Live music losing out on £66m a year

Attitude is Everything charityThe UK live music industry is missing out on £66m in annual ticket sales by not offering convenient booking options to deaf and disabled customers, a new report has found.

Attitude is Everything, a charity that improves deaf and disabled people’s access to live music, said in its latest State of Access Report that the live sector is losing out on 2.5 million ticket sales a year.

A survey undertaken for the report revealed that 83 percent of disabled gig-goers polled were put off buying tickets due to inaccessible booking systems.

It found that while 75 percent of the disabled people asked preferred to book their tickets online, only two out of 10 venues were actually offering online ticketing to disabled customers, opting instead to sell disabled access tickets through in-house telephone booking lines that are deemed inconvenient by many customers.

The charity is now calling for increased awareness of accessibility issues and a universal proof of disability system to overcome problems posed by proving eligibility when buying online tickets.

It is working with the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers (STAR) and all of the key ticketing agencies, including Ticketmaster, See Tickets, Ticketline and Eventim, to encourage them to reassess current systems.

Several firms have now committed to explore ways in which their ticket booking practices can be made more accessible for disabled people.

Suzanne Bull MBE, chief executive of Attitude is Everything, said: ‘Our ethos is about working in partnership with the music industry to find solutions, so we’re confident that our findings will lead to an improved live music experience for deaf and disabled music fans in the UK.’

Jonathan Brown, STAR secretary, added: ‘STAR is very pleased to be working with Attitude is Everything as we look together at how the experience of buying tickets online can be improved for deaf and disabled concert goers.

‘STAR and its members are committed to the highest possible standards of service and information for the ticket buying public and we consider the possibility of these improvements to be a high priority in our work in 2014.’

The report also found that small investments in access improvements could result in a substantial revenue rise.

In the past five years, Festival Republic, which owns Reading, Leeds and Latitude festivals, has made significant improvements to make its events more accessible to deaf and disabled customers.

In return, Reading Festival has seen a 243 percent increase in disabled access tickets sold over five years, contributing £115,000 in 2013, up from £40,000 in 2009.

Melvin Benn, managing director of Festival Republic, said: ‘Our commitment to improving the accessibility of our festivals is integral to our ability to create great festival experiences for all of our customers.

‘By investing in the facilities and working in partnership with Attitude is Everything, we have been able to grow our disabled audience and are now reaping the rewards.’

http://www.attitudeiseverything.org.uk/