Over a quarter of Australian nightclubs have shut in recent years, study finds

Along with COVID-19, a rise in dating apps and social media has been blamed

A new research report from IBISWorld has revealed a significant decline in Australian nightclubs, with over a quarter of them shutting permanently over the last few years.

The report, shared as part of an ABC News story over the weekend (June 12), noted that of the 482 nightclubs previously established in Australia, only 355 remained open, meaning that over 100 have closed their doors in recent times. The report also noted that revenue for nightclubs has drastically gone down, not experiencing an uptick in profit margins since 2018.

This decline has been attributed to several contributing factors, including the COVID-19 pandemic, rising costs, short-staffing and a general lack of interest in clubbing amongst young people. “Over the last 10-15 years, nightclubs in general have been in decline,” said Stewart Birchell – the manager of Broome nightclub Skyalla – in a statement to ABC News.

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“Trends change, and the emergence of small bars has had a big effect. I think dating apps have changed things – with people swiping left or right, the need for nightclubs to meet a boyfriend or girlfriend is in decline.”

Jhor Samphanh, the venue manager of Geelong nightclub Home House, also opined that social media was a potential factor in the decline of the venues. “People are afraid they’ll get their photo taken kissing some person when they’re drunk, and be made fun of,” he said.

Western Australian Nightclub Association chairman Simon Barwood also noted a dramatic increase in music licensing fees, which remain at the same price level regardless of how many people show up on the night.

“It’s gone from around $10,000 a year to over $100,000 for some clubs,” he said.

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