An end to the sea of cameras

Michael Tullberg/ Getty Images

Big name artists in the music industry begin to call for a ‘phones away’ policy at concerts.

The obsession that people have with their phones is beginning to have unhealthy effects on more than just one aspect of life. Along with low productivity at work, our mobile phone usage is majorly affecting the way in which we enjoy music.

From a downloadable and content perspective, the music world has never thrived more, however from a live music perspective, leaves something to be desired.

Famous artists are now adopting techniques to counteract the filming and constant use of phones at their shows, to focus on the present rather than the future.

Jack White, one of the more vocal artists on the subject told Rolling Stone magazine, “The way (the audience reacts) tells me what to do next. And if they’re not really there I don’t know hat to do next.”

Companies have also recognised this need for new technologies or techniques, and have come up with products accordingly.

The ‘Yondr’ pouch, aims to create ‘phone-free spaces’ for artists, educators and performers. The San Francisco based company began creating these pouches four years ago.

The way they work is attendees/students/audience members place their phones in little pouches. 

These pouches lock once closed, and can only be unlocked when the holder walks to an ‘unlocking base’ in order to open their pouch and use their phone. These unlocking bases, are usually either outside the classroom, or a fair distance from the stage. 

This ensures that when attendees are within an area near enough the stage or area of performance, they cannot be on their phones.

Schools make up about fifty-percent of the revenue for Yondr, whereas concerts and shows make up around twenty-five percent. 

Beyoncé Knowles, Cyndi Lauper, Guns’ n’ Roses, Alicia Keys, The Lumineers, Chris Rock, Louis CK, Dave Chappelle are just some of the artists that have used Yondr to limit the constant filming by the audience. Most of the reasons can be defined by what Kate Bush said to her audience, “I very much want to have contact with you as an audience, not with iPhones, iPads or cameras.”

Dave Chappelle, one of the first celebrity users of Yondr at his show, comments on the Yondr website, “People actually watch the show, they’re in the moment, and they’re vastly more fun to speak to.”

The other side of the argument that most of the audience take, is that attendees are just trying to capture the moment.

Author and media psychologist, Dr. Pamela Rutledge comments on the idea of filming concerts,

“…moving images are experienced holistically as they trigger the neural networks of memories that include feelings, emotions and cognitions.”

A 2016 U.S. study, “How Taking Photos Increases Enjoyment of Experiences”, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that those who took photos found  experiences more enjoyable as they were more engaged.

These experiences however, weren’t concerts, but the idea of photos or videos as memories creating a more enjoyable outcome can be likened to the situation with filming concerts.

Considering that psychologically it may provide for a better experience for fans or attendees at concerts, it could be looked at as harsh for artists to ban phones altogether because they feel as if there’s no connection when in fact the connection may be stronger for the audience.

Image: shbs/Pixabay

It therefore comes down to the idea that perhaps the ones who aren’t filming and complaining may be the party who are causing these discussions to occur. In any case the entertainer or performer deserves attention, if not undivided attention.

Perhaps it is time to revert back to simpler times, and enjoy the moments as they come, rather than obsessively trying to create memories.

What ever happened to selling DVDs of the show afterwards so the fans could relive it without the constant filming?



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