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This page provides information and data on the Music sector, which is one component of the Arts, Culture, Entertainment and Design industry, and includes music production, sound and technical production, and music business and industry.

The Music sector is characterised by a variety of occupations, with most workers self-employed, working as contractors or employed in small businesses. Private music teaching is responsible for the largest proportion of employment within the sector, with performance or recording-based occupations making up a smaller proportion of employment. New technologies are currently creating new opportunities for music performers and others working in this industry.

Nationally recognised training for the Music sector is delivered under the CUA – Creative Arts and Culture Training Package

For information on other live performance, including musical theatre, see Live Production Services.

Information sourced from the Culture and Related Industries IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast.

All data sources are available at the end of the page.

IRC and Skills Forecasts

Employment trends

For information on employment trends, see the Arts, Culture, Entertainment and Design cluster page.

Training trends

Training snapshot

Program enrolments in Music-related qualifications increased slightly between 2015 and 2017, with enrolments between 2017 and 2018 remaining relatively stable (approximately 14,170 and 14,150 respectively). Program completions declined marginally between 2015 and 2017, with an increase recorded between 2017 and 2018 (roughly 4,670 to 5,080). Music-related qualification enrolments were distributed across certificate levels, with about half of enrolments in certificate III level qualifications (50%), followed by certificate II (30%) and diploma or higher level (13%). Almost all these qualifications were in Music Business and Industry, with the only intended occupation of Sound Technician.

The majority of Music-related qualifications were delivered by private training providers (63%). Over half of Music-related qualifications were Commonwealth and state funded (59%), followed by domestic fee for service (39%).

The largest proportion of students in Music-related qualifications resided in Victoria (41%), with 15% of students in Western Australia and 12% in New South Wales.

More than two fifths of training was delivered in Victoria (42%), followed by Western Australia (26%), New South Wales (12%) and South Australia (10%).

There were insufficient enrolments in apprenticeships or traineeships to allow any further analysis.

For more data specific to your occupation, industry or training package, visit NCVER’s VET Students by Industry. If you are prompted to log in, select cancel and you will continue to be directed to the program.

For more data specific to your region visit NCVER’s Atlas of Total VET.

If you are interested in extracting NCVER data to construct tables with data relevant to you, sign up for a VOCSTATS account.

Industry insights

For an analysis of skills needs and workforce demand, see the Arts, Culture, Entertainment and Design cluster page.

Technological change has been identified in the Culture and Related Industries IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast as impacting job roles and skills needs across the Culture and Related Industries sector. Technological disruption is expected to have to impact: the way workers collaborate and produce art and services; the way art and expertise is sold, including self-promotion to employers and consumers; and the demand for skills of creativity and design.

The Culture and Related Industries IRC's 2018 Skills Forecast outlines a number of key drivers for change within the industry and related vocational training. These include:

  • A current inadequacy of training which fully prepares learners for a career in the Music industry
  • A need for qualifications to better reflect the new technologies and related opportunities in the sector, as well as to impart specialised technical skills to enable learners to stand out
  • The importance of equipping those in the sector with relevant freelancing, self-publishing and collaborative skills, including the use of data analysis in either a freelance or more traditional working environment
  • An unmet demand for songwriters existing in the sector, with a lack of relevant skills covered by existing vocational training.

The  Culture and Related Industries IRC’s 2017 Skills Forecast identified a number of key challenges and opportunities for the Music sector, for example, musicians reported business and marketing skills as the most crucial skills that they did not currently have. This suggests the need for these skills to be integrated within qualifications that mainly provided more technical skills. The report also noted that digital distribution of music presents both opportunities and challenges for Australian musicians, providing opportunities for Australian music to access new markets while at the same time forcing them to compete in a global marketplace.

Regulatory and planning barriers, a change in consumer trends and increasing costs were highlighted in Music Australia’s Statistical Snapshot for 2017 as being challenges for this sector. Students of vocational qualifications should be prepared to meet these challenges.

The 2016 National Contemporary Music Plan, also from Music Australia, considered the global media landscape as central to the issues facing the Australian music sector. This plan identified these challenges as being primarily in the area of contracting market revenues, due to global media technology reducing product returns for all recorded music and this globalisation leading to Australia holding a diminishing share of the global market. This, the plan argued, places more importance on live music revenues for performing artists. The plan set out several strategies to address these challenges, including a strong push to regain global market share for Australian artists.

For insights relevant to music and other related fields generally, see the Arts, Culture, Entertainment and Design cluster page.

Links and resources

Data sources and notes

Training data has been extracted from the National VET Provider Collection, Total VET Student and Courses from the following training packages or qualifications:

  • CUA Creative Arts and Culture and CUS Music Training Packages
  • Music  
    • CUS20109 - Certificate II in Music
    • CUS30109 - Certificate III in Music
    • CUS40109 - Certificate IV in Music
    • CUS50109 - Diploma of Music
    • CUS60101 - Advanced Diploma of Music
    • CUS60109 - Advanced Diploma of Music
  • Music Business and Industry
    • CUA20615 - Certificate II in Music Industry
    • CUA30915 - Certificate III in Music Industry
    • CUA40915 - Certificate IV in Music Industry
    • CUA50815 - Diploma of Music Industry
    • CUA60515 - Advanced Diploma of Music Industry
    • CUS30309 - Certificate III in Music Business
    • CUS40309 - Certificate IV in Music Business
    • CUS50309 - Diploma of Music Business
    • CUS60309 - Advanced Diploma of Music Business
  • Sound and Technical Production
    • CUS30201 - Certificate III in Music Industry (Technical Production)
    • CUS30209 - Certificate III in Technical Production
    • CUS40209 - Certificate IV in Sound Production
    • CUS50209 - Diploma of Sound Production
    • CUS60209 - Advanced Diploma of Sound Production.

This includes superseded qualifications and training packages.

Data covers a range of selected student and training characteristics in the following categories and years:

  • 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 program enrolments
  • 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 program completions.

Total VET students and courses data is reported for the calendar year. Program enrolments are the qualifications, courses and skill sets in which students are enrolled in a given period. For students enrolled in multiple programs, all programs are counted. Program completion indicates that a student has completed a structured and integrated program of education or training. Location data uses student residence. Subject enrolment is the registration of a student at a training delivery location for the purpose of undertaking a module, unit of competency or subject. For more information on the terms and definitions, please refer to the Total VET Activity students and courses: terms and definitions document. 

Low counts (less than five) are not reported to protect client confidentiality.  

Priority skills data have been extracted from the Culture and Related Industries IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast.

Updated: 03 Feb 2020
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