Musicians Whining About Fans With Mobile Phones

from the get-over-it dept

This past Friday night my favorite band was in town, so I went out to see them perform at a club in San Francisco. It was a fun time and they put on a great show (as they usually do) — and it struck me early on that, even though the club was mobbed, and every once in a while I saw someone pull out a mobile phone to snap a photo or take a video, most people were just dancing and enjoying the show. Apparently, that’s not necessarily the case everywhere. PicturePhoning alerts us to an article where a bunch of musicians are whining about fans in the audience with mobile phones. While they do make some interesting points about how fans these days are so focused on documenting their experiences that they might miss the actual experience, the whole “controversy” seems overblown. If the experience is good, the experience is good, and why should the musicians care how the fans experience it? And, as I can tell you from my experience on Friday night, when the experience is top notch, most people don’t bother to pull out their mobile phones. So, perhaps rather than worrying about what the fans are doing, musicians should concentrate on putting on a better show.

Filed Under: , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Musicians Whining About Fans With Mobile Phones”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
eleete says:

Foul Copyright

Maybe they feel they can sneak a “How we want you to enjoy our IP… license” and make everyone agree to the rules of How you are to enjoy their performance. Making the memory and thought of anything to do with the performance forbidden. And Don’t you DARE try to record them while they perform their priceless acts.


SteveD says:

Re: Foul Copyright

Thats not unusual.

Saw Muse play Wembley Stadium last summer, and there were posters up everyware saying ‘Please do not record this show as we want to release it on DVD’. There were bag searches on the doors confiscating anything bigger then a mobile phone.

Of course plenty of reasonable quality video still made it onto youtube (along with lots of terrible quality video), but none of it came close to the professionally recorded and mastered DVD.

It makes you wonder why they botherd.

ehrichweiss says:

Re: Re: Foul Copyright

I worked security a few years ago for a Bob Dylan show and I can safely say that the reason they bother is because after a while all those glowing screens(which just happen to be facing the rest of the audience when used “correctly”) distract from the experience. Seriously, at one time there were enough in one area on the floor that you would have thought it was a planned event to light the area.

Regardless, you bought tickets that likely had a clause attached saying that there would be no recording and that you will forfeit your ticket if you are caught violating it. Don’t like it? Don’t buy tickets to artists who don’t allow it.

We gave people warnings and yet we’d still see them taking video 1 minute later so I don’t feel sorry for anyone whining about how they don’t want to play by the rules, especially if they get removed from the show.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: No, just stupid rules.

The complaint is more that the rules are stupid rather than not wanting to abide by them. Why ban videos? To keep it from getting on the web (and hurting DVD sales?). Did it work? No. Then your rules are dumb because they inconvenience everyone (bag searches suck, and rent-a-cops are expensive) and don’t do what they’re intended for.

Nevermind that bootleg videos of a concert probably helped sales: if you were there and liked the show, maybe you bought a DVD. More likely, you wanted to be there but couldn’t be, so you bought the DVD. And probably if you saw bootleg videos you decided you’d wished you were there and bough a professional video because the quality is so much better.

TriZz says:

Camera Phones

I totally agree, Mike. I am guilty of trying to snap a couple of photos with my camera phone, but usually there gets a point in the show where I’m so engulfed in the experience that I forget to snap more photos.

@eleete: I can’t say I agree with you. I’ve seen a bunch of videos on youtube or elsewhere and the video that they produce is hardly decipherable. It’s either too dark, grainy, and you can’t hear the song above everyone else or the music is too loud for the receiver to handle.

eleete says:

Re: Camera Phones

Maybe its not about the quality, maybe its people expressing themselves to their friends. Perhaps they’re so excited they’d like to share the experience. No? I get pic mail all the time from crappy cell phone cams, on my crappy microscopic screen, and I love to see what someone else sees all the way across the country. It’s not about the quality, its about the immediacy. Sharing an emotion or fun with someone, taking the experience home and yes, archiving it. I understand the lights may be a disruption, but jeez, its a concert, remember when people held up lighters ? No one said a thing. I guarantee you behind all this is the control of distribution. Recording the music (yes with a crappy mic on a cell phone) Recording the performance, and (GASP!!!!) sharing/distributing it on the web.

Stephen says:

camera phones at concert

My friend Karen and I went to see Rhett Miller at Maxwell’s a couple weeks ago. Not only was he amazing and the price unbeatable ($22 at the door), but afterwards he came out into the crowd to shake hands and play the role, as he said, of haberdasher by the t-shirt stand. Out came Karen’s camera phone and I took an admittedly fuzzy dark picture of them together which I guarantee she’ll treasure forever. Got a great t-shirt for The Believer for my daughter too. That’s what a concert should be like.

Tony (user link) says:

No Cameras Allowed

I always find it funny how so many shows/clubs don’t allow you to bring in cameras at all, yet many camera phones are starting to get decent pictures now, and those are allowed.

I hate when I get photo passes to a show to get picture for our website and we’re told no flash. However the people just on the other side of the barricade are flashing away with nothing happening.

Still to this day I don’t know why many clubs/bands don’t allow cameras at their shows. As a fan I just want some pictures to look back at years from now and go, “wow, that was a fun time.” As a webzine I just want good pictures for our readers/fans who are fans of the bands we see. Nothing more, nothing less. Is that so wrong?

Tony (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re: No Cameras Allowed

That is why we get photo passes, so we can be right at the stage to get the best shot. I’m not a professional photographer in the least, but I understand there are times to use flash and there are times not to. And when I don’t I know to wait for the right lighting effects to get the better shot. To me its just a hobby trying to get the best shot with your standard 7.1 MP Kodak camera. Its such a great feeling when I look at the pictures that turned out well, I just try to duplicate that as many times as I can.

eleete says:

Re: Re: Re:2 No Cameras Allowed

The response was, that flash didnt work from that far away yet now you jest about my physics while explaining that you understand. That flash works just fine from 50ft away if you learn how to adjust your camera for it. Ever heaer of Bounced Flash, That certainly increases the distance from the light to the subject too. But since this isnt physics or photography 101, I’ll leave you to ponder the ignorant response some more.


Dan Zee (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: No Cameras Allowed

Light falls off at a rate of the square of the distance. So at 2 feet, the light is 1/4 as bright as from 1 foot away, at 4 feet, 1/16 as bright, at 8 feet, it is 1/64 as bright. After about 10 feet, ambient room light swallows up any light from a flash bulb.

However, just as you can see stars at night, but can’t read a book from their light, so too do the flashbulbs going off annoy the musicians while doing nothing illuminate the photo.

Starvin Artist says:

As a musician myself, albeit minor, I really don’t care what fans do. If they’re at my gig listening to my music, who cares what they’re doing? I got them through the front door and it gets me paid. I just focus on rocking out as best as I can and hopefully they’ll come back with friends next time (which means more people listening to my music, which is awesome, and a bit more profit which enables me to play more music). 🙂

Somebody Retarded says:

Re: Re:

I agree, I play guitar, I look over and somebody has a camera, phone, camcorder, whatever, pointed my way, I make a funny face smile at them and hope somebody will see it and want to come see us live…

Maybe those big bands don’t want that, but us little guys don’t mind the free advertising…

Rob says:

I am afraid I disagree

I’ve been to shows where every other person has their cell phone or digital camera out and it’s extremely distracting to me. I can understand a couple of shots to maybe capture the light show or stage setup but I’ve seen tons of people who are watching the whole show through their device. That’s completely ridiculous and because of the screen brightness it’s distracting to the people around that person.

They should start throwing people out of venues for doing it and the practice will quickly dwindle.

Unrelated, but…I went to see Iron Man the other day and the guy in front of me (one seat to the left) was surfing or checking his text messages on his iphone throughout the movie. Every time my eyes was distracted. Who does that? Who goes to a movie and surfs youtube on their iphone, especially Iron Man. Just another reason why I don’t want to go to theaters anymore.

SteveD says:

Re: I am afraid I disagree

“I can understand a couple of shots to maybe capture the light show or stage setup but I’ve seen tons of people who are watching the whole show through their device. That’s completely ridiculous and because of the screen brightness it’s distracting to the people around that person.”

Try being short, and you might understand why. 😉

matt says:

constant phone pics = super annoying

ever go to a show and have 2/3 of the people in front of you taking pictures constantly thru the entire show thru their mobile phone? how many copies of the same unrecognizable, blurry, dark cell-phone picture do you really need anyway?

take a picture, sure why not. take 1,000, and I (and everyone else behind you!) will think you’re a stupid goon moron.

Dan (profile) says:

cheap cameras vs. DSLR's

This issue will continue to be a concern. As a semi-pro–but all for fun– photographer with lots of money invested in gear and super high quality lenses, I avoid bringing any of this stuff to anything that would look even semi-pro to any event that might require a “camera pass”. I am amused that a Canon 10D gets flagged as pro, and later the user convinces them it is a lower end Canon model. A 5D or 1Ds? Forget it–unless you put a cheap and short lens on it! Then it is not pro? Meanwhile as compact cameras increase in the available image quality, and zoom abilities, these people get in without any problem, and shoot away–along with their crappy flashes (learn how to use a camera folks–flashes are distracting to the artists on stage, and it is not a wedding!). These days, I just bring a high quality “so called one shot”–(Canon A650is). It takes some time to get it to take nice pictures in the dark, but it is better than getting harassed. Oh, and did I tell you about my Roland R-09 digital wav recorder with custom built mics? None of this is for profit, it all about preserving an experience. WWJA? What Would Jerry (Garcia) Allow? The Grateful Dead, and like bands, allow recording for the exact reason that FANS want to preserve an EXPERIENCE in their own way. As long as that recording is not distracting to the artist or the surrounding audience I think artists should lighten up a bit.

dfp says:

A Sea of phone displays

I have to agree with the people who’ve had negative experiences along these lines. I’ve been to concerts where, from halfway back, easily half the people in the audience are looking at their phone displays. Some are “documenting” the experience (ever hear of just telling people about it?) and a surprising number of them are constantly texting their cohort. I’ve watched doormen/ushers have to roust people who simply stand in doorways or aisles, so absorbed in their texting that they don’t notice they’re blocking people from getting where they have to get – while the band plays on.

Yeah, it’s cool that modern tech is advancing so rapidly, and yeah, you can claim people have a right to use their toys if they feel like it, but I’d argue that such freedoms are predicated on the notion that people will also be c.o.n.s.i.d.e.r.a.t.e of the others around them who simply want to watch and listen. Just as the jerk who likes to use their speakerphone capability for a sales call while sitting in the coffee shop, or the schmuck who believes everyone should hear their music on the bus, I think you need to take into account the experience that the majority of people in that space can reasonably expect to have, and let them have it.

ehrichweiss says:

Re: A Sea of phone displays

And we have a WINNER!! That’s absolutely it. As I mentioned above, I worked a show where there were people who were so absorbed in what they were doing that they didn’t seem to care what effect it had on the experience of others(kinda like that jerk at the dance club who flails his arms around wildly hitting, kicking and stepping on everyone around him…he’s having a good time but that doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do), and they often were sooo absorbed in using their little toys that they would ignore warnings to put them away. Hell, one guy I warned twice was in his mid-50s; one would think he would have some level of self-control by that age.

Snapper Cridge says:

It’s pretty simple. If I am at a concert and they are good…I’ll be paying attention to the band not my phone. That’s not to say that I won’t take a pic or send it to a friend, but I’m not gonna be spending my time & the $150 I just spent on tickets taking crappy pictures the whole time!

On the other side…Artists should spend more time enhancing their shows so a) they put on a top notch show and b) they embrace technology and figure out ways to include instead of exclude!

cure fan says:

We just saw The Cure last night & I admit, we took photos with the camera phone. We had great seats & my husband wanted a photo of me with the band behind me to show the kids. Lots of camera phones & small point & shoots right up front near us, but the only one that got busted was a girl a few rows back with a huge paparazzi lens (don’t even know how she got that IN) but they just told her to stop taking, they didn’t it take away or anything.

Great show and I will love those pics forever!

Jack says:

Silly audience Phones are for idiots

I’m disappointed in the musicians who would whine about something so stupid. A musicians concert performance is 50% audio and 50% visual, neither one of which can be accurately captured by a cell phone. Anything more complex than a solo voice speaking directly into the mic of a cell phone comes back as crap upon playback, and the cameras are by no means capable of capturing enough detail in video to replace actually going to the concert.
Its become “fashionable” almost to whip out your cell phone and snap pictures of vids, just so you have something to post on the youtube! 90% of it is total crap for quality! Theres no way a palm-sized cell phone can replace a 40-lb professional filming camera, not to mention the numerous mics needed to record a live performance.

Relax let the idiots have there phones!

mountain girl says:

The Fray hates people with cell-phone cameras

I had been a huge fan of The Fray when they were starting out in Denver. I went to several of their early concerts at local clubs. Then I got to see the band at an Ericsson-sponsored event during CTIA in Las Vegas. Because this was a mobile phone show, people throughout the crowd at the party were using their phones to photograph the band. I had never thought to do that when I saw the Fray in the clubs, so I joined the crowd. Unfortunately, I guess I got too close to the stage when I did it, and the lead singer called me out in front of the crowd, saying “you had better work for Ericsson if you’re going to be doing that” or something to that effect. Wow…25 people taking photos and he singles out one fan (and I wasn’t even using a flash…my phone didn’t have one!!!). So, I guess my point is: Don’t ever take cell-phone photos of The Fray, because they really don’t like it. Personally, I’ll never buy another Fray song/LP or attend another Fray concert after being so roundly criticized in public by their wimpy lead singer. Check out TickleMePink or SingleFile if you’re into groups from the Denver. They’re both way more interesting than The Fray will ever be.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...