State of Access Report 2018: Ticketing Without Barriers

Posted on 09.04.2018

State of Access Report 2018: Ticketing Without Barriers

We’re thrilled to announce the publication of our fourth State of Access Report, which explores the barriers faced by Deaf and disabled people when booking tickets to live music events, and the practical changes the music industry can make to address them.

Today we’re also launching the Ticketing Without Barriers Coalition – a new pan-industry taskforce that will work collectively to devise and implement practical solutions that ensure an equal ticketing experience for Deaf and disabled audiences.

“Although there has been much progress in making the ticketing process accessible and inclusive, only a comprehensive and truly unified approach will be able to drive through the real and lasting changes that we need.” – Suzanne Bull MBE, Chief Executive Officer, Attitude is Everything and Disability Sector Champion for Music

Key Findings

The report, available to download here, includes the findings of our Access Booking Survey and the combined voice of hundreds of Deaf and disabled gig-goers.

Of over 300 respondents, 80% had experienced problems when booking tickets to live music events. A similar number had been put off buying tickets due to non-accessible booking systems, while over 70% stated they had felt discriminated against. And while 37% felt that access booking had improved over the past four years, 1 in 10 had considered legal action.

"I've worked with Attitude is Everything for years who do amazing work improving access to music. Everyone should be able to enjoy our fantastic live music scene and inclusivity should be at the forefront of promoters, event organisers and music venues' thoughts. Not only is it a moral imperative but it also makes good business sense to help our music industry continue to thrive now and in the future." – Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

The research also highlights the strong affinity that disabled audiences have with live music, and their contribution to the UK music business – with the 349 fans surveyed attending an average of 9 gigs or concerts in the past year, and spending an estimated £250,000 on tickets, food, drink and merchandise. According to Government data, an estimated 3.3m disabled adults attend at least one live music event each year.

“Hookworms as a band strive towards inclusion for all the shows we play. No one should feel discriminated against or face barriers when attending gigs or playing music, and we call on our peers and the music industry to help realise Attitude is Everything’s vision for ticketing without barriers.” – Hookworms

Our Vision for Access Booking

From these collective findings, we have identified five key areas where comprehensive and targeted action will result in greater inclusion at live music events, and enable event organisers to better serve their disabled customers.

In order to have an equal experience of booking tickets, Deaf and disabled music fans need:

1. A simple and universal system for evidencing access requirements

Fans need a single proof-of-disability system that is universally recognised and accepted across the UK, and a single evidence policy adopted by the whole music industry.

2. Accurate and disability-aware information and customer service

Fans need all venues and events to provide quality access information online, including uniform terminology for access booking and Disability Awareness and Inclusive Communication Training for all frontline sales staff.

3. Choice and flexibility when booking tickets

Fans need to be able to book key access provisions online. Access booking systems should integrate online, email and telephone processes, and be flexible enough to incorporate whole party booking.

4. To be able to trust that access requirements will be met

Fans need access bookings to be managed in-house where possible, to be dealt with by dedicated staff contactable by phone and email, and for access bookings to go live as soon as tickets go on sale.

5. Equal access to everything

Fans need to be able to book access at pre-sales, with gift cards, for VIP and artist meet-and-greet tickets, as well as the ability to resell accessible seating. Access booking lines need to use free-phone numbers. Fans need pre-registration systems to better manage anticipated ‘sell out’ sales.

“We are proud to have supported the publication of this report and encourage the whole of the live music industry to follow those who have already played their part in making sure their venues and events are open to everyone. We should not rest until we can ensure equal access for everyone.” – Michael Dugher, Chief Executive, UK Music

Ticketing Without Barriers

In order to deliver these changes, Attitude is Everything is excited to announce the formation of the Ticketing Without Barriers Coalition, a far reaching coalition of over 30 umbrella organisations, ticketing companies, venues and event companies, who have pledged to work together to remove barriers to ticketing.

The coalition will enable members to exchange ideas, issues and solutions, and work towards a single, unified vision for what best practice means when it comes to facilitating access booking for Deaf and disabled people.

The group will meet imminently at UK Music to establish a programme of delivery, before updating on progress at the Ticketing Professionals Conference in March 2019. 

“The accessibility of music is important to all of us at PRS for Music, including our members, and we look forward to further opportunities being made for Deaf and disabled music fans in the live sector.” – Robert Ashcroft, PRS for Music CEO

Read the full report here.