Bob Dylan announced a while ago that he won’t be allowing the use of phones at his new tour. His fans were not surprised since it’s known that he doesn’t like them at his concerts. But this time, it created a very intense debate about concerts and phones.
For a new generation that is basically glued to their phones, not being able to record their experiences or share them when they’re happening seems like an abomination.
It’s also interesting how artists like Dylan are challenging tradition, without warning or fear. So it makes us wonder…
Is the public’s fascination with the artist more important or the desire of taking pictures and making videos to “make memories last”?
But he’s not the only one; Madonna, Jack White and U2 have joined the campaign using Yondr, a company whose patented system creates phone-free space for artists with a pouch that locks and unlocks at the entrance and exit, and there is always an available room for people to use their phone in case of emergency.
So, let’s get into the debate, are cellphones a distraction from the show or part of the experience? Yes, we’re multitasking beings, but it’s been proven that our attention span has been reducing every year. So, if we’re not focusing on the experience, can we actually enjoy and connect to the entertainment?
One can argue that if you’re paying a lot of money to see your favorite artist, you should be able to experience it however you want. But others can argue that solidarity should always be above individual freedom because can we actually enjoy something if we know its ruining someone else’s experience?
So can habits be reversed? And why do we give them up more easily when we go to the movies or theaters? What difference do they have with concerts?
There is also the spontaneity factor, some artists don’t do live streams or allow recording, because with social media, there are no surprises for the audience if every detail about the concert is online. Some artists have even gone as far as not taking pictures with fans. For them, people are so ready to take a selfie with them that it doesn’t even feel like a human interaction.
On the other side of the spectrum, it’s absurd to think that at a concert or festival you can’t use your phone when it is such a big part of your daily life. And if we try to understand from a more emotional point of view, sometimes it’s about reliving the experiences afterwards, watching a video so you can remember and go back in time.
So the question is: Are phones part of the experience or do we need to be more empathetic to others peoples experiences?
But not all artists are like Dylan. Think about Rosalia or Miley Cyrus who create moments in concerts thinking they will go to social media later, and hoping they can go viral. We can’t ignore that Rosalia’s meme that went everywhere and later became the beginning for her Bizcochito song when played live.