New music business coalition aims to improve access booking and accessible ticketing for Deaf and disabled audiences
Leading music charity Attitude is Everything will today publish their fourth State of Access Report at London’s world famous Roundhouse, and launch the Ticketing Without Barriers Coalition – a new pan-industry taskforce aiming to address 5 key areas that will improve the experience for Deaf and disabled audiences when booking tickets for live music events.
The report (download here), also includes the results of the charity’s Access Booking Survey and the combined voice of hundreds of Deaf and disabled gig-goers.
Over 80% of those questioned said they had experienced problems when booking tickets to live music events. A similar number said they had been put off buying tickets due to non-accessible booking systems, and 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.
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.
Adding to the charity’s 18-years experience of working with event organisers, the report, which is supported by UK Music and PRS for Music, also spotlights innovative and inspirational music businesses who are blazing a trail with access provision.
From these collective findings, Attitude is Everything 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.
1. A simple and universal system for evidencing access requirements
Fans need a single proof-of-disability system that is uniformly 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 for pre-sales, VIP and artist meet-up tickets, and with entertainment gift cards, as well as the ability to resell of accessible seating. Access booking lines need to use free-phone numbers. PA tickets need to be bookable by any Deaf or disabled person who requires one. Fans need pre-registration systems to better manage anticipated ‘sell out’ sales.
In order to deliver these changes, Attitude is Everything is delighted to announce the formation of the Ticketing Without Barriers Coalition.
Comprising more than 35 trade bodies, leading ticketing agencies, event promoters and venues, the new pan-industry 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. [See full list here]
Suzanne Bull MBE, Chief Executive Officer, Attitude is Everything and Disability Sector Champion for Music, said:
“With our fourth State of Access Report we wanted to return to probably the single-most important issue that impacts all Deaf and disabled music fans – the process of booking tickets. Although there has been much progress in making the ticketing process accessible and inclusive, and certain venues and companies are definitely getting this right for their Deaf and disabled customers, we felt that only a comprehensive and truly unified approach would be able to drive through the real and lasting changes that we need.
“In 2018, every large-scale music event should be all-inclusive. Disabled customers should be able to buy a ticket online, they should be encouraged to attend shows with their friends, and not have to jump through undignified hoops when things go wrong. As a disabled music fan myself, I’d urge ticket sellers, venues and festivals to understand that all disabled people must enjoy the same experiences as any other fan. The wider music business has the power to fix this, and I’ve been delighted at the response from all who’ve agreed to join the Ticketing Without Barriers Coalition. It feels that everyone’s on the same page, up for the challenge and committed to working towards a positive result on this. We now look forward to getting to work, and delivering some results.”
Sarah Newton, Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work said:
“Going to a gig or festival is an experience that everyone should be able to enjoy. It’s therefore incredibly important that disabled people have the right access when booking tickets for live music events, which is why I’m really pleased to see leading businesses from across the music industry coming together to improve accessibility.
“We know that disabled people and their households have a combined spending power of £249 billion a year, proving that being inclusive isn’t just the right thing to do, it also makes good business sense.”
Michael Dugher, Chief Executive, UK Music, said
“UK Music is committed to working with Attitude is Everything and being a part of their continuing mission to make live music accessible to all. 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.”
Robert Ashcroft, CEO, PRS for Music, said:
“We strongly support the continuing work of Attitude is Everything and the State of Access Reports, which look to improve music experiences for Deaf and disabled audiences. 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.”
Jonathan Brown, Chief Executive, Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers said
“In response to the 2014 State of Access Report, STAR formed its Accessible Ticketing Group to discuss obstacles and solutions to improving ticketing for disabled people. These discussions with ticket agents, systems providers, venues and promoters have helped promote change and led to the publication of our Accessible Ticketing Guide in 2017. There is still much to be done and we therefore welcome the Ticketing Without Barriers Coalition to help bring about further significant and necessary improvements.”
Huey Walker, Senior Relationship Manager, Music, Arts Council England said:
“At Arts Council England we are extremely proud to have supported the work of Attitude is Everything since their inception 18 years ago and we enthusiastically support the publication of the 4th State of Access Report. Attitude is Everything’s support for audiences, artists and the sector continues to play an essential role in helping us deliver our mission of Great Art and Culture for Everyone, and I am delighted we were recently able to re-confirm our commitment to this important work through a significantly increased grant for the period 2018 to 2022.”
For more information, please visit http://www.attitudeiseverything.org.uk
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New music business coalition aims to improve access booking and accessible ticketing for Deaf and disabled audiences - 9 Apr 2018
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