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Kendrick Lamar is Banning Phones at His Shows, Too
Kendrick Lamar is the latest big-name musician to ban the use of cell phones at their shows, joining a list that includes Jack White, Alicia Keys, and Prince. Lamar is even going further than most to ensure that his upcoming performances are undocumented by attendees, by banning professional photographers as well as amateurs. According to The Guardian, it’s an exercise in image management:
While the rapper’s management did allow a few official photographers into the North American dates of his show, showcasing songs from his latest album Damn, Lamar’s fresh concern to limit the market is an attempt to protect his valuable “brand” and ensure the appetite for tickets remains keen. A large part of the income of the music industry, even for bestselling artists, relies on the profits made by concert tours.
Artists taking control of their performance product seems pretty reasonable, as does maintaining some rules for audience etiquette. With the rise of poptimism and respect for popular musicians as artists, it seems natural that some of the mores for audience decorum already seen at traditional high-art venues—the opera house, the theater—would migrate to the world of popular music. And if you think anyone has ever wanted to see your grainy concert videos, you are sorely mistaken.
All that doesn’t prevent this Jack White quote, given to Rolling Stone in 2014, from being the grouchiest old man sentence ever uttered: “People can’t clap any more, because they’ve got a fucking texting thing in their fucking hand, and probably a drink, too!”