concert video recording
Jul 8, 2016 — TrackFive

Track5Takes: Can They Really Ban the Filming of Concerts?

This is the second installment of a series we’d like to call Track5Takes. Throughout the week, we come across a variety of interesting subjects dealing with marketing, social media, and technology among other things. Our staff often discusses these articles or videos, with each of us forming our own opinions. We’d like to not only inform you about what’s going on in the web-marketing and technological world, but we want to show a little personality by giving our own “takes” on various issues.

This week, we came across a Pitchfork article that detailed an Apple for a new technology that uses infrared signals. What’s the big deal right? Well, many are worried that this new technology could be used to block the recording of live events. While not much has been released and Apple refusing to comment, our staff has discussed the repercussion, benefits, pitfalls, and whether or not this violates the First Amendment.

Connor Smith, Marketing Associate 

Realizing that the smartphone has become our main means of connectivity and awareness within a digital landscape, I’m both excited and off-put by this patent. As a musician, I’m constantly thinking of ways to promote and encourage the sharing of my creative media in strategic ways. Generally speaking though, one of the better methods of growing a following is through the organic momentum of people actually attending performances. Since the dawn of illegal digital downloading, live shows represent one of the most valuable assets to artists. Whether it be a band, actors, or a comedian, getting people in venues serves as a central pillar of these creative industries.

At my level, I’m all for people sharing videos of my live performances because it’s easy (free) promotional material, however this mentality changes with professional touring acts and artists. Not only are people releasing uncompressed, potentially career-damaging versions of live performances recorded with their smartphone’s microphone (which do have their strengths), but they are also delaying or even negating a genuine human experience of art. As idealistic as that sounds, the connection to a performance of any kind is what creators crave most when choosing to bring their craft to a live format.

My bottom line is this: Be more conscientious with your recording habits for the sake of artists and musicians and don’t let the state stop you from documenting.

Brooke Kessler, Marketing Intern 

Well, I am a Galaxy user and this will only solidify my loyalty with Android. I doubt it will affect Apple lovers in any real way. I don’t see Apple adding this technology to their devices any time soon. I don’t think there would be any money in it, and there is so much room for error. I can’t seem to find a selling point in the concert idea either.

I can appreciate the thought that went into this, artists shouldn’t be ripped off for all the hard work they do. However, with social media’s current prominence, taking away people’s camera privileges will not pan out.

I can see it now… #SavetheSelfie and #FreethePhone (and many far more clever hashtags) will represent the rebellion of any invention that dare challenge the saying, “Did it really happen if you didn’t Instagram (Snapchat or Facebook) it?”

However, the other applications of infrared data to disable phone apps or share information could be intriguing… Sharing information to only people in the same area or disabling camera recording during a movie at the theater could be a good introduction between apple users and this technology.

Troy Diffenderfer, Marketing Intern 

I’m torn on this one. As an avid concertgoer and musician myself, I can view it from both sides of the issue. As someone who’s been to over 60 concerts, I think fans should be able to capture the experience however they please. Although I don’t condone watching the entire concert through your 10-inch screen, I believe that fans have the right to watch the show. Agreeing with Connor, I think it’s a great way for up and coming bands to promote their music through social media. I look at a band like Grateful Dead, who pretty much pioneered the concept of live-concert sharing. Their cult following grew not from commercials or expensive marketing campaigns, but simply word of mouth and sharing live recordings of their concerts.

However, I do understand the musician’s side, and the fact that pirating music online has already taken money out of their pockets. Prohibiting the recording of live shows could increase attendance and ticket sales, making a live show a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

To me, it comes down to the fact that this would violate our freedom of speech and press. Limiting our ability to express our opinion in real-time of a show and to record it limits our freedom of the press. Live events will become an exclusive experience only for those who can afford it. Not only that, it will eliminate a portion of history. Our musical history is documented by not just records, cassettes, and CD’s, but through the audience’s lenses as well.

Ekom Enyong, Marketing Associate

I’m not exactly sure how I feel about this new patent. I don’t think I’m a big fan.

Thinking from an artist’s perspective in the entertainment industry, I understand not wanting your fans to post your concerts online (yes, even we millennials know what copyright laws are). But a vast majority of concertgoers are not there to film the entire show and share it online.

Like any other person doing a fun activity, they want to snap a pic or quick video to be able to keep or share the memory of seeing their favorite artist. They want to be able to post a short video on Instagram or add one to their Snapchat stories so their friends can see how cool they are.

I think my fear with this patent is that other industries or companies may begin using this technology unethically. I’m not exactly sure how, but criminals and hackers are certainly much more creative in the immoral department.

Isn’t there another way to keep people from sharing copyrighted content online? Maybe develop the technology so that it only allows videos to be recorded for a maximum amount of time (almost like a Snapchat model approach)?

Could other technologies be integrated with the infrared technology to still allow the videos to record, but somehow (maybe in the metadata of the video) tag the file so that it is unable to be uploaded?

If keeping people from sharing concerts or movies online is the issue Apple truly intends to tackle, I think they may want to look into other methods. If not, they will continue to see their sales and revenue decline as even more iPhone users switch to Android.

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