The UK music industry is reportedly losing out on 2.5m tickets sales, or £66m in annual revenue, by not offering online booking to Deaf and disabled customers.
The findings are part of charity Attitude Is Everything’s biennial State of Access Report. The report is based on hundreds of ‘mystery shopping’ questionnaires from disabled music fans, which reveal that 83% of disabled gig-goers were put off buying tickets in the past year due to inaccessible booking systems.
Whilst 75% of disabled people preferred to book their tickets online, only 2 of 10 venues offered online ticketing to disabled customers, opting instead to sell accessible tickets through in-house telephone booking lines.
Limited opening hours on such lines can lead to extended waiting times and customers occasionally missing out on popular gigs.
The report also says that small investments into access improvements can result in increased revenue. In the past five years, Festival Republic have made improvements to make their festivals more accessible to Deaf and disabled customers. In return, Reading Festival has enjoyed a 243% increase in accessible tickets sold over five years, contributing £115k in 2013, up from £40k in 2009.
Melvin Benn, managing director at Festival Republic, organisers of Reading, Leeds and Latitude festivals 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.”
In order for more tickets to be made available for disabled customers to purchase online, there needs to be more awareness of accessibility issues and a universal proof of disability system to overcome issues with eligibility, said the charity.
Attitude is Everything are working with the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers (STAR) to facilitate a working party involving all of the key ticketing agencies, including Ticketmaster, See Tickets, Ticketline and Eventim, who have made a commitment to consider how booking systems can be made more accessible for disabled people.
Suzanne Bull MBE, CEO at Attitude is Everything said: “The State of Access Report demonstrates the value of our dedicated team of Mystery Shoppers, who have identified barriers to overcome in terms of accessible ticketing policies.
“But 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.”