This is the first of four related articles (each marked by the statistics logo to the right) reviewing the availability of numerical data on the music sector, the need for more comprehensive data, and possible ways of obtaining such data. Refer Overview of Music Statistics: ABS for statistics from the official provider, the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Overview of Music Statistics: Other Sources for other actual and potential statistical information, and Overview of Music Statistics: Conclusions for an analysis of availability and inadequacies, and a research plan.
Chart 2 of The Music Sector outlines an ideal situation where a statistical framework is built up to give a comprehensive picture of the contribution that music-related activities make to the total economy, and to the social and cultural well-being of its citizens for which statistics are generally non-existent. No country has succeeded in reaching such an outcome, though some progress appears to be made. In Australia it is only in recent years that the leap was made from trying to describe the music industry (centred around recording) to capturing the whole music sector (centred around creation and including essential infrastructure support as outlined in The Music Sector).
Despite the sector concept being implied in an Australia Council report as early as 1987 (see Estimating the Value of the Music Sector), and a report to the Statistics Working Group of the Cultural Ministers’ Council in 2005 analysed the need for a statistical framework for the entire music sector, the use of the music sector term only gained wider currency when the Music Board of the Australia Council first published its Music Sector Plan in 2010.
The statistical sources in Australia can be divided into three main groups:
Overall estimates of music sector values will obviously improve with better data for individual components of the sector. It is somewhat disconcerting that the almost quarter-century old estimates of the economic value of the total music sector from 1987 are still basic to the current understanding. The Value of the Music Sector suggests on that basis that the total gross value-added in 2005-06 was about $6.8 billion at the then prevailing values, assuming no significant structural change took place within the sector. It would be higher in 2010-11 values on these assumptions (($8.3 billion), but we have no built-in measures of what impact the Global Financial Crisis may have had, not to mention the the structural changes caused by the ongoing technological advances. These original estimates, in other words, need to be reviewed, and the basic model needs to be re-assessed.
The intention is to check the adequacy of Australian music sector statistics on criteria such as (contributions invited, please!):
The overview articles contain a number of invitations to contribute to the knowledge base on particular topics. The general invitation, of course, covers any relevant subject where readers think they can contribute. See Guidelines for Contributors which also shows the email address of the knowledge base editor.