Portal | The Audience Agency's Open Data

Open data is the idea that some data should be freely available for everyone to explore, analyse and republish as they wish.

About The Audience Agency's Open Data


The Audience Agency exists to give people better access to culture, for the public good and the vitality of the sector. Our purpose is to lead insight-driven, audience-focused practice and policy. We put our knowledge and skills in creating and using insight at the disposal of the sector, as agents for positive change.

What is open data?


Open data is the idea that some data should be freely available to everyone to use and republish as they wish, free from copyright restrictions, patents or other mechanisms of control. According to the Open Data Institute:
Open data is data that anyone can access, use and share. Open data has to have a license that says it is open data. Without a licence, the data can't be reused.
The licence might also say:
  • That people who use the data must credit whoever is publishing it (this is called attribution).
  • That people who mix the data with other data have to also release the results as open data (this is called share-alike)

You can read the full specifics of The Audience Agency's open data licence HERE.

Why do we publish open data?


As part of our commitment to sharing our acquired knowledge, we regularly publish large sets of anonymised and aggregated data. What is important for us at The Audience Agency is that our data forms the basis for a narrative of human behaviour in the arts. Each time someone books a ticket at one of our client organisations, their (anonymised) information is recorded and added to the overall picture:
  • Where approximately do they live (‘unitary authority’)?
  • What type of performance/event (‘artform’) did they book for?
  • On what date did they book?

Once you start adding large numbers of these records together, collective behavioural trends can rapidly emerge. Often done for the retail sector, once you start to compare this set of behaviours with other data, the narrative can get even stronger, opening the possibility for research into some interesting questions regarding causation versus correlation. What are the relationships between attendance and say, the weather, exceptional events, the economy, political structures…?
To help us as a sector innovate and stay resilient, we make this data open so that anyone (academics, funders, policy-makers, start-ups and anyone else interested in creating value for the sector) can investigate, in the hope that many minds may make light work. Someone else may be able to bring their own resources, skills and interests to the challenge of extracting the latent value from the data, leading to new insights that could ultimately change what we do or how we do it for the better.

Cimeon Ellerton, COO

What do we publish?


Every month we publish transactions from organisations participating in Audience Finder, for a one-month period that occurred 18 months prior to publishing. These are a snapshot of that data: any organisations that were part of Audience Finder at that time, as well as those who joined within the 18-month lag period will be included. To understand exactly what you're looking at and gauge the rate at which the Audience Finder data pool has grown, you can refer to each dataset’s introduction, which states the specific number of organisations included within that month.

What can you do with our open data?


Our Open Data Portal, supported by Socrata, allows anybody to play with that data, to cut it and slice it, to analyse and visualise it either through a suite of online tools, or by downloading the dataset and applying your own software tools and appended data from other sources. The ability to export fully anonymised bespoke csv. files means that the data is your oyster. So the next time you want to know XYZ about audiences in England and Wales, try the Open Data portal, on top of Audience Finder and Show Stats. Go have a play – you can’t break it and we'd love to get your feedback on what you find there and what else we could do to make the information more accessible and useful for you.

Click on the image below to explore an example Power BI file created from appending Met Office data to The Audience Agency's open data, to consider how weather can affect arts and cultural booking habits and trends.

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The data used to create this Power BI:
TAA Open Data exported.csv
Met Office external data source