Time to hang up the camera phone and watch the show?

I found an article a few days ago about a plan by Apple to make iPhones unable to film live music. Promoters and venues get tired of  making exclusive live recording deals with bands only to see the shows turn up in a jillion different Youtube videos. Apple is creating technology that would detect the fact that a live musical performance was going on and shut off the camera. Phoning and texting would still work.

I had several thoughts after reading the article, the first one being, I’m glad I have an Android phone. The idea of having product features and then having them taken away pisses me off. I also have a few questions: What about indie bands that need the publicity and WANT the audience to film them? How “smart” would the technology be? Would it stop you from filming a robbery or a cop beating a suspect?

All interesting questions, but it also raises another issue with me: Rudeness at concerts. Is technology making us forget our manners? Just because your smart phone can film a concert, does that mean you should? It’s probably a little annoying for a musician to look down from the stage and see nothing but a sea of iPhones instead of people like, paying attention. At some point you should probably just put the phone down and watch the damn concert.

I’m guilty of it myself. I’m always trying to get shots for this blog, even though my camera and smartphone pretty much suck for concert pics. I try to hang it up and watch the show once I get what I think I can use, but maybe I do irritate some people. I get annoyed (and a bit jealous) when I see people in front of me with smart phones that have cameras better than my actual camera, snapping away through the whole concert, but for all I know they could all have blogs too. At the very least, they’re putting pics up on Facebook, which isn’t much different. Maybe I’m just a hypocrite.

It’s not just smartphones that lead to rude behavior. Some people are just rude. You always have a few bad apples. (The Austin-American Statesman recently had an article about the problem.)

The guys who were deliberately loud and disruptive during John Pointer’s show come to mind.

I saw an otherwise great show from Slim Bawb in Bastrop the other night that was disrupted by a table full of oblivious loud-talking women. Yap yap yap. They never shut up. Didn’t even look at the stage. They texted, laughed, posed for pictures, talked all about their shallow little lives and basically ignored the show. I don’t know why they were even there.

The crowds at Psych Fest were pretty well-behaved in general, but there were a couple of instances where groups of people would wait till everyone was in place before a show, then rush through everyone right to the front. Tends to be guys too big to beat up and girls who know they probably won’t get beat up.

Then there was the guy at Emo’s several years ago who threw a plastic water bottle back over his head and hit some girl in the face. That could be construed as rude.

Always a few bad apples out there. That’s life. The smart phone thing isn’t just a few people though. It’s a LOT of people at every concert. Maybe even most. Are we all turning into jerks when it comes to smart phones at concerts? Or are we just changing as a society and it’s just something we all have to get used to. Technology certainly does change us, mostly for the better, but not always. I think smart phones and social media both have a downside: We get so busy trying to document our experiences we forget to live them.



Filed under commentary, Uncategorized

7 responses to “Time to hang up the camera phone and watch the show?

  1. Great article!!! And all so very true….as much as I would LOVE to have a smart phone and take amazing pictures and videos, I don’t. And truthfully I’m pretty OK with that. I get to live in the moment and I always have my memories….

    The people that go to concerts and then just yap through the whole thing pisses me off beyond all reasoning….it’s just beyond rude and so disrespectful! Enjoy the music….even the opening bands or the ones you haven’t heard before….who knows you may come away with a new favorite (it happened to me in Austin in March at SBL).

    Thanks for the great article!

  2. Tamara

    You raise a few good points, but for me personally they are hampered a little by the “this is how you should enjoy a show” vibe I’m getting from the article.

    Just because someone has a camera in hand, doesn’t mean they aren’t paying attention or aren’t enjoying the show. They just enjoy it differently, probably. If they didn’t enjoy it, they likely wouldn’t be there. The same with the friends who “yapped” and took photos and didn’t look at the stage. They were likely just a bunch of friends enjoying a night out. How is live music so very different from going to a bar or club and enjoying non-live music as a background to your night out with friends? If they were disruptive to the point where the musicians on stage couldn’t continue a good show, I agree that’s rude. But beyond that I think that people should be allowed to enjoy their night out even if that means leaving the band to be background music instead of standing in front of the stage, paying full attention the entire time. To each their own.

    Anyway, I do think it’s something to think about, but like I said, I felt the article was hampered a little by that “why aren’t other people enjoying things in the same way I enjoy them” vibe I seemed to be getting from reading it.

    • Thanks for your response. Your sentiments about the talking are dealt with in the Statesman article. They quoted someone saying Austinites think of bands like jukeboxes or background music, in large part because they are playing in bars, where people go to drink and visit. I think that’s apt. In the Slim Bawb show, it WAS very disruptive because we were in a small venue and they made up about a third of the audience. Slim Bawb noticed and started playing by their table to get their attention. I had to get up and move to another table so I could hear the music instead of the talkers. I just feel bad when it looks like the musicians are playing their hearts out and nobody cares. If they’re bad or mediocre musicians it’s more forgivable — just the dues a band has to pay — but when the music is really good, I feel like people should pay at least some attention. Throwing a few bucks into the tip jar wouldn’t hurt either.

      BTW, Did you vote in the poll? It’s my first one and I want to see how it works.

  3. woodjean

    Well, I was there and I think the table with the “girls” was a table of drunks. They came in drunk and the venue was not a bar. They were there to drink and NOT to listen to music.
    People have gotten so used to everything being on TV, Internet, Camera etc that we (they) don’t know how to act during a live concert! Of course if people are drunk when they come in who knows what they will do or what they are thinking.

    ‘Wish folks could at least pretend to listen so I could hear the music and not their conversations!!! I had to move away from the– huh– young women just so I could hear the music which should have been easy to hear. The “women” were even louder though. But BTW the concert was great otherwise.

    You know even if the band/singer etc. is not the best you’ve heard we still owe them respect. How will young musicians ever get better if they can’t build up their acts. If you don’t like it leave!

  4. Boredom as Usual

    You know… it really isn’t the “camera phone” that is making people rude, it it is the internet. Thing is, humanity is not ready for “the internet” and the majority of the people using it are “the wrong people.” SOPA is a great example because you can read the “aftermath” arguments and recognize the truth.

    People feel entitled to do what-ever-the-hell pleases them and don’t take kindly to those who try to stop them. SOPA really was never going to do any of the “evils” people said it would (and you can find many “aftermath” arguments that talk about this) but the idea that the Government was going to affirm basic rights, like protecting their citizens from potentially dangerous drugs, went too far. (Honestly, the bill was intended as a means to shutdown foreign websites without having to go through the whole process of extradition. Our laws do not apply outside the US, so there really is no breaching of the first amendment as said people often “do not care” about our laws.)

    Meh, I can go on and on about that catastrophe; but the point is that many of the arguments came down to either intentional misrepresentation of a bill (I’m looking at you, Google) or people who thought it was their RIGHT to break the law.

    What about YouTube, they would ask (not a foreign site, just fyi)… they get uploads every day of songs that the EVIL record companies want to pull. I bought the song, so I can do what ever I see fit with it… they just want to take down youtube.

    I spent all this money on getting a top of the line computer that I cannot afford to buy the games to play on it; so what if I pirate a game once in a while, it doesn’t hurt anyone (do note that several indy producers have gone bankrupt over piracy… and pirates calling support for help to make their pirated game work [yes, they do that]).

    I am a hard working citizen and I can’t find anything good to watch on Netflix, this whole “exploit the citizens” gig where they try to recoup as much money as they can from producing a movie is pathetic; if I can’t watch it on netflix, I’ll just download it.

    But it isn’t just about basic piracy, Digg showed the world that they care more about making money than they do about protecting trade secrets; labeled “HD DVD Day”, someone found a chain of numbers that would make piracy of any HD-DVD extremely simple. Digg was informed of this, was sent multiple notices about it… but then, when they realized they could lose customers, decided to KNOWINGLY allow their service to be used for the illegal distribution of said code. They even went all “protecting your rights to break the law” and acted like they were doing something right.

    We have the hacking of the PS3, where someone reverse engineered several components and posted information about this online. Very illegal stuff, but “the first amendment” protects his right to break the law.

    You even see, increasingly now, sites that knowingly have illegal activities going on having a “terms of service” that prohibits the company they’re scamming from protecting their property. “This site is for learning purposes only” “Anyone who either works for, is affiliated with, or a relative of someone who meets the previous criteria may not use this site” “You agree that we cannot control what our users do with our well lined instructions on how to hack your servers and hence, cannot press charges against us for providing said information”

    Let me also correct quite a bit of misinformation you have. All those Cellphone videos you see are typically only part of the story and in the minority. People WANT to piss cops off, refusing basic co-operation and acting like what you BELIEVE you know about the law matters? Instead of persisting in the idea that bullies become cops, ask “are cellphone videographers actually bullies?”

    Heck, the majority of those “police abuse” videos are easily explained if you’re not looking to make cops look bad… it’s insane to think that people not only act like refusal to co-operate is well within their rights, but that the police officer is at fault for the request of SOMEONE ELSE. If a police officer stops by because other people called to protest your presence, and you act like a terrorist by refusing to co-operate in any manner; should said police officer get agitated enough to “abuse” you, it is entirely justified.

    Police are humans, holding them to standards higher than we hold ourselves is only to make all these videos seem ‘funny’. If you feel you’ve been unjustly treated, take it up with the department… DO NOT take it up with the police officer in question.

    This isn’t to say that there aren’t racist, bigoted, bullies, corrupt, or w/e cops… just to say that the majority of what the cellphone camera captures is none of the above, but a complete misrepresentation of the truth.

    We don’t respect any form of authority, nor each other… Technology has only ruined society by making everyone into these rude savages.

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