There must be no better feeling for an artist than to see a room full of people singing along to their lyrics, with everyone connecting to their art in a universal experience. But in this age of technology, fans instinctively capture the moment with their smartphones instead of really living it.
Forget throwing a lighter up in the air. Since the widespread use of phones, flashing LED lights are the new norm during concerts. As a result, more people are becoming too busy recording to actually connect to the music in a real-life way. On top of that, smartphones distract other concertgoers from enjoying the performance.
As a result, more and more artists are banning smartphones at their live shows.
"Put that shit away as a courtesy to the person behind you and to Nick, Karen and Brian," the Yeah Yeah Yeahs posted on a sign outside one of their shows last year in New York City.
In reaction to the annoying sea of glowing phones at concerts, Zooey Deschanel's group She & Him posted a sign during a show in Toronto last year that requested "people not use their cell phones to take pictures and video, but instead enjoy the show they have put together in 3D."
Prince also requested no photos or smartphones during a surprise "Purple Rules" show in New York City. However, some videos still found their way to Instagram.
While many people know how distracting phones are at these events, fans are willing to keep using them until they get the best picture. How else will people brag about the great time they had if they can't share it on Instagram?
Concert venues around the San Francisco area are supporting the smartphone ban by using lightweight cases from the company Yondr that lock a smartphone inside the case.
"Until social norms catch up to new technology, there's going to be a period of time where we have to set up the structure we want," says Yondr founder and CEO Graham Dugoni.
Concertgoers at these venues will hand over their smartphones to staff upon entering. They will be able to carry their phones inside, but once they enter the phone-free zone, the cases lock the phones. "They are now free to enjoy the experience without distraction." the site reads.
When people need to use their phones, they simply go outside the Yondr phone-free zone to unlock them.
Those who want to record the show for memories can do so by using the free iOS camera app Kimd, which lets users record videos and snap photos with the flash disabled and a dimmed screen.
"I've seen people pull their phones out, whether they smuggled them in in their underwear or what have you," Dugoni said. "What I saw happen was that people around them instantly shunned them and were making fun of them."
Fans at Kate Bush's "Before the Dawn" tour respected her request this summer to put away their phones, but until social norms shift, most people will find a way to post a video if they can.
Photo Credit: Al Pavangkanan