More than three million disabled people attend a concert every year and disabled music fans make up 11% of the live music audience, according to government statistics.
For years, deaf and disabled music fans have faced huge barriers when it comes to booking concert tickets. Well, no longer.
On Thursday, Ticketmaster announced the UK’s first-ever online accessible ticket system, allowing individuals facing such difficulties to book their tickets online alongside everyone else. The system is only available to those individuals with accessible needs and will allow them to purchase these types of tickets.
This new system is Ticketmaster’s response to a recent survey by UK charity Attitude Is Everything, which identified 82% of the 300 people surveyed would sign up for a system of some sort that allowed a user to pre-register access requirements in order to speed up the access booking process.
Ticket Equality For All
Within 24 hours of an online accessible order, the fan will be asked to submit their accessible requirements via “My Account” on the Ticketmaster site. Once this is entered, the information is then stored securely for all future purchases, so the fan will not be expected to continuously enter the same information each time.
For those participating venues, which should be most as this technology continues to roll out to more venues across the world, accessible seats will be clearly labeled on the seat map like any other ticket—whether that’s in the range of a hearing loop, or in a wheelchair-friendly zone, with a free companion ticket.
The booking system was soft-launched in two venues—Glasgow’s Scottish Event Campus (SEC) and Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena a few nights ago.
“Every fan has the right of equal access to live entertainment,” said Andrew Parsons, managing director at Ticketmaster UK, in a statement to Pollstar in 2018. Fast-forward to yesterday’s announcement, Parson’s support for such a right has come to fruition.
According to Parsons, the feedback thus far has “been really, really positive. We’re very keen to roll it out to a host of new venues now; and I’m challenging all of our teams on that.”
After studying the survey from Attitude Is Everything, the company defined five key elements needed to ensure an equal booking experience for deaf and disabled music fans—
- A simple and universal system for evidencing access requirements,
- Accurate and disability-aware information and customer service, choice, and flexibility when booking tickets,
- Comfortability and trust that access requirements will be met, and
- Equal access to everything that any other fan would otherwise have available to them.
The lack of such a system has made the music and entertainment experience for these individuals extremely off-putting and discouraging, as people would have to pay extra to buy a ticket online or just not having that option to purchase online at all.
“We knew we had to do more for disabled fans and our team has worked hard on this ground-breaking technology that endeavors to make ticket buying simple for all,” Parsons added. “Every fan should have the same access to the events they love, it’s an ongoing process and one we continue to prioritize.”
According to Suzanne Bull MBE, the CEO at Attitude Is Everything, Ticketmaster has achieved all five key elements, stating that “this is real progress for millions of disabled fans who are entitled to a variety of ways in which they can book their tickets.”
The new system is a collaborative effort among Ticketmaster, Attitude Is Everything, Ticketing Without Barriers Coalition, the SEC and Motorpoint Arena.
“We’re committed to making a visit to the SEC an enjoyable experience for everyone, and a real focus for us is to deliver a system that offers equal access to tickets for all fans,” shared Debbie McWilliams, director of Live Entertainment at the SEC.
Expressing his excitement for the endeavor, Graham Walters, COO at Motorpoint Arena Cardiff said that they are “always looking at how [they] can improve [its] service with a more convenient way for customers with access requirements to book tickets.”
Walters went on to add that they have been working with Ticketmaster for several months, “testing digital solutions for streamlined service so that access customers can book tickets online; simpler, easier, and faster.”
Look to 2020 For More Roll-Outs
The new technology is expected to roll out across more events, venues, and countries in the future. Parsons stated that the arenas in Sheffield, Leeds, and Newcastle would be enrolled in the scheme by the end of the year, with more venues in more countries to follow in 2020.
Ticketmaster’s step forward in addressing such a barrier is an attempt at remedying the fractured music industry, because the whole point of music and art as a whole, is that it is and should be accessible to all—and even more powerful and inspirational live.
Ticket equality for all.