The latest industry news to your inbox.


I'd like to hear about marketing opportunities


I accept IQ Magazine's Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy


UK concertgoers ‘support mobile phone crackdown’

An Eventbrite/ComRes survey finds a majority of adult UK eventgoers support action to control the use of mobiles at gigs

By IQ on 03 Dec 2018

Mobile phone at Coldplay show

image © Jens Holloch

A majority of people would support greater measures to control mobile phone usage during live shows, according to a new survey of British eventgoers.

According to research conducted by ComRes on behalf of Eventbrite, of the 1,031 UK adults who have attended a ticketed live event in the past 12 months, 70% say they find it irritating when other people take pictures and video during the performance; 69% agree that some action should to be taken to minimise it; and 65% say using their phone to capture images could make them feel as if they were missing out on the event itself.

However, more than a third of respondents say taking pictures or filming is an important part of the live experience.

The research also found that:

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

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 discreet (41%) or audience spot-checks for over-filming (17%).

Lee Hadlington, associate professor in cyberpsychology at De Montfort University in Leicester, says the survey shows a contradiction between expectations of other people’s mobile usage and how they see their own behaviour.

“There is a general agreement … that using your phone during a live performance can be detrimental to the live experience”

“You’ve got a paradox,” says Dr Hadlington. “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.’”

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.

Eventbrite’s head of marketing, Katie McPhee, says: “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.”

A similar survey undertaken by Skiddle last year found 27% of gig-goers under 30 thought mobile phones should be banned outright at shows.


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.