I am a TV show

Steve Safran sees the future of news and media happening all around him:

I went to the Rolling Stones concert at Fenway Park last night. I was laughing at all the people who were holding up cellphones so their friends at home could have a listen. They were taking tiny, grainy pictures to email their pals. It was silly. But then it occurred to me – they were sending pictures and feeding audio. They were doing mini-live shots.

  • …of semi-dead guys.

  • I just went to a concert at the new House of Blues in San Diego. They confiscated my digital camera and charged a $5 holding fee to bury it in a cardboard box under 50 other cameras.

    Then, after waiting in line again, they found my camera phone. I looked at the security guard with savage disdain. They let it slide. The metal detectors worked but at some point there is nothing they can do, people won’t come back. H.O.B. is my own personal Dell.

  • Cellphone confiscations will get worse, not better, as sound/image capture capabilities approach that of bootleg quality. Content may no longer be king, but try explaining that to the no-necked goons doing security at your average Ticketmaster venue…

    MP3-swapping was only the tip of the iceberg. The very notion of intellectual property is about to be challenged by digital technology, from camera-phones capable of recording entire concerts to Google and Amazon’s scanning of every book ever printed. Hold onto your hats!

  • Jeff,

    And the cameras can only get better.


    In time people will either realize those with camera phones are providing free publicity and encouraging others to come see the shows. Or they will not. The one will flourish, the other will fail.

  • Alan,

    The “free publicity” argument is currently not washing with the American Publishers’ Association, who have forced Google Print to suspend its scanning of copyrighted materials. I agree that the future is on the side of the people who understand that the rules have fundamentally changed, but the clueless dinosaurs of Old Media have a lot of accumulated capital and lawyers to spend it on in the meantime.

  • Homer Robinson

    Amazing. The veiocity of change that is happening, it seems so natural to us. But to those who had control, and the power to use it, it must like a nightmare to them. What times we live in. Amazing.

  • John

    Considering the average age of the Stones nowadays, it would have been more approprate for the fans at Fenway to be shooting black and white kinescopes.

  • People hold up cell phones like cigarette lighters. It’s all the rage with the youngins.

  • Scott

    How exciting! Now everyone can stare at a crappy reproduction of the original and listen to a lame second hand copy of the real thing instead of actually paying attention to what is happening while they are there. lol

    As a working photographer, one of the things that I really miss is not having a filter between myself and the actual event. Real life goes by as I spend my day hidden behind the lens capturing it for others

    Professionally, this is very fulfilling…but really….there’s something to be said for just sitting back and *experiencing* something w/o all the distractions of “new media”.

  • Lorenzo

    Funny, the first think I thought of was a bunch of Japanese tourists clicking away. Bootlegging aside, history is being recorded. How many personal photos and/or tapes have been used by the show “where Are They Now”? Of course, they’ll never do a show on the Stones – they’ll never leave.

  • People are playing with their new toys. When the novelty wears off it should fade away.

    Now considering how small the devicies are getting, you can look forward to a time when cameras and microphones get integrated into clothing. Can you see the House of Blues in any town insisting patrons disrobe to see a concert?

    In such a world the successful entertainment venues will be the ones that either ignore surriptitious recordings, or actively encourage it. Using bootlegs as a way of advertising themselves and their acts. Some may even go so far as to solicit the better bootlegs, providing them for sale and paying the recorder a production royalty for each copy sold.

    Don’t fight your audience, recruit your audience.

  • Justin

    Like Alan K said, coopting new media tools/methods for use by corporations is usually much more successful than attempting to ban them. Even though underground recorders/artists often rail against ‘the man’, if given a way to expand their audience and increase their fanbase they’ll take it, even if it means doing a deal with ‘the man’. Most curb-side rappers and mixmasters jump at a chance to cut a CD with a large company.

    On another note, using recorded cellphone footage from a concert to sell future event tickets to other patrons via advertising on cellphones makes sense. The footage is already in the required format and screen size, and can simply be edited for length/content. Slap an official label on it, give credit to the person who captured it, and voila, instant cool ads, shot by an audience member for street cred and an excellent tool for promotion.

  • I find this quite funny really, but what i do know for sure is that using phones instead of lighters you will not get your fingers burnt.