There’s a great article in the Wall Street Journal today (thanks @andygadiel) about camera phones, Flip cameras, and a dissection of the question of whether or not video cameras are killing the concert experience for the fans, the artists and your general psyche. It’s a good read. I skimmed it and caught this nugget, and I’m going to re-read and digest a little bit before I comment further.

Fans can now beam a live video feed from the sixth row, using just an app, a robust cellular connection and a free account on a site such as, Livestream or Ustream. These companies say such activity is still nascent, but catching on as technology improves. After released new apps for iPhones and Androids this month, the number of users broadcasting from their phones (as opposed to desktop webcams) surged to more than 30%. In music, fans of the jam-band Phish were early adopters. Since the group reunited last year, many of its shows have been watchable online, thanks to a network of fans who capture the action live for outlets including Hoodstream and Phishtube. Phish says it’s aware of the practice, but didn’t want to comment on it.

Suggested reading!

  • While I am somewhat happy to see some footage of bands on YouTube, it is distracting during a concert when the guy in front of you has his hand up with his phone in it for an entire song or most of the concert. Personally, I would never want to sit there and video tape a show for the same reason I don’t tape shows or take pictures at shows. I want to watch and listen without having to fumble around with equipment. I want to be “in” the show as much as possible. I am grateful to the people that want to tape shows and if that’s something you enjoy, more power to you and I’ll buy you a beer.

    Perhaps bands need to do what the Grateful Dead, Phish and other bands that allowed taping did with tapers when they started to put their mics up all over the arena. Have a designated video section. You have to buy a designated video ticket and/or congregate near the soundboard. Anyone else videoing will be asked to put it away and if there is a second offense, will have to leave. That way bands can get their promotion, the video will probably get better because the hardcore video guys will take over and I won’t have some dude’s iPhone blocking my view.

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