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Alicia Keys Latest Artist To Enforce No Cell Phone Policy at Concerts (slashgear.com) 482

Shane McGlaun, reporting for SlashGear:It appears that artists of all sorts are getting very serious about keeping fans from using smartphones while they are at their concerts or events. The latest musician to ban cell phones at her events is Alicia Keys. Fans aren't forced to give up their smartphones at the door to be locked up in some locker or box until the show is over. Rather, fans are handed a special pouch that is locked up with their smartphone inside the fan keeps that pouch with them during the event, but they can't get to the device to call, take photos, or shoot video. If they need to use their device during the show the users can go back to the door and a worker passes a disc about the size of a bagel over the bag to unlock it and the fan can step outside to use their smartphone.
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Alicia Keys Latest Artist To Enforce No Cell Phone Policy at Concerts

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  • by Jfetjunky ( 4359471 ) on Monday June 20, 2016 @01:37PM (#52353367)
    Banning cell phones so you don't have to try to look around people who insist on holding their phones over their heads. Or banning cell phones because you don't want an amateur video of your concert on youtube. Given my jaded view of the music industry, I'd bet on the latter. However, I've always wondered what the people who insist on taking photos and videos of everything they see do with those. Are they the modern day equivalent of those who used to corner people with their slide projectors while they begrudgingly sat and pretended to care? Enjoy your life, quit pretending everybody else wants to experience every second of it too.
    • by hambone142 ( 2551854 ) on Monday June 20, 2016 @02:45PM (#52354125)

      I go to a lot of concerts but I find smart phone users during the show very obnoxious.

      We went to see Tom Petty at the Rose Quarter/Moda center in Portland . The folks in front of us were constantly taking selfies *with flash* , googling, doing fucking Facebook and more during the music. It was such a bad experience, we'll never return to that venue.

      We've run in to the behavior at other shows but not as bad as this one.

      I'm all for bagging cellphones during concerts if people can't learn to behave with them.

      Some of the venues I go to (smaller ones) remind idiots when they're being idiots with cellphones.

    • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Monday June 20, 2016 @06:40PM (#52355937)

      Or banning cell phones because you don't want an amateur video of your concert on youtube.

      Here's an idea. Instead of taking the heavy-handed approach of banning cell phones at concerts, simply remove the incentive to create an amateur video of the concert you're attending with your cell phone. Hire a professional camera crew who makes a slick video of the concert. Then give each ticket-holder a unique code which entitles them to download a free copy of this video a few days after the concert.

      The fans are happy because they get a nice video to relieve the experience, instead of a crappy cell phone video. The musician is happy because there are no (or fewer) annoying cell phones and flashes going off in the concert. And the production studio is happy because they can use software to detect copies of the concert video uploaded to YouTube, instead of having to hire people to scour YouTube for amateur videos of the concert. Win-win-win.

    • by Matheus ( 586080 ) on Monday June 20, 2016 @07:06PM (#52356065) Homepage

      I'm extremely conflicted on this issue. I strive to not be a hypocrite as much as possible so in this try to constrain my activities to a set of rules that I would be comfortable with everyone else following. SO here's where I'm at:

      I go to a LOT of concerts. I believe the vast majority of people don't understand the depth of this statement. 5-7 nights a week. 250-300 days out of the year I'm seeing live music. There are many different kinds of shows and each one has slightly different rules. Clubs are very different from Theaters are very different from Stadiums are very different from Festivals. You really need to respect the environment you're in. I really hate how a lot of people use their phones during a show BUT at the same time my favorite hobby, aside from seeing the music in the first place, is capturing it for the many many people who live vicariously through my concert experiences. This is not vanity. I get thanks on the daily from people who don't have the time or money to go see what I do and truly appreciate the photos and videos I capture and share. SO, I need to find a balance between getting that done and not being "that guy" at a show either. Here are the rules I try to follow:

      1) Turn off your flash. *Period. Cell phone flashes suck. You will get better photos with the light that is being provided by the stage light engineer. The *only time you need your phone flash is if you are taking pictures of your friends in the audience and then only if they are in the dark (see #2). Your friends look cooler if you take a photo away from the stage so they are illuminated by the stage lighting anyway.
      2) I don't take selfies or group shots during shows: This is not only obnoxious for the flash that is often used (necessary or no) but also for the "sorry we're going to expand and shove you all out of the way so we can get an unobstructed shot". I'm not going to say I've never been in such a shot nor taken one but I avoid it to the max because I hate it when it happens.
      3) Keep video to a minimum: I love having videos but hate taking them and it's really hard not to be "that guy" while doing so. Aside from the above *never use flash while recording because goddammit why are you blinding me for that long! but also: a) Video is better horizontal than vertical. b) try to not hold the phone blocking everyone else's view. This is prime if you can be close enough that you can hold your phone over someone's shoulder so only you and maybe the couple people immediately behind you can see it. c) Phone video only looks good when you hold the phone extremely still. If you can't do this then don't record video. d) (Personally) since I want this to be worthwhile to the general public I always record a entire song. I don't want to watch some crappy minute long shaky video of whatever so if I'm going to go through the hassle and aggravation of recording one then its going to be steady, quiet and a complete song. I also shoot for no more than 1 video per show or set if any.
      4) Do your work quick and go away. Block people's view for as little time as possible and put your phone away. I've had shows where I took literally hundreds of photos and the people around me were like "dude I rarely saw your phone in the air". Look for a good shot, get your settings configured when the phone is out of view, pop it up and take a few quick shots (this is faster when the flash is off and any HDR is off as well!) and put the phone away. ALSO you're not going to capture the whole show. Don't try. Take a bunch of (near most) songs off and just enjoy them. I've been behind people who were shooting constantly and it's annoying.
      5) Don't do a bunch of other stuff with your phone. If it's a really major show I might do a single FB update with a photo but else my phone is in my pocket unless it's being a camera or watch. *exception: for really large shows (festivals / stadiums) people may need to find where I am / vice versa so texting is a necessary evil sometimes BUT I'm not sitting there chatting about other crap. Purely lo

  • Liability? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dgatwood ( 11270 )

    I'm just waiting for the first time that the inability to make a 911 call quickly from one of these shows (heart attack, stroke, active shooter, etc.) results in someone's unnecessary death. After one lawsuit erases the benefits of the entire tour, the insurance companies will start levying huge surcharges for any shows that ban cellphones, and all this nonsense will take care of itself.

    • Re:Liability? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by PraiseBob ( 1923958 ) on Monday June 20, 2016 @01:47PM (#52353479)
      You do realize that cell phones didn't always exist, and people still managed to survive? I'm sure concert survival rates won't drop drastically because of a potential 2 hour gap where your cellphone doesn't work.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 20, 2016 @01:52PM (#52353547)

        You do realize that cell phones didn't always exist, and people still managed to survive?

        Lies! I was around then. It was very rare to survive a concert in those days.

      • by watermark ( 913726 ) on Monday June 20, 2016 @01:56PM (#52353599)

        Terrorists didn't exist back then. I need my phone because terrorists.

      • Re:Liability? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by reanjr ( 588767 ) on Monday June 20, 2016 @02:17PM (#52353821) Homepage

        We didn't used to have anesthesia and clean medical facilities, either, and people survived then, too.

      • Sure, but with the introduction of cellphones, society changed. You can ban cellphones, but you can't change back society. You can't change back how insurance companies will respond to an incident during a concert.
      • Not having cell phones available isn't the same as being denied them.

        Let's use a different example: portable defibrillators.
        Before they had them, yes, some people died. And it was sad, but nothing could be done.
        Now that they have them, can you imagine the torrent of lawsuits if someone dropped from a heart attack and the only portable defibrillator WAS LOCKED AWAY?

        Somewhere, a lawyer has a boner.

    • by arth1 ( 260657 )

      Have you ever been to a concert? No, really?
      Do you think that making a 9-1-1 or 1-1-2 phone call is even possible over the din of the band and the crowd?

      Leave making emergency calls to the emergency crew which is present, and have a room or a van from which phone calls can be made. That way, your great-uncle might even survive his heart attack, unlike if you panic and try to make a call yourself.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dgatwood ( 11270 )

        Do you think that making a 9-1-1 or 1-1-2 phone call is even possible over the din of the band and the crowd?

        Yes. Modern cell phones are quite good at noise rejection; there are real advantages from having your mouth an inch from the main mic and multiple microphones elsewhere on the device. Besides, all that 911 needs to know is that there's a medical emergency. They can tell the location from GPS even if they can't tell it from the noise level.

        Leave making emergency calls to the emergency crew which is

    • No shit (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 )

      And before someone starts complaining about "But we didn't used to have cellphones!" no we didn't, now we do: It's called progress. One thing that has helped emergency response times quite a bit in high income nations is the proliferation of mobile phones. When something happens emergency services can be notified in seconds, and get the response rolling that much faster.

      Happened when I was in a car accident. I was dazed for maybe 20-30 seconds, then got my phone out and called for help. They had fire respon

      • Happened when I was in a car accident. I was dazed for maybe 20-30 seconds, then got my phone out and called for help. They had fire responders on scene in under 2 minutes, police 30 seconds later and EMS in about 4. In that case, it didn't matter, everyone was fine other than bruises, but had there been something serious, it is much more likely it could have been dealt with. The only reason the response was so fast was that it was in a populated area, and that I was able to call for help almost immediately.

        My Ford Explorer & my wife's Ford Escape have a 9-1-1 assist mode that will call 9-1-1 automatically if you're in an accident. I'd imagine that the majority of newer cars would have it as well. Since I've owned mostly jalopies for the past 15 years, I was very pleased to see that as a feature.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Dear god,

      Please make sure earth has a front row seat for the upcoming solar superstorms.

      Thank you!
      Sick of the mobile revolution

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coronal_mass_ejection

    • Re:Liability? (Score:5, Informative)

      by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Monday June 20, 2016 @02:13PM (#52353785)

      Ok let's clear some things up here in dot points:

      1. Nothing good has ever come from random people calling 911 for emergency services to a very large public venue. All you achieve is to confuse the dispatchers and result in a bunch of ambulances arriving to the wrong place, announcing to the wrong place and ultimately delaying care for those that need.

      2. Part of event organisation includes co-ordination. There's never an assumption or a requirement to have the public involved in managing an event. The organisers have teams with radios for communication, and can easily and quickly manage any scenario.

      3. Following on from the above dot point one of the key parts of managing an emergency at a public event is getting people to NOT help and getting them to stay out of the way. Despite what you think is happening in nearly every case the situation is being far better managed than you think and no unless you're a doctor you're not at all helping.

      4. I don't want someone to call 911. I want someone to call the local first aid team which is part of the emergency response plan which will likely be there in seconds, not 10s of minutes.

      5. ALL such events have insurance. ALL such events are required to provide an emergency response plan to the insurance company.

      6. In an active shooter event all bets are off. More people will get injured in the resulting stampede than get shot by the shooter. Still the best person to 911 is security, the guys who likely can see the shooter and follow where he is moving, not some person hiding under the chair providing wonderful information to dispatch such as "bwaaa I don't know where he is, bwaaaa someone is shooting, bwaaaa get me out of here"

      And completely unrelated to an emergency the use of mobile phones at a concert is just pure and utter garbage that results in pure and utter garbage videos, pure and utter garbage sound, and makes you a pure and utter garbage person for holding up a lit display in the person behind you's face.

  • by Salgak1 ( 20136 ) <salgak@speak e a s y.net> on Monday June 20, 2016 @01:40PM (#52353405) Homepage

    . . . . a Bluetooth Camera/Audio pickup. Unless this "Yondr" bag is a dual-layered Faraday shield. . . .

    • Why? You're implying there's a mass market for people desperate to bootleg this kind of material rather than just arseholes who have a phone and think they will ever do anything at all productive with a video which shining a light in the face of the person behind them.

      I don't know of anyone who goes to a concert with the intent to bootleg the show, yet I know of plenty of people who will pull out their phone with what I can only conclude was a thought process that went something like: "I know what will make

    • Definitely don't LOOK Faraday shielded.

      Best article I could find on what they are/how they work: http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2014/10/i-let-yondr-lock-my-smartphone-in-a-sock-so-i-could-live-in-the-moment/ [arstechnica.com]

      They seem to basically be a cell-phone sized sleeve with a "security tag" style locking mechanism.

  • by will_die ( 586523 ) on Monday June 20, 2016 @01:41PM (#52353413) Homepage
    For those wondering how they block the signal they don't.
    It is a just a bag with a lock on it, the phone operates like normal and if you don't put it on vibrate or no sound it will still ring.
    • For those wondering how they block the signal they don't.
      It is a just a bag with a lock on it, the phone operates like normal and if you don't put it on vibrate or no sound it will still ring.

      Only now you won't be able to get to it, silence it, or shut it off?
      Great ... sounds like real "progress".

      • by mark-t ( 151149 )

        I would assume that at a concert, nobody will be able to hear a phone anyways. Concert noise levels at events like this probably push a hundred db or more, while a cell phone ringtone is probably only about 60 to 70 db.

        If you have to shout to a person who is right beside you for them to hear what you are saying, what makes you think you'd hear a cell phone ring?

  • Can't you just cut this open with a pocket knife?

    I even RTFA but it was not helpful on that question.

    Perhaps they're just relying on most people not doing that and making it easier to enforce since there will be few people to chase down.

    I like the guy whining that in this day and age the cell phone is how he remembers. Apparently, at least some humans consider their wetware memories an archaic vestigial device.

    • i would enjoy returning a shredded bag on my way out

    • by arth1 ( 260657 )

      Can't you just cut this open with a pocket knife?

      I even RTFA but it was not helpful on that question.

      Sure, but given that the bag is the property of the venue, you can be charged with willful destruction of property. And bringing a knife to a concert too, which I'm sure is against at least some municipal laws.

      Perhaps they're just relying on most people not doing that and making it easier to enforce since there will be few people to chase down.

      Yes, I'm sure that this cuts down on the number enough that it's easier to enforce the rule on the rest. Toss out the fucktards with no refund - they knew the rules before they went in, and chose to ignore them and circumvent them.

      To anyone so dependent on their phones: Just don't go. Save the mon

  • If you follow a chain of links, it appears that she used this for a show at the Highline Ballroom in NYC. It holds about 700 people. The other musical act mentioned, The Limineers, is a group I've never heard of but they seem to be playing a ton of festivals and mostly smaller amphitheaters. Other users include various comedians. I'll be impressed when someone who can draw tens of thousands of people to see them is willing to do it and risk pissing their fans off. Let me know if Kanye ever decides to t
  • Looking up the tech it's just a cloth bag... Scissors. Their fancy "lock mechanism" has been defeated with fucking scissors. Good job.
    • Except that this is probably more about minimizing the workload of the bouncers than it is about making it physically impossible to get to your phone.

  • by Burdell ( 228580 ) on Monday June 20, 2016 @02:00PM (#52353647)

    I saw Weird Al Yankovic this past weekend. Entering the venue, we were specifically told that we could use cell phones if we liked. Part of his show involved everybody getting their cell phone out and waving them over their head - we all have cell phones, so c'mon, let's get real!

    • I saw Weird Al Yankovic ... his show involved everybody getting their cell phone out and waving them over their head ... so c'mon, let's get real!

      The point of his show ... you missed it. Spectacularly!

      For future reference the hint is in the term "parody."

  • by Quirkz ( 1206400 ) <(moc.zkriuq) (ta) (ssor)> on Monday June 20, 2016 @02:00PM (#52353649) Homepage

    In the conflict between people who don't understand how much of a nuisance they are with their phones, and the people who are self-righteously snooty about how other people use their phones, I'm not sure there's a clear winner. I can see the impulse from both sides, a little, but in the long run I think I'm going to say this goes down as a dumb policy.

  • Why not just bring 2 phones? Have your fake phone put into the bag while your real phone stays out?

  • Or are we talking about airport-like security scans where thye xray your belongings and make you pass through a metal detector?
  • I wonder how durable these bags are. Wildly guessing, I'd speculate that if they're cheap enough to hand out on mass numbers, they're also made of light enough materials to be torn open by hand, or cut into with, perhaps, the extraneous key I have on my keychain for when I'm tempted to pry or screw something with a key but don't want to muck up one of the keys that actually open things I care about. One thing I do know, is that if any venue tries this stunt with me, and I can't tear the bag open, it's goi

    • Probably made from Tyvek. Very cheap, but cannot be torn, can be cut with scissors easily however.

      "Slow down cowboy, it's been 30 minutes since you last posted a comment...."

  • I'd never go to these performers (refuse to call them "artists") concerts....

  • Unless they are going to frisk everybody, just bring two phones. When they ask if you have a phone, serve up the dummy.

  • Granted, I haven't been to an arena concert in over a decade, but the last concert I was at (a non-arena concert last fall) they were happy to have fas taking pictures with their phones. I've seen other performances from the band I saw posted online that were shot with varying degrees of consumer hardware, and the artists have never (to the best of my knowledge) protested against it. I guess I just run with a different crowd or something.
  • ... a bigger bag [timeinc.net] for my phone.

  • You can call emergency numbers even without a SIM card. I'm sure it would be possible to have a local cell at the venue, providing a strong signal so that phones wouldn't use any other service, and it would only enable emergency calls. Security staff would of course have some other kind of radio comms.
    • by mjr167 ( 2477430 )
      You are assuming the only kind of emergency involves you needing to call 911. Perhaps the babysitter/hospital is trying to reach you to tell you that your kid fell down the stairs, is at the ER, and they need your consent to operate / put him on a helicopter to another hospital. Perhaps you are a volunteer firefighter and there is a fire.

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