Smartphones in the concert hall

Smartphones in the concert hall

Here is a blog by the violinist James Ehnes, and useful comments by others, discussing his reaction to seeing someone filming him from the second row when he was playing a concerto in a concert hall.
http://www.violinist.com/blog/jamesehnes/20138/14931/
So what are our reactions to this sort of thing, which now happens everywhere? The only real justification I can see for video (or sound) recording is when it is in a teaching or workshop situation for personal use only, or a session, and even then only with the explicit permission of the performer.

Re: Smartphones in the concert hall

I suspect the chap may as well get used to it and change his economic model.. he appears to be farting against thunder.

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Re: Smartphones in the concert hall

Speaking of the event told in the article, I would say I’m partially in disagreement with the author.

I would hardly say that a cell-phone recording would detract from anyone’s willingness to see a muscian live. Quite the opposite, really. Almost all of the music I listen to are bands or musicians I had come across on youtube. I’ve boughten several albums because of something I’ve heard on that website. It no doubt can possibly detract from album sales, but I think this more applies to when a person uploads an mp3 from a CD onto youtube, then shares it. I’ve never come across a cell phone recording that has made me decide against buying an album. Has anyone here truly ever decided against buying an album or going to a live show due to a cell phone video on youtube?

In the past month I have purchased 7 CD’s, all from bands I discovered from youtube, some of which mostly had crappy cellphone footage on youtube. This simply made me want to get a quality recording, or to hear the band live. And why would anyone decide against seeing a musician play live because of this? Wouldn’t his statement about this apply to any musician who releases a CD?

If it weren’t for online videos, I probably would not play Irish Trad, as that’s where I first encountered it, and I know I’m not the only person who first got into a type of music that they heard online.

That being said, my above statements only apply to *performances*. I certainly think if one is recording a session or a person casually playing music in a non-performance setting, permission should be given.

Re: Smartphones in the concert hall

What makes me laugh is the people in the audience who have paid to see a live performance — possibly a once-in-a-lifetime event — who then proceed to watch the entire show on a tiny little screen.

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Re: Smartphones in the concert hall

I think it’s rather sad when someone can only enjoy something vicariously, by recording it, and can’t just enjoy it in the moment.
Cinemas are now in the possession of equipment that alerts to the presence of recording equipment being used. Perhaps they need the same for concert halls.
I am also in a profession, film and tv extra, where even the possessing of a smartphone or similar apparatus with a camera, on a film set, can lead to your equipment being confiscated, and yourself thrown off the set and blacklisted by your agent. Does it stop some people ? No.
When the London Olympics were rehearsing their opening and closing ceremonies Danny Boyle was the coolest director out; he told the volunteers rehearsing "I don’t mind you taking pictures, but please keep them to yourself till after the big day, so it’s a surprise to everyone." And it worked.
The commercial implications are well covered in the original article, and the comments here.

Re: Smartphones in the concert hall

Now that is a really depressing film JJ.

Re: Smartphones in the concert hall

I played a new programme of contemporary music at a festival recently (in a very nice old ballroom) and noticed when I was packing up that there was a Roland digital recorder propped up against the fireplace. I didn’t think too much of this until about a day later, when I remembered I’d named a couple of people in my spoken introductions, and strictly speaking, I was breaking a confidence.

Of course, the answer is not to break a confidence, and it’s too late to find out who had done the recording, but it did / does concern me, not knowing what had happened to that recording.

The silly thing is that if they’d asked I wouldn’t have particularly minded, but I would have modified what I’d said during the gig.