Should smartphones be banned during concerts?

No phone. This is the instruction received by several journalists and influencers who were able to attend Beyoncé’s concert at the Atlantis the Royal hotel complex in Dubai on January 21. They even had to put their smartphones in locked pockets so they wouldn’t be tempted to record snippets of the performance. watchman. But this precaution could not prevent the spread of several pirated videos on social networks as soon as the concert ended. To please the fans of the American singer.

This case shows how mobile phones have become a part of our entertainment. There isn’t a concert or music festival without an artist performing on stage in front of a cloud of smartphones being held up to film or photograph him. Some have come to terms with it, integrating the codes of social networks into the script of their shows, while others are less and less tolerant of these technological devices entering concert halls.

Neoprene pouches for resistance

This is Mitsky’s work. The Japanese-American singer protested the phenomenon on Twitter in February, despite officially leaving social media in 2019. He explained in a series of tweets, which the Los Angeles Times was able to consult before they were deleted, what it was like to have smartphones at the time of the incident. his speeches disturb him. “When I’m on stage and I’m looking at you and you’re looking at the screen, I feel like what’s on our stage is taken and consumed as content instead of sharing a moment with you,” Mitsky wrote.

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Many artists and bands, including Bruno Mars, Alicia Keys, Kendrick Lamar, Guns N’ Roses and The Lumineers, are asking fans to preserve the magic of their concerts by not taking out their phones while on stage. “The coming together of people here and now will never happen again. We’d like to remember that. So please, bitte Sean, can we sing together without the phone?”, Coldplay frontman Chris Martin said. During a performance in Frankfurt, Germany in July 2022.

Some go even further by outright banning the use of smartphones during their concerts. Jack White pioneered the genre in 2018, teaming up with Californian startup Yondr. It has developed a neoprene bag designed to collect the audience’s phones at the entrance of the concert. Then they are sealed with some kind of clothes lock. The goal: to ensure everyone’s concert without the slightest distraction. Yondr founder Graham Dugoni even claimed in an interview New York Times that these covers “help people live in the digital age without losing all the meaning of their lives”.

The pressure of all digital on music creation

So what do the fans think? Are they willing to temporarily give up these jewels of technology that allow them to share every moment of their lives with strangers? It is difficult to answer this question, especially after the Covid-19 pandemic. Indeed, the temporary suspension of concerts and festivals has prompted music lovers to enjoy themselves online. They then turned to video game platforms like Fortnite, Roblox and Minecraft to see their idols on stage as hyper-realistic avatars. They could comment on these futuristic representations live with their relatives on Twitter and others, and provide screenshots for support.

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But “physical” concerts don’t lend themselves to this digital intimacy. Artists imagine them as privileged moments with their audience, away from the pressure of social networks. “In front of the cameras, we say to ourselves: ‘I don’t know if I’d like to try this dance step tonight,’ or we’re afraid that our prank will be broadcast on the Internet,” the singer admitted. Bruno March 2022 in the Los Angeles Times.

The desire to go completely digital isn’t limited to concerts and festivals. Many international musicians have criticized the pressure faced by record companies to produce content for social networks and TikTok in particular. And that’s even if their music isn’t aimed at the (very) young users of these platforms. In an interview with Apple Music, the multi-award winning singer Adele said that she does not want to be famous on TikTok. “I prefer to talk to people who are at my level in terms of how many years we’ve been on Earth and what we’ve been through,” he said. “I don’t want 12-year-olds listening to the album [“30″]. It’s a little too deep.”

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