Lockouts Strike Again: Sydney Sees Drop In Live Music Revenue

19 February 2016 | 12:49 pm | Neil Griffiths

Something has got to give.

Boy & Bear at Hordern Pavilion, 2016. Live shot by Pete Dovgan

Boy & Bear at Hordern Pavilion, 2016. Live shot by Pete Dovgan

A large number of Sydney locals spent most of last week either questioning or downright slamming comments made by NSW Premier Mike Baird who defended the city's controversial lockout laws and claimed they were having a positive impact on the community, but the live music scene could be used as another example of how the legislation is negatively affecting Sydney, as new statistics show that the industry has suffered a drop in revenue. 

As figures released today from APRA AMCOS through the Live Music Office state, there has been a 40% drop in live performance revenue within the city's CBD lockout area. 

Statistics also show that there has been a 19% decrease in attendance figures at nightclubs and dance venues since 2014, when the lockouts were introduced. 

Figures show that venues with a live artist performance license have experienced a 40% overall drop in the value of door charge receipts, as well as a 15$ decline in the value of venue spend of live performers. 

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Meanwhile, hotels, bars and nightclubs with a live artist performance license have suffered a 32% decrease in door charge receipts and a 17% drop on venue spend of live performers. 

Speaking to theMusic, Live Music Office Policy Director, John Wardle, says the figures prove that lockouts are having a negative impact on the live music industry. 

"The data released today reflects trends in the first year of the lockouts in Sydney, Wardle said. 

"The sustainability of venues in the city has been raised with the NSW government in consultation and advocacy since the CBD plan of management was introduced. Today's figures will need a response from the NSW government if these businesses are to survive."

Wardle cites the recent commitment by the South Australian government to review live music regulation as the response other states need to adopt. 

"There are different approaches in South Australia and Victoria we can look to, to see better policy, support and dialogue between the live music industry and state governments," Wardle said. 

As per a statement released today, the Live Music Office are calling for the establishment of a roundtable between government and the live music sector, coordinated low risk regulations for live music and performance venues and a live music regulation review, as well as the following points in select states:

New South Wales

  • Exemptions from the 1.30am lockout for live music venues
  • Exemptions from the liquor freeze for venues presenting live entertainment


  • Introduction of a reference in the legislation objectives to recognise the live music industry
  • Capacity in legislation for exemptions from the 1am lockout for live music venues
  • Capacity in legislation for live music venues to trade up until 3am statewide
  • Development of low risk criteria for live music venues
South Australia
  • That government work with the November 2015 Late Night Trading Code and evaluate its effectiveness first, before introducing any further trading restrictions
Australian Capital Territory
  • Introduction of a reference in the legislation objectives to recognise the live music industry

For more details, head to the Live Music Office website.

Meanwhile, Keep Sydney Open have announced a rally to take place this Sunday to protest the lockouts in anticipation of its upcoming review.