Recording in public spaces, private homes, concerts, street performers, everyday people… should anyone recording anyone be monitored?
During its final week I, like thousands of Canadians, every August, rushed to get in my last “fix” of the Canadian National Exhibition, something I look forward too every summer. I impatiently wait for the list of performers set to hit #TheBandshell. I always, instinctively, go for the classics, because hey, its free with the price of admission, which is $6.00 after 5PM (up until last year it was $5.00 after 5, kinder to both the ear and wallet, but, it’s a recession people) and you can stand right in front of your favourite performers if you are there early enough, or push hard enough through the crowds. IT’S A STEAL!
I’ve seen so many greats there…
#PeterNoone (front man of #HermansHermitts)
and the hysterical musical stylings of Paul Revere and The Raiders. This year, I was adding Canadian Rock and Roll Hall of fame-ers #AprilWine to my ever growing list! I get there, and, like everyone else awkwardly waiting for the show to begin, I pull out my handy portable recording device, my BlackBerry (I know, I’m behind on the upgrades), to begin my concert enjoying process.
A process I know you are all too familiar with.
1. Take selfie in front of bare stage
2. Update Facebook status, complete with picture and “feeling”
3. (Repeat for Twitter and Instagram)
4. Continue taking selfies of self “just hanging” as if no one is watching (do this 23 times until I get the picture I desire)
5. Take photos of crew/crowd
6. Decide I do not like where I am standing and think I can find a better spot so I move
7. New selfie to show better spot found!
8. Band is about to come out, update all digital accounts! (because, of course, everyone really cares what I am up to on a Wednesday evening)
9. Selfie in front of band, which is the same as “with” the band :p
10. Proceed, throughout the concert, to record and capture multiple photos/videos of band (love “Just between You And Me”)
11. Selfie of “happy” self at concerts end
12. Update status
13. Go home, feeling lucky to have experienced what I just did
It’s a process. One that involves a fully charged phone with a decent battery. So, back to the story, I had just completed step #8, looking forward to #9, when the announcer comes out and announces to what was a completely shocked, confused and stunned audience, myself included, “The band has asked that you do not record tonight’s performance on your personal recording devices. Thank you. Enjoy the show!” Silence. Everyone was looking around, as if to see if we all actually heard the same thing. I think one person laughed and screamed, “Woo!” Perhaps it was to break the tension, or they, like the rest of us, felt a little awkward and lost. The idea that I would simply watch and enjoy a concert without my recording device was inconceivable! Some proceeded to put away their phones. Would security confiscate them? Would anyone even be watching? I myself looked around for “big brother”!
I paid my ticket. I paid the $6.00 entry fee, so I paid my dues and should be able to do as I please… shouldn’t I? What if they asked us nicely? I am in a public space… If I decide to take a random selfie or video of myself having a great time at the #CNE and April Wine just happens to “bomb” my recording, HOW IS THAT MY FAULT? SHOULD I HAVE TO DELETE IT?
Though, what if it is how they make their living? They are called starving artists for a reason. The aging, plump, April Wine certainly isn’t starving. So that begs the question… should those rules only be in place for the poor, bean-pole, artist?
This is a loaded debate, like a fully loaded baked potato, with all the fixins. I asked a few of my fellow rocker enthusiasts amongst the crowd. As viewers they thought it was ridiculous. Now a days everyone records everything they said, so it’s inevitable and stupid to even suggest such an idea! As not just a consumer, but an artist, that depends on making a living through her craft, I played devil’s advocate and brought in the side of the artist, April Wine’s side. They understood and were sympathetic, but ultimately said to give up the fight.
All I can say is 2 minutes into the concert, 30% of the audience pulled their recording devices back out of their pockets, but every so often attempted to conceal them if the thought creeped into their minds. By sundown, just about everyone, myself included, had pulled out their cell phones, camera big and small, iPads, and whatever else they had on them and proceeded to record and capture their favorite songs.
We can debate this till the cows come home, but I milked them this morning, so I am over that. I do not have an answer. Do you? How would YOU feel if you were performing? If this was how you made your money? Or is art, like love, meant to be free? Great… now I have morphed from a rocker to a hippie…
At any rate, here are my undesirable photos and a video from the concert, on a hill and far away:
I should note that I own this post and would NOT like it shared or re-posted. Forget you ever saw it. Thanks for understanding. :p