The Phone Debate


Should people stop filming concerts?

It’s a pretty hot topic, one which many musical artists have chimed in on. Their train of thought is easy to follow: be present and enjoy the show; you paid to be there! However, while that seems straightforward, there are many layers to this situation–excitement, and social media presence among them.

Let’s take a look at the good and the bad.

Why It’s Okay:

You’re at a concert seeing your favorite band. For me, that’s Metallica. They come out on stage, pillars of pyrotechnics erupting behind them. James Hetfield strikes the first palm-muted chug of the night and the crowd goes nuts. I want to videotape it. I want to be able to look back at that clip the next day (or the next year) and be there again. Sure, you’ll remember it, but weren’t cameras made to improve memories?

Let’s talk social media–everyone has it. Some people run accounts with a dedicated fan base, and they want to share their experiences with them. The average person isn’t in that boat, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want to add to their profiles to show their interests. Maybe they want the world to see concerts they’ve been to? Their passion for music could be a quintessential part of their identity.

It’s not difficult to feel the urge to record at a concert. The Internet is everywhere, and most of us want to contribute to the ever-growing web of information.

Why You Shouldn’t:

You paid a lot of money to see the show. The performers are leaving it all onstage. Why create a divide between you and them? They want to see your eyes, your faces… not your cell phone cameras. Those don’t show excitement; they show an incessant desire to feed the consumerism machine.

Picture yourself performing. You look out to the crowd and see an army of phones. What do you think? Now imagine instead of phones, you see faces. Happy faces. Faces of people that love you and your music. Which one will produce a better atmosphere? Clearly the latter.

Oh, and isn’t it annoying when the tall person in front of you has their arms up to record, leaving you (a shorter person, in my case) with a great view of their rear delts? Yeah, sometimes you recording can give a lesser experience to those around. It’s like being the person that talks through the movie.

The Verdict:

There never will be one. Everyone goes to a show for a different reason. Some people want to hear the band, some want to see them, and some want to do both. Often times, some of the people in the crowd don’t care–and are standing next to a group with tattoos of the band member’s faces.

There is no right answer, but remember this: it’s your experience. Don’t ruin anybody else’s, and give yourself the best one possible–with help from the band, obviously!




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