The impact of open data on arts and culture listings

A safety barrier covered in fliers for festival shows.
“Wall of fliers” by Steve Greer (CC BY 2.0)
  • driving utilisation of the results would require much higher levels of ongoing effort than we could support or justify given there was no operating funding, and;
  • with a plethora of pre-existing event ids within venues and also proprietary, usually international services, that getting traction on any universal event id was going to be particularly hard, but that venue ids might be possible.
  1. The scarcity of consideration given to the % of listings that are directly or indirectly created by international, non-UK companies or services seems an omission. We understand that setting an ambition for achieving an impact on UK listings alone is substantial in itself, but winning a level of multinational support for any change is probably essential.
  2. There is no review of options of possible schemas nor a reasoned outline of the advantages of, nor mention of possible limitations. Besides, the variability in a potential usage of any single schema means that unless properties are tightly defined, and extensibility is restricted, a commonality between the supply by different event organisers will be much limited.
  3. We estimate that 15% of our current listings events are put on by organisers who have no system expertise or support, so they are most probably not going to be able to make a listing available as open data. Yet it is this cohort that most needs assistance to get listings disseminated. We also know that the most significant future increases we can achieve in coverage will come from the community and hyper-local events.
  4. The stakeholders indicated in the report “that venues do want to get their listings out to a wider audience, but rarely as their most significant marketing issue. Issues like managing dynamic pricing or understanding the scheduling of other significant events were more likely to be raised before reaching wider audiences.” Our direct experience is that the most significant barrier to anti-clash projects is organiser and venues themselves, who want to see others information but not share their plans. A substantial hurdle to dynamic pricing is the slow speed with which updates to others in the supply chain takes place.
  5. Even if all organisers of all events published it as open data, it does not solve the problems of aggregation, whether for a local area or a service dedicated to an event genre, as there will still be much overlap between sources. In a world where all dance venues and promoters in London publish listings as Open Data, there would always be a significant job to do to provide a comprehensive London Dance listings service. A considerable minority of listings come from multiple sources.
  • As we found with, there is potential for improved visibility and ease of distribution and exchange just from improved sharing of identifiers, notably venue ids, and ahead of the ambition to move to an open data approach.
  • As an objective in itself, improved understanding of the benefits of broader listings distribution would be a step forward. Even after 30 years, even with strong inbound demand to list with us from 10’s of thousands of venues at any one time, we still spend time with event organisers explaining the value of a listing. Any work that helps raise understanding will have our support.



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Data Thistle

Data Thistle

The UK’s leading events data company