Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Today's Audience Just Got Google Glass!

The ex-Taking Heads musician, David Byrne now opens his shows encouraging folk to take pictures, film and record and share on YouTube, but to only post the good recordings. In his book ‘How Music Works’ he describe that cathartic moment when he stopped trying to fight concert recording and embraced them as a way of marketing the show and his music.
The guardian reports this week on concert pianists, Krystian Zimerman’s reaction to being filmed during a performance. He was so annoyed over seeing a member of the audience filming him perform he asked the audience member, "Would you please stop that?"  He shortly afterwards left the stage and on returning told his audience that he had lost many recording projects because of YouTube and that it was ‘destroying music.’
It’s ironic that this is reported in the same week we have written about the increasing issues of privacy in our increasingly Internet intrusive world. Is David Bryne’s world different to that of the concert pianist, or the opera singer, or should we treat them all the same? We would expect a certain decorum within the various concert halls, but if that is being observed, then we have the core issue of recording and its impact on artists.
The days of banning filming of rock and pop concerts is fast disappearing and common sense has prevailed. YouTube, is becoming for many, the most popular way of listening to music today. We first created the MTV generation, which now have spawned the YouTube generation. Many artists have realised that it can be a great way to promote their music and concerts and have in the main embraced it. Go to any rock concert today and before you have reached home we can guarantee there will be a posting on YouTube.
Yes, we expect certain decorum within a classical music concert and don’t expect people using flash cameras, standing to record, or dancing in the aisles, but that is not the issue here. Today, and certainly in a few months, we could see Google Glass being worn by the audience. No more having to hold the smartphone in one hand whilst dancing in the aisles. You can’t ban Google Glass and not smartphones. The person wearing Google glass could be sitting quietly next to you in that classical concert and be disturbing no one, as tomorrow they live stream the concert to YouTube. In fact they will be less obtrusive than those with opera glasses.

We have to find new codes of practice, separate the bootleg recordings which are made for profit from those made by fans to share. Opera, classical, pop, folk, rock concerts are inherently no different. They are based on people enjoying the music and sharing the experience with friends and the sharing should be encouraged as it grows awareness and introduces new people to the experience. Concerts and live shows are more popular than ever and they are now filmed and posted more than ever and some would suggest that there is a correlation there. 

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