The Use of Technology at Live Music Events

We live in a world surrounded by technology. No matter where you are, what you are doing, our focus always is on our mobile phones, tablets, laptops or kindles. Conversing with one another is slowly becoming a thing of the past, you only have to look as far as the post 5:30pm train from work to realise that we are not speaking to other people as we were 10 years ago.

Although technology can ultimately be a life saver, it can also mean the death of the things we love. For me that is live music events.

You’ve been waiting to see your favourite artist perform for a number of months now, since you purchased, downloaded or streamed their latest/debut album. You make an attempt to arrive earlier than planned to get a firm standing spot for the show ready to be in complete awe of that artist on stage, but as soon as the lights come up and the crowd begin to roar — what happens next is becoming an all too familiar experience.

Simultaneously all the people surrounding you take out their phones and tablets and begin taking pictures or record every second of the entire show. It has to be the most frustrating part of modern day gigs. In all honesty taking a couple of pictures is sufficient, but why spend the entire time on your phone taking pictures, you’ve spent your hard-earned money on these tickets and the excitement has been building since you bought them. But for 90 odd minutes you end up watching the gig through someone’s iPhone and not enjoying the music and visuals that the artist has spent months or years working on. Viewing it back on the train home or the night after is great, you get to relive that track from the album you’ve undoubtedly know all the words too but do you actually remember what it was like being there and listening to the music live? The answer in most cases in no.

As technology has become such a central part of our everyday lives its become natural to share every moment with everyone. Whether that’s ‘checking in’ at The 02 on Facebook, writing out a tweet about the band your about to see five times over before actually pressing ‘Tweet’ (because you can never quite fit it into those 140 characters), or deciding on what filter to add to your latest snaps for Instagram. The point I’m trying to make is that technology is beginning to ruin real life experiences like concerts and festivals, to the point where in a not so distant future the norm at concerts will be for the artist to perform just for your mobile phones and the social networking world.

Live music has become vitally important to a musicians as a result of the decline in album sales, rise in streaming services and 360 contract deals. It’s a chance for the artist to connect with their fans in a way that a pair of headphones or wireless speakers simply can’t. Listening to music live is as good as it gets for every music fan but if we let technology ruin these experiences, not only will the musicians and the art suffer but us the music fans will too. We should all enjoy the music with our eyes and ears, not our iPhones.

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