News / Arts & Entertainment

Are Smartphones Ruining Concerts?

Mark Vopel records Jane's Addiction performance on the LG Thrill 4G, a glasses free 3D smartphone, at the 3D User-Generated Concert, July 25, 2011 in New York.
Mark Vopel records Jane's Addiction performance on the LG Thrill 4G, a glasses free 3D smartphone, at the 3D User-Generated Concert, July 25, 2011 in New York.
Cecilia Thomas
Music fans are eager, these days, to share with all their friends the bands they go to see. And that means taking pictures and videos at the shows and posting them on YouTube, Facebook and other social media sites. But not everyone is happy about it.
 
Smart phones are ruining the concert-going experience says Andy Greene, an Associate Editor at Rolling Stone Magazine. It was a few years ago, at a concert by singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen, that he realized what a problem smart phones were becoming.
 
“I’m in the first row of the balcony. And I look down at the orchestra and it was like looking at the stars; almost every seat was lit up by a screen and people staring at the screen," Greene recalls. "And I just wanted to scream ‘Do you realize you’re watching one of the greatest songwriters ever perform some of the greatest songs ever!?"

"And it’s just a rare, unique gift, a treat we’re all here experiencing this, and you’re not even watching it. You’re all on your cell phones! And I just got really mad," he admits. "And since then it’s become a bigger and bigger problem as smart phones become more pervasive across the culture.”
 
At pop concerts, fans push to the front to get blurry pictures and videos of their favorite acts. Greene is hardly the only one complaining.  Village Voice blogger Maura Johnston listed “Six Reasons Why Your Phone Is Probably Ruining Your Concert Experience (And Everyone Else’s).” Among her reasons? She says people filming aren’t really listening to the music and aren’t really engaged in the social experience of being at a concert.
 
Many bands have been unhappy about the use of smart phones to take videos and photos, but they don’t want to alienate fans by trying to crack down on it.
 
Even in the refined realm of classical music, the cell phones come out. Classical pianist, Krystian Zimerman, recently stopped a performance and left the stage when he saw an audience member filming him on a smartphone.
 
Of course, plenty of musicians embrace audience use of smartphones as a way to market their shows -- especially aspiring artists, according to Mark Katz, author of “Capturing Sound: How Technology Has Changed Music.”
 
“Someone records what was a truly amazing performance and posts it on YouTube and it starts to get attention, that could help the performer who might not have any other way of reaching out to such a broad audience,” Katz notes.
 
Even well-established bands are eager to use the smartphone revolution as a way to earn more money at their shows, tapping into their fans’ social media activity. 
 
“You have a link to a site where you actually want to sell products, and it integrates directly with Twitter so you can put that up there and you can actually buy straight from the Tweet or from the Facebook post,” says Evie Nagy, who writes about technology for Billboard Magazine.
 
But Rolling Stone’s Andy Greene insists it just isn’t worth it, especially for the audience.
 
“You take horrible pictures. You produce horrible films on your phone that you never even watch. You distract yourself. You distract those around you. They’re nothing but a liability,” he says.

You May Like

Video 2nd American Reportedly Killed in Syria

Minnesota television report says Abdirahman Muhumed left area to fight for Islamic State militants More

WHO Fears Ebola Outbreak Could Infect 20,000 People

World Health Organization says outbreak 'continues to accelerate' but that most cases are concentrated in a few local areas More

Angelina Jolie Marries Brad Pitt

Actors wed in small private ceremony Saturday in France More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Eric from: Missouri
August 20, 2013 1:55 AM
I like to look up news articles on this topic of video taping concerts cause I am one that does this very thing.. I enjoy the concert im at and get more out of it at the same time im taping the concert. I mostly attend concerts by myself and occasionally run into people I know. I enjoy re-watching the concert and re-living it by having the concert on video.. maybe if the music artists and music company made it a means of supply and demand for having the concert on dvd that we attend then we wouldn't have to record concerts and post them on youtube. but having that live experience caught on tape and to relive it down the road is awesome. its cause of that that this trend is on-going.

I hope that this doesn't ever get taken away from the fans. I get the artists point of view I really do.. it may be disrespectful but put the other shoe on the other foot. I once saw one of my favorite artist in concert from a long time ago and I don't have any pictures or video from it but wish I did so I could re-live that experience. Another thing is when the artist dies what will I have to remember but just some thoughts of that concert and nothing to re-live it.. technology has made it so I can relive concerts.. I think as soon as all this video tech has been going strong Music industry should make it so the fans who attend concerts can purchase a live recording of the concert that they attended. makes better since to do it that way and they make money doing it.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Beyond Category

Pianist Myra Melford’s new CD “Life Carries Me This Way” features solo piano interpretations of drawings by modern artist Don Reich. She performs songs from the album, talks about turning art into music, and joins host Eric Felten in some Chicago boogie-woogie on "Beyond Category."