February 2015: New guidance on Data Protection is coming soon and information here will be updated as soon as possible
For touring companies audience data – and who has access to it – is a contentious issue. This guide is primarily for touring companies, but venue staff might find it interesting to see the arguments from a touring company’s perspective. It address five key questions: Why would I want audience data? Why might a venue be reluctant to give it to me? What does the law say? Could I actually manage all this data? and What can I do if a venue won’t give it to me?
What can I do if a venue won't give me any data?
The first thing to do is insert a data clause or data rider into your contract. Try to get this agreed early on, as contracts are often finalised late on, at which point the clause probably won't apply retrospectively.
Make sure the clause is realistic. There's no point writing 'Venue A agrees to pass all customer names and contact details to Touring Company B', as this would clearly contravene the Data Protection Acts. Do a bit of research into what questions the venue asks an audience member at the time of booking. If it doesn't currently ask permission to pass audience contact details on to the touring company, it is best to discuss this directly with the venue manager, rather than inserting it in the contract and hoping for the best. In the meantime, make sure you do get what you want in terms of anonymised audience data, particularly for funding reports.