The Use of Mobile Devices During Concerts: Are You Even There ?

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Take 50 pictures. Go on Snapchat to record a video for your story. Send a voice message to your friends on WhatsApp. Go on Twitter to post one of the pictures with #bestconcertever #enjoyeverymoment #timeofmylife.

Are you really having the time of your life? Are you really enjoying the moment? Can you even tell if this is the best concert ever? This behavior has become normal at concerts with an ocean of mobile phones always present around you.

Here at MusicStats.org we conducted a structured online survey about music consumption. We investegated, amongst many topics, the behavior of taking pictures and filming at concerts. Results indicated that 30% of 329 surveyed respondents always take pictures at concerts; only 17% never take pictures.

Well, personally I think taking pictures is not a bad thing. Photos are capable of extending memories and require little effort and time. And who doesn’t want a visual memory which lasts forever? A memory of a certain moment, of the people who shared your experience, of the artist you’re a fan of.

However, the important question is: how many pictures do you really need to have a visual memory of a moment? Considering that you are fragmenting your experience by such behavior, do you even look at all of these pictures afterwards?

The same goes for filming: nearly 40% respondents revealed that they “Always or often” take videos during the concert experience. Such behaviors, might be influenced by the high level of excitement of individuals when encountering artists that they are highly involved with. However, considering that the concert experience requires the immersion of listeners, certainly the constant use of mobile devices during such moments does not help. In fact, recently we’ve had numerous examples of artists that have complained about it.

in 2013 “The Lumineers” asked their fans to “put away our phones and be here right now”. Interesting, the crowd seemed to agree!

So do you really watch all of these videos later on? This year Adele was another artist to show discontent with this behavior during her concert. She said “I am really here”. 

And lastly, Jack White also complained that guests at his concerts were not even clapping anymore because they had a phone in one hand and a drink in the other.

Listeners are each time more and more watching the concert indirectly, focusing on capturing the moment, rather than being in the moment.

Also, the purpose of taking pictures and videos has changed. It’s not about keeping a memory for yourself, no, it’s about sharing it with EVERYONE. The problem is also the effort of concentrating on taking those “perfect” pictures and videos for social media platforms. The angle that might lead to the greater number of “social media feedback”.

Posting pictures and videos of concerts on social media has become very important, especially for younger audiences. For this group there is an even greater desire to portray a “desired self”, that is telling others ‘I was here, look how much fun I had.’ According to T-Mobile 30% of concert goers even share the pictures and videos during the show. This means there is even more which distracts you from the actual situation you are in right now.

As I already evaluated the importance of concert elements, it became clear that sound quality, performance of the artist and atmosphere are valued the most by concert goers. If these elements are so important, why are you not enjoying them fully?

Watching a live concert through a screen is not equal to watching with your full attention, immersed in the experience you waited so long and paid so much for.

So the next time you go to a concert remember: #bestconcertever #enjoyeverymoment #timeofmylife. Leave your mobile phone in your pocket and EXPERIENCE the “best concert ever”, enjoy every moment and have the time of your life.

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