The entertainment scene in Auckland is still struggling to attract international talent

May 29, 2024

The entertainment scene in Auckland is still struggling to attract international talent

Lorde performing in Auckland last February on her Solar Power tour. Photo: Scarlett Richards

International musicians not coming to New Zealand on their tours is causing financial strain and upset in the entertainment industry.

Auckland Live director Glen Crighton estimates Auckland Live are experiencing an increase in ticket sales however sales are still presently lower than in pre-COVID years.

This may be due to New Zealand’s inability to retain and attract international talent.

New Zealand event tickets are projected to reach $440m NZD this year, Crighton says we’re seeing 75% of pre Covid-19 ticket sales.

Besides Billie Eilish, in the last 12 months Daniel Ceaser, Paul McCartney and Taylor Swift have all failed to include a New Zealand stop in their international tours.

Billie Eilish’s, Hit Me Hard and Soft tour announcement last week saw no New Zealand concerts, causing uproar among Kiwi fans.

She then revisited Auckland in August 2022 to play three shows at Spark as part of her Happier Than Ever tour, and told fans that New Zealand was her, “favourite place in the world.”

General manager of Studio The Venue on Karangahape Road Selvin Naude said New Zealand is losing out because it doesn't have the money Australia does.

“Australia just chucks a lot more money at it, they’re maybe a little bit greedy about it and kinda hog the artists and we have to pick up all the scraps.”

An artist’s agent will declare the countries they’re visiting, and promoters will then offer their services to the artist to book with them, Naude said.

They then arrange the venue, ticket pricing and advertisements for the concert.

He said that although some Australian promoters collaborate with New Zealand promoters to ensure artists play a couple of shows in NZ, most of these shows are played early on weeknights, rather than peak times at weekends.

Naude believes having more international shows would help the hospitality and entertainment industries, which haven’t fully recovered since the Covid-19 lockdowns disrupted many local venues.

“It’s a bit of a struggle for all the venues at the moment.

"It’s definitely been hit the hardest it’s ever been hit.

“We’re not as busy as we want to be.”

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