artist covers the following: crew (roadies, sound engineers, lighting crew, catering, tour manager, backing singers, extra musicians, dancers), transport trucks, transportation in general, manager, and rehearsals before the tour. When dealing with a huge act, it can cost up to $750,000 a day for each day on the road.
The venue usually cover the fixed costs which include: venue hire, stage hands, venue staff, electricians, power, spotlight hire, scaffolding, barriers, catering, public liability insurance, backstage furniture, forklifts, rigging, and medical staff.
The promoter covers the costs of promoting the show, distributing the ticket sales, and any other expenses related to direct booking of the show.
Organizing a tour in Australia involves the act, the promoter, and the venue. The promoter is often the key player in the organization as they take on the full risk and also cover the costs of promoting the show, distributing the ticket sales, and any other expenses related to direct booking of the show. Overall, deciding on how many nights to perform as well as what cities to perform in depends on the act's popularity in the area (and the corresponding demand).