An opposing view point on the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s message.


I took a lot of flak for my tweets the past couple days regarding the Yeah Yeah Yeahs “no photo” sign. And I want the chance to truly get my thoughts and point of view out because it was overwhelmingly misunderstood.

The point of this argument that my sights are focused on, and disapproving of, is the message sent via YYYs to concert goers. The message within the message, in my argument, is in a whole different playing field; between fan and fan.

To start: where I seek issue with the YYY’s sign is the notion that they think they have the given right to dictate to their fans how they can or cannot behave at a show. My argument is: every last fan in that room is paying to be there. The band isn’t paying people to stand there and enjoy the live performance. Sure, their music is a gift one could argue, but to each person in that room it’s still going to be embraced differently. It is a choice that each and every fan makes, and invests their own personal funds in to attend a live show. One fan’s $20 may allow them to feel entitled that there are no cameras around. This is not unequal to the next fan’s feeling that his $20 entitles him a screen to watch the show through. This monetary exchange makes a fan a paying customer. This is not dissimilar to me walking into a restaurant and being told, by the restaurant, I cannot order a steak because the person next to me is an avid vegan. Thus this is how I relate the YYY’s note.

Discourtesy via use of cameras is a fan-to-fan issue. I did make the argument that smartphones are small. They are. Not wanting to move your head slightly around view of where a camera might be is truly a small, small inconvenience given the circumstances. Like I said, that person’s desire to have their camera is not unequal to your desire to not want the camera. No one paid more money than the other to be allotted special rights. If it’s in your way, let the person know, they likely don’t know it is bothering the person behind them because they are in a moment, just like you.

Secondly: I feel the message just could have been worded more kindly. This is by all means my personal opinion, and nothing less, because the note can clearly be seen as humorous, rude, kind; it’s subjective. Personally, a note that said something like “We appreciate you wanting to share our performance, but as a courtesy, please be respectful of those around you.” I’m still unsure about how the no smartphone policy specifically is a courtesy, other than indirectly, to the band. Kindness always wins, asking politely tends to be more respected than a demand.

Finally: I think this whole debacle is making every last one of us unappreciative of the privileges we have daily. The ability for bands to still tour, the fact that people are still willing to spend money to support an artist, the ability that venues exist for us to see live music and for artists to showcase their craft, the fact that a nobody band depends on technology like smartphones and social media to become something. Is a tiny cell phone maybe a little bit in your way really that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things? I honestly don’t think so. This whole “put that shit away” boils down to one thing: #Firstworldproblems. I think it’s a small high horse for all of us. I am looking for a band who appreciates what their fans do for them, camera phones or not. And for fans who appreciate the opportunities they have to even get to experience witnessing music in its most basic form. Live music is awesome, seeing it through a screen is less awesome, but that insane tool still exists and we are lucky for it.

I love music, I love live music, I love recorded music, I love music through screens. I use my phone at shows. I don’t use my phone at shows. It isn’t black and white. Any given scenario is better for me at any given time. I suppose I am just a bit more easy going when it comes to what goes on around me at live shows, because I have my own experience and I like others to have their own as well, even if it is different than my own. And if something really bugs me, I’ll kindly ask the person to work with me.

Now please stop cussing me out on Twitter.  😉

❤ @meghan_kearney

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6 thoughts on “An opposing view point on the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s message.

  1. You make some very valid points and I can see your side of the issue. If it were a case of just a few people out of a thousand or so with iphones it would be one thing. But more recently we are talking about whole venues of people with arms in the air, standing in front of their seats trying to record a whole show on an iphone with complete disergard for anyone around them. More often than not, its not just the person behind who is inconvenienced; it is every single row in the venue behind that person who is affected. And every single one of them have paid for a ticket as well. As a photographer myself, I completely understand wanting a souvenir to take home and enjoy from a favorite show, but its become an epidemic which affects everyone from the fans at the show to the artist themselves, and this is not the first time that an artist has placed these same restrictions at their concerts and I’d be willing to bet we see a lot more of these going forward. I think the point the artists are trying to make is that not only is it a distraction to other paying fans, but a distraction to the artists themselves as well. The point of a show (in my opinion) is to create a full-sensory experience for the fans, and I think that a lot of that is lost when you are present, but watching the show through the tiny screen of your iphone.

    • I would definitely agree with that. And I have to respect the different types of shows I attend versus anyone who reads this. I truly have never experienced it quite as bad as you describe, or maybe just haven’t been aware because I’m not thinking about it. I haven’t been to a show with seats in a very long time, but I could see the issue if someone is standing in front of others who are seated. Also, I’m very short so half the time I can’t really see what is going on around me anyway.

      I’m a huge supporter of a no flash policy and I think that should always be respected by fans. I enjoy press/photo passes as typically first three songs. Maybe something like that would make this a win/win. Everyone gets the first three songs to do their photo stuff and that’s that. There’s never a perfect solution.

  2. Meghan,

    You are an idiot. An ignorant idiot. The kind of person who will go through life making her lot better at the expense of other people, and be totally unaware of it.

    The arguments you make are absolute bunk.

    Your point about this being similar to a person walking into a restaurant and being told, by the restaurant, you cannot order a steak because the person next to you is an avid vegan has simply no correlation to this subject.

    A more accurate example would be walking into a restaurant and being told, by the restaurant, they cannot steal food from the table of the person next to them.

    Or walking into a movie theatre and being told, by the usher, they cannot talk loudly on their cellphones during the feature presentation.

    Or walking onto a train and being told, by the conductor, they cannot use the seats for their feet or their bags because there are people standing who paid the same fare.

    In a live concert situation, each fans’ $20 entitles them to the same enjoyment of the show. If you want to whip out your smartphone and stand there videotaping the whole thing, you are doing so AT THE EXPENSE of the people behind you.

    • Thanks for your input, Chris. Those are pretty great and accurate examples for going into places and being asked certain requests when they are inconveniencing others. The way I am viewing it though is that cameras near me have never made me feel inconvenienced, in any way, ever. They are very, very minor inconveniences in general, in my opinion. Please keep in mind my use of the word opinion. Like I said, I don’t believe cell phones are really as big of a deal as is all being made from this. I’m not saying that as the person with a camera at live shows. I’m saying it it from the stand point of someone who is surrounded by cell phones and has never been bothered by it. I don’t think that makes me “an ignorant idiot who will go through life making my lot better at the expense of other people and be totally unaware of it” but thank you for that fine assessment 🙂

      And again, is it too much work for someone to simply let someone in front of them know a camera is blocking their view? Or would that be making my lot better at the expense of others?

  3. I was just at SXSW and it was one of the most annoying things about the festival. Very depressing to look out over the crowd, trying to see the band, and just see hundreds of lit up screens. I wondered about the musicians’ perspective and even asked a friend of mine who played SXSW. He said it’s disappointing to look into the audience and see the crowd staring up at their smart phones the entire time. And from my experience, it’s not as simple as “moving your head” slightly. It’s oppressive. I also think it’s a shame that so many people are viewing a concert through a 5 inch screen. I don’t care what you say—that is not a true experience. Have you ever spent an entire show taking pictures. I did this when I was younger. Especially at big venues, they all come out crappy anyways. And by the end of the show, you feel like you weren’t there.

    One of the last shows I went to at SXSW, there was a guy in front of me with a camcorder the entire time. It was extremely annoying to have this glowing light in front of my face the entire time. And I couldn’t really move because the area was packed. I wanted to ask him: “are you really going to ever watch this video. Are you going to go home and sit down and watch a shitty recording with terrible sound?” The answer is probably no. This is a matter of simply documenting something and throwing it up on YouTube. It’s a very sad element of our culture today, this drive to have some documentation of “being there,” instead of actually being there and enjoying the moment.

    So I think, more power to YYYs for doing that. I don’t think they meant to prevent anyone from taking pictures, so much as they wanted to send a message to the audience—”hey, why don’t you put the phone in your pocket for at least the majority of this show and experience this with us.”

    • Awesome perspective. I personally don’t use my phone for anything except a clock during live performances. I definitely would not want to watch a show through a screen versus it being live in front of me. I definitely do not mind watching a video of a show I’m not at on YouTube. It’s true the majority are poor quality, but when I can’t attend a show, I’m still interested in seeing what bands are playing, what they are saying, how it sounds, etc. To me that is an experience too. Like I said, not as good as a live one, but I’m not going to say I don’t spend a ton of time watching YouTube videos. And based on the frequency of these on YouTube, and various views/comments/likes etc, millions of others enjoy this as well. I just don’t think it is fair to try to eradicate that completely. I thought it was neat that YYYs encouraged phones for a song or two, or whatever it was, then asked them to be put away. Much more respectful and polite than a “PUT THAT SHIT AWAY” note, which I’m still feeling negatively about. But I don’t know the YYYs personally, so I can’t rightfully say how they meant the note to be received.

      And again, I’ve never felt “oppressed” at a show because of phones, so I still find it hard to relate to that. Oppressive is a strong word. There’s always going to be someone or something obnoxious at a concert. And I can assume only 1% or less of the fans supporting the YYYs in all this have never been “that person.” These things are part of life, I don’t think there is use in getting bent out of shape about it to this extent. (Or getting bent out of shape about people getting bent out of shape, like I’m clearly doing – ;))

      Thanks for your nice input!

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