I am often fascinated at music gigs by how many people watch the performance through a screen on their phone, rather than savouring every last minute of the band they have paid to see. We all know that by the time you get home, the photos will be blurred and the video barely audible but it doesn’t stop many in the audience doing their upmost to freeze this moment in time, which begs the question ‘Are we spending too long trying to record the moment than actually enjoying it?’
Social media and music are the perfect cocktail as fans do their best to secure bragging rights and be the envy of their friends by posting selfies on Instagram, checking into Facebook at the venue. Social Media Is all about sharing and there isn’t many things more powerful than live music so it feels natural to want to share that special moment.
As we all attempt to make sense of this new digital world and how we can use Social Media to make live events interactive there are some that are leading the way such as Eddie Izzard who has Twitter screens displayed either side of the stage to interact with the audience where as some venues and bands are learning the benefits of using hashtags to track live events.
Despite some acts encouraging their fans to Tweet and take photographs during a performance as they understand the power of sharing on Social Media, there are some artists that seem frozen in the past at a time where their security could demand that all cameras are taken off their fans for them to collect after the show. The rise of the smartphone has thankfully left unreasonable behaviour like this in the past, or has it?
Anyone that had chance to see Prince this year will tell you surreal stories of the moment when one of the women of 3RDEYEGIRL come onto the stage to welcome the audience, and announce they were about to put on “the best show you’ve ever seen”, followed by a reminder about the no photo/video/cell phone policy.
The average Tweeter is somewhat of a rebellious breed and no singer is ever going to stop the masses snapping pics but the Prince management are not going to give up either so there were also extra staff on the floor prepared to eject anyone who violated this request, which seemed to consist of “delete it now or leave”.
However in the defence of Prince, there is an argument that for him, the show is not about photos, selfies or tweeting, but about having his fans undivided attention. Enjoying a show without looking at your phone once and leaving without a single image to remind you of the night feels a little strange but is that a bad thing?
Prince who famously does not even own a mobile phone said at a show in California “Thank you to each and every one of you for leaving your cellphones in your pocket, I can’t see your face when you’ve got technology in front of it.”
Thankfully artists who charge their fans £130 a ticket and demand they do not take any photographs or Tweet are few and far between and the big bands of tomorrow are embracing start-ups like Rabbl, which asks, “Should this BAND play this TOWN during this WEEK, at this ticket PRICE?” The band also sets the GOAL, the number of tickets it needs to play the show.
For example Clap Your Hands Say Yeah who were all to familiar with the high risks involved in booking a small venue and making financial commitments in advance but without knowing if anyone would actually show up. Social booking site Rabbl enabled them were to approach a small venue with 92 reserved tickets for a show that wild never have been scheduled if it wasn’t for the this website.
Another interesting start-up called Living Indie for music fans tackles the issue of not being able to attend a gig due to it being sold out. What if you could go home, turn on your big smart TV and turn your couch into a Concert Hall so you could watch the gig without queuing at the bar or toilet?
Living Indie wants to become the Netflix of live concerts and gives you the ability to share the concert with friends, with the added bonus of being completely free at the moment too.
Facebook, Twitter, You Tube and Linkedin might be the first Social Networks that you can name but the future is pointing to a tidal wave of niche social networks that will lead the way and fill all of the holes left by the behemoth that is Facebook.