We are all different… are we?
When choosing the seat for a concert there are a lot of factors that might influence our selection. Starting from the price tier, we consider the genre, the program type, stage view, etc.
Additional criteria and preference depends on the individuals. Someone tall would avoid inner row for the lack of legroom. Others would have preference to sit close to the stage in order to be able to see the performers well. Music gurus will examine the acoustics, while persons fighting panic would give all to sit on the first seat of the row. In the end one might think that we all have different seating selection priorities. Research proved different.
Visuals over acoustics…
Satoshi Kawase (Soai University, Osaka) has published an interesting study about the factors influencing audience seat selection in the Journal of Environmental Psychology.
He investigated music and non-music majors’ seating behaviour at concert hall by employing questionnaire method, covering six different types of concerts. The main results suggest that:
- both music and non-music majors prioritize visual factors over auditory factors when selecting a seat;
- seating selection in the two groups was highly similar, although it varied somewhat in relation to the quality of sound;
- with regard to horizontal direction, preferred seats concentrated close to the centreline except for concerts with a piano soloist. In terms of vertical direction, posterior seats were preferred for large-scale bands, whereas anterior seats were preferred for small-scale performances, except for rock bands.
Influenced by others
One thing to be mentioned additionally: the influence of already selected seats on the seat plan, i.e. others’ choice. Looking at the below example I bet that the remaining seat-pairs will go first.
Because we like to feel to have nailed a good deal and grabbed last best seats. Maybe even better than our own particular seat preferences.