Majority would support measures to reduce fan filming and photographing

  • 70% of British adults who had attended a live ticketed event within the last twelve months said they find it irritating when others constantly take pictures or video during live performances
  • 69% would support more than minimal action to minimise the disruption
  • While nearly half (49%) of people surveyed admitted to taking photos and videos at events, 65% said using their phone to capture images could make them feel as if they are missing out on the live experience

London – December 3, 2018 – New research commissioned by Eventbrite (NYSE:EB), a global ticketing and event technology platform that powers millions of events, confirms that the majority of British adults surveyed who have attended a ticketed live event in the last twelve months would endorse greater measures to manage mobile phone use during live performances, suggesting this could improve the overall event experience.

Of the 1,031 British adults surveyed who had attended a live ticketed event within the last twelve months, 70% said they find it irritating when others turn to taking pictures and video during the performance, 69% agreed that some action should to be taken to minimise it, and 65% said using their phone to capture images at a performance could make them feel as if they were missing out on the event itself. Nevertheless, more than one third of British adults who have attended a ticketed live event in the last twelve months agreed that taking pictures or videos is an important part of the live experience.

The research, conducted by ComRes on behalf of Eventbrite, also found that, of British adults who have attended a live ticketed event in the last twelve months:

  • Nearly half (49%) said they took photos and videos at the events they attended – and this figure rises to a clear majority amongst those aged 18-24 and 35-44 (62% for each):
  • Women are more likely than men to take photos and videos (56% versus 41%).
  • A large majority of respondents understood why an artist might not like videoing and photographing at the event (81%).

Despite consensus amongst most respondents that measures should be taken to limit mobile phone usage at live events, there appears to be contradiction between expectations of other people’s mobile phone usage vs. how they behave themselves:

“You’ve got a paradox,” says Dr Lee Hadlington Associate Professor in Cyberpsychology at De Montfort University in Leicester. “People are saying ‘it’s OK if I use my phone at an event – because I want to get this special photo – but when someone else does it, that’s really annoying.”

69% would support measures to reduce filming and photographing with phones

The majority of those who have attended a live event in the last year would support some action being taken to manage mobile phone use, such as creating ”no phone zones” (13%), gentle nudges to make phones more discrete (41%), or audience spot-checks for over-filming (17%).

Eventbrite’s Head of Marketing Katie McPhee commented on the study’s findings:
“Go to any stadium gig and you’ll be met with a forest of arms holding up mobiles and blocking lines of sight, so people behind feel irritated. Our report confirms that there is a general agreement between audiences, artists and promoters that using your phone during a live performance can be detrimental to the live experience – both for yourself and for those around you –, and that it should be managed. We hope that our new report provides a starting point for a healthy discussion on how we can all ensure to make the most out of live experiences with or without our mobile phones.”

The industry view

Mainstream artists including Adele, Alicia Keys, Nick Cave, Kendrick Lamar and the late Prince, have all asked fans to live in the moment and, in some cases, to refrain from using their phones during the performance. Comedians Chris Rock and Kevin Hart, and the former White Stripes front-man, Jack White feel so strongly about the issue that they have banned mobile phones at their gigs. Corresponding, non-representative industry feedback collected with the support of the Association for Electronic Music and the Association of Independent Festivals seems to confirm acute industry awareness of the issue, coupled with a cautious approach to curbing phone use: Of the surveyed industry professionals who offered an opinion, approximately four out of five had concerns about people recording pictures and videos during performances, but a majority (63%) had no measures in place to manage mobile phone use.
The Association for Electronic Music’s General Manager Greg Marshall added:“Capturing a video or picture moment from a show is clearly important to a lot of event attendees, but it can also cause annoyance to others particularly if phones are held up excessively. We should look to strike a balance to ensure that both viewpoints are respected.”

One of the Association’s artist ambassadors, DJ, producer and record label owner Anja Schneider reflected: “As a DJ I want to entertain people. I build a set, maybe it’s an all-nighter, or an after-party slot. You can’t then condense that down into a little piece of video filmed on a phone – three minutes or twenty seconds or whatever. Do I find myself playing to a forest of phones waving in the air? Of course, and for me that’s a problem because you can’t see the people, you can’t see the vibe. You can’t see people’s faces.”

ComRes mobile phones at live events survey
ComRes interviewed 2,021 GB adults (1,031 who have attended a live ticketed event in the last 12 months) online between the 15th and 16th October 2018. Data were weighted to be demographically representative of all British adults. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Full data tables can be found at www.comresglobal.com.

Industry feedback
Non-representative industry feedback was collected between the 8th October and the 5th November 2018 via an online questionnaire that was distributed with the support of the Association for Electronic Music and the Association of Independent Festivals, and posted on the Eventbrite UK blog. 97 individuals who stated that they were involved in producing music events or performing at music events responded.