Eventbrite Study: Majority of Gig-Goers Irritated By Mobile Phones At Live Events

A forest of phones
– A forest of phones
Opinions on phone usage at concerts vary, particularly between young and older fans

The majority of British adults surveyed in a study commissioned by Eventbrite and conducted by ComRes, would endorse greater measures to manage mobile phone use during live performances.
According to the survey results, of the 1,031 British adults participating in the survey, who had attended a live ticketed event within the last twelve months, 70 percent said they found it “irritating” when others turned to taking pictures and video during the performance.
69 percent agreed that some action should to be taken to minimise it, and 65 percent said using their phone to capture images at a performance could make them feel as if they were missing out on the event itself.
Still, 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.
Nearly half of respondents (49 percent) said they took photos and videos at the events they attended, a figure that to 62 percent for both those aged 18-24 and 35-44.
81 percent responded that they understood why an artist might not like videoing and photographing at the event.
Dr. Lee Hadlington, associate professor in Cyberpsychology at De Montfort University in Leicester, England, who is quoted in the study, points to a paradox in the findings: “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.”
Different measures to mitigate the use of phones at live concerts found different numbers of supporters, for instance “no phone zones” were supported by 13 percent, gentle nudges to make phones more discrete by 41 percent, and audience spot-checks for over-filming by 17 percent.
Eventbrite’s head of marketing Katie McPhee commented: “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.”
Artists, who have spoken out or outright banned the use of phones at their shows, include Adele, Alicia Keys, Nick Cave, Kendrick Lamar, Jack White as well as comedians Chris Rock and Kevin Hart.
In its survey findings, Eventbrite states that “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.” 
The Association for Electronic Music’s general manager Greg Marshall said: “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.”
Eventbrite’s findings follow those of UK-based ticketing platform Skiddle, which conducted a similar survey at the end of last year.