I took a brief hiatus from my blog, but I am back ready to share. This particular topic has burned on my mind for the past few months. I thought it wise to address it so I can move on to greener pastures.
It started with an exchange on Twitter with someone regarding concert attendees respecting an artist’s request for no flash photography and videotaping at a live performance. I honestly thought this was a “no brainer” and my perspective was the clear way to go. Sadly, we did not share the same view. The other individual felt adamant that if someone purchases a ticket to attend a concert, he/she is entitled to do whatever he/she desires, including videotaping a performance DESPITE the artist’s sincerest request in opposition. Though I failed to be shocked at this response considering the source, I found myself deeply disheartened and saddened at the blatant disrespect. I consciously decided to remain hopeful on this matter and view this opinion as a rare occurrence.
Fortunately the stars aligned allowing me opportunities to attend concerts of some gifted artists the past couple of months. Though these wonderfully creative beings delivered emotionally charged performances, I could not ignore the inconsiderate, rude behavior of numerous audience members. In one example, one artist clearly requested that people not videotape the performance, but folks continued doing so on their smart phones and tablets!!!! I shook my head in disgust and irritation more than once. It angered me as a music artist to think that someone coming to supposedly support my artistry would disrespect it at the same time. How much more offensive can you get?
Anyone who knows anything about the music industry knows the importance of an artist controlling his/her image. In an industry obsessed with the aesthetic, fantasy, and perception; an artist must assert control over how he/she is portrayed to build a solid brand that resists the constantly fluctuating whims of the market. It is imperative! That’s why I find it ironic when individuals who claim to be music lovers and diehard fans disregard the basic request from an artist to remain in control of what pictures/videos are put out to the world.
To go even further, I read an article by Lalah Hathaway that presented the concept of “The Moment” that individuals are missing when they spend the entire concert videotaping it on their phones. This seriously hit home for me. The “moment” occurs when the music being played/sung reaches a point of pure divine bliss when everyone on stage is on one accord. I long for these sacred “moments” as a performer and avid concert attendee. There is something so indescribably pure when this happens it strikes to the core of the soul and proves the existence of a greater power. That might sound somewhat esoteric, but it is my truth. It is the transcendental quality of music that unites all mankind.
Therefore, how can someone wholeheartedly bear witness to such a special musical experience if he/she is more focused on videotaping a performance to post on Youtube?!?! The answer is they do not. They miss that flash of brilliance achieved by gifted musicians connecting on a deep level. In my eyes, the guilty individuals are cheating themselves of something potentially life-changing; not to mention the value of the money they spent on tickets. In all honestly, I attend concerts for the sheer fact that I might be blessed to observe/feel just a brief explosion of this musical rapture.
In staying true to history’s relatively cyclical nature, I pray that people “catch a clue” in the near future and go back to the time before smart phones and Youtube when people went to concerts simply to hear some good music and escape to an aural heaven. In addition, I challenge people who call themselves devoted fans to stop disrespecting artists’ intellectual property rights and support their artistic endeavors in appropriate ways. Get with it folks!!