This is the third of four statistical overview articles: Introduction, ABS, Other Sources, and Conclusions. The project to construct an initial framework extended from September 2011 to May 2012, with non-ABS sources being classified and progressively researched from November 2011.


To gain a preliminary view inside a very extensive subject, the existing articles in the knowledge base were first divided roughly into 13 categories, ranging from attempts to obtain a general statistical estimate of the music sector based on years of data collection and analysis, to a range of articles where statistics are of marginal relevance or unlikely to exist. The description of each group is based on an assessed state of available statistics, but readers are urged to put forth their suggestions as soon as possible. If you are a person with special knowledge of a particular field, you are naturally well qualified to assess its statistical potential and needs, and your feedback is requested.

Exploring sources other than official statistics, it is inevitable that their reliability will vary more than the ABS allows within its quality pledge. But we need to marshal all sources which may reveal insights when put in further context. There is a continuum from pure estimation to high statistical quality, and the latter is by no means confined to the ABS sources. At the other extreme, estimation remains part of the game as illustrated by the valuation studies of the music sector which are reviewed in the first of the 13 categories below.

The general intention in this article and the articles reached through the links below is to show both what is available from the ABS (based on Overview of Music Statistics: ABS), and actually and potentially from other sources, to define the gaps in Australian statistics. It means identifying non-ABS sources that are actually or potentially available. The final article, Overview of Music Statistics: Conclusions, comments on remaining gaps in statistical knowledge, and outlines a research program.

The 13 categories and their subgroups form a fairly crude framework and do not indicate priorities. The statistical development process must be allowed to some extent to be opportunistic, and must proceed on more than one front, with advice from MCA councillors, academics and members of the music sector. Please follow the links for detail on each category:

The statistical areas vary from group to group. Employment, value of output, value-added, consumption, trade, and income by main sources including public and private funding are some of the dimensions. Trends are important but depend on repeating the statistical collection on a regular basis, whether monthly, quarterly, annually, or less frequently.


Hans Hoegh-Guldberg. Entered 12 February 2012. Logo design: HHG (treble clef image courtesy of Most recent amendments 15 May 2012.


  1. The remaining (13th) group deals with matters that don’t lend themselves to statistical treatment. Subjects range from the role of cultural capital and technology, equity and access, freedom of expression and the whole of government approach, to how best to invest in our creative musicians. Special subjects include auditory space, implications of digitisation, notated art music, and the Ballet Russes. All are important components of the knowledge base, and more special subjects are advocated for their general rather than statistical content.↩︎

Hans founded his own consulting firm, Economic Strategies Pty Ltd, in 1984, following 25 years with larger organisations. He specialised from the outset in applied cultural economics — one of his first major projects was The Australian Music Industry for the Music Board of the Australia Council (published in 1987), which also marks his first connection with Richard Letts who was the Director of the Music Board in the mid-1980s. Hans first assisted the Music Council of Australia in 2000 and between 2006 and 2008 proposed and developed the Knowledge Base, returning in an active capacity as its editor in 2011. In November 2013 the Knowledge Base was transferred to The Music Trust, with MCA's full cooperation.

Between 2000 and 2010 Hans also authored or co-authored several major domestic and international climate change projects, using scenario planning techniques to develop alternative long-term futures. He has for several years been exploring the similarities between the economics of cultural and ecological change, and their continued lack of political clout which is to a large extent due to conventional GDP data being unable to measure the true value of our cultural and environmental capital. This was announced as a major scenario-planning project for The Music Trust in March 2014 (articles of particular relevance to the project are marked *, below).

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