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Music

Jun 17, 2011

Apple to ban iPhone users from filming live concerts?

Cutting down use of iPhones at live concerts is a win-win situation,it's just a shame it's going to take the increasingly Big Brother antics of Apple to make it happen says Everett True.

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On the one hand, I think it’s hilarious anyone can turn up to a show with a mobile phone, film the entire event and shove it up on YouTube for the world to see the same evening. This, in an age where management companies and record labels are trying to force professional concert photographers to sign ever more restrictive copyright-grabbing deals. (The infamous “three songs, no flash” clause is now almost mandatory for anyone wishing to officially take photos of a touring band.) Power to the people!

On the other hand, it’s bloody annoying.

Who are these retards who spoil the entire concert-going experience for everyone else: holding their mobile phones aloft in a present-day version of the old “lighter in the air” experience, oblivious to the glares of everyone around them? Why are they even there if all they’re doing is recording the event — in tiny surround, crap sound, shitty framing — for future viewing? Why not stay home and watch it on TV … or YouTube? AND WHY ARE THERE SO MANY OF THEM?

Don’t they understand even the basic rules of concert etiquette?

It used to be smokers holding their cigarettes in front of you so the smoke went directly up into your face: if not that, then drunks talking loudly the entire way through a particularly sensitive middle-eight;  the moshpit sprawling out of control into the non-dancing sections of the crowd, pumping macho muscle. Now it’s idiots with iPhones, making out-of-focus films.

But what can you do? It’s relatively easy to control the use of cameras: but — take everyone’s phone away? It’s unenforceable, against one of the basic human rights, surely? The right to be a twat and annoy the f-ck out of everyone around you.

Enter Apple.

Doubtless aware that their recent much-trumpeted (by Apple) iCloud streaming service has annoyed some of the big players within the music industry, they’ve come up with a piece of equipment to placate them. A device that’ll disable iPhones from recording live concerts, thus leaving the avenues of exploitation open for  those who think themselves most deserving — i.e. Apple themselves, and the record industry. Bugger the people! Home taping is killing music, etc etc etc.

The way it’s supposed to work is that when you hold up your iPhone to record the show, it would also capture a second image that “includes an infrared signal with encoded data” (according to Apple). If this encoded data contained a disable command it would — if required — send a signal back through the iPhone and disable your camera. Apparently.

Of course, you could argue that these tens of thousands of badly-recorded home movies up on YouTube for the world to see, a) provide untold dollars worth of free marketing for the acts in question, b) don’t stop any fan, casual or committed, from buying the official recordings — live or studio, c) are a harmless way of showing devotion to the music, and d) no one should be able to claim copyright on a performance that takes place in a public space … but no one will.

The corporations will be too busy rubbing their hands in anticipation of all the extra revenue (which actually won’t materialise, for the reasons explained above) … the idea being that folk who would have previously watched the live recording on YouTube would now have to pay for it via iTunes.

The common people will be too busy rubbing their hands at the prospect of finally being rid of those annoying twats with their annoying mobiles, ruining the live shows for everyone but themselves.

It’s a win-win situation.

It’s just a shame it’s going to take the increasingly Big Brother antics of Apple to make it happen.

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