the iphone epidemic: technology and live music

 i didn’t say i wasn’t guilty of instagram…

i went to see the xx perform at metropolis in montreal last night and, obviously, they played a killer show. the downside? having to watch that show on the iphone screen of the dude in front of me. not exaggerating. when did concerts become an excuse to record an hour and a half of live music?

i can honestly say that my experience was taken down a peg due to the sheer invasive and over-exposed nature of the mass of concert-goers record and snapping 100 shots a minute on their iphone and blackberry. i wish i had taken some photos of the oversaturation of iphones in the place, but i wasn’t one of the assholes with their phone out for the entire time. what’s worse is that blackberries have a red light that flashes as they record. look guys, i get it, you want memories of an amazing set or crazy light show or jaw dropping stage set up or your favourite track performed live in front of your face. i know, because i want those memories too but – hold the phone – since when do we need smartphones to have good memories? when music first started to become a big part of my life, i’ll admit i was a bit trigger happy with photos on my nokia. but i’ve come to realize how insanely dependent we’ve become on technology to do everything for us. we’ve (well, actually, i’m definitely not guilty of this one) given up on learning on good grammar because there’s spellcheck for that. we don’t learn directions, because we rely on GPS (so guilty of that though). we have instagram for photos, emails for staying in touch and facebook to remind us when our friends’ birthdays are. and now we’re going to let our smartphones watch concerts for us? no fuckin’ way.

evolution of concert hands via buzzfeed

these days, i’m happier not even having the responsibility of taking photos at events (and partly because i’m too busy enjoying the show to care about snapping a picture). i’m there to enjoy the music, to feel it in my bones and in my soul and frankly, there’s better memories in that than there will ever be on an iphone. plus, who needs 874 photos of the same band, on the same stage, doing the same thing?

the sad part is that this epidemic is far from over. what’s next? an app that tells you how to think, how to behave, what you like and don’t like? like shazam on steroids – it’ll tell you the name of the song, and whether or not the song’s any good, or how many likes the artist has on facebook. sure as fuck don’t wanna waste time making your own opinions.

honestly though, my problem is not so much that people want to capture the moment and have something to look back on. everyone interacts with music differently, and some people don’t need to give it their full attention. what drives me bonkers is that it’s these multi-taskers that have no consideration for the people around them – their phones are not only in front of my face but they’re reaching around me to get a better shot, pushing me out of the way, standing on tip-toe breathing down my neck. all to take a blurry, poor quality picture of a dot that may or may not be jamie xx. it’s unbelievable because the photos are never actually something to be proud of, and when you look back at them, are you really gonna think to yourself “fuck, that was an amazing moment” or will you just be struggling to remember what moment that was, debating if your photo is instagram-worthy.

3 thoughts on “the iphone epidemic: technology and live music

  1. You’re totally right, this is really annoying. But from a (small time) musician’s perspective, we are somewhat reliant on these videos and pictures to build buzz about our band. There are many people who will never see me perform live, but will at least get to see it via these concert attendees. So, maybe there is some good in this evolution.

    • hmm..i never thought of it like that!! i see what you mean, but there’s definitely a difference between a quick shot to promo, and filming an entire concert! it’s also different if you’re like front row centre with your iphone blocking everyone’s view! but you’re right – it has its benefits too.

      thanks for reading :) x

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