iPads in the sky: do fan videos help or hurt?








From the stage, last week’s gig at Jazz Club Firenze appeared dark, mysterious, and candlelit. But from the audience, there might have been more than one smartphone or tablet a-glowing. Now I, for one, am flattered that people want to take a piece of my performance home with them. That said, I’ve also been on the other side, furiously glaring at the shoulders of some goon whose iPad in the sky is blinding me and blocking my view of the stage. Hey man, I didn’t buy a ticket to this show to watch it in pixellated miniature on your dinky device. Put it down. Relax.

Turns out, I’m not the only one with this conflicting perspective on fans taking videos at shows. In a recent article, BBC News addresses the issue. On the one hand, exposure is the word of the day for artists. The more fans share photos and videos of you, the greater your online reach. On the other hand, the videos oftentimes have terrible audio quality, making you sound like a monster-robot. And as mentioned above, the glowing devices frequently alienate the poor, purist fan standing behind the jerk with the iPad.

Dublin-based technology firm 45sound seems to have a solution to the first of the above complaints: their unique technology analyzes audio patterns in fan videos and matches them with a master live recording from the same gig. Then fans’ clips are re-uploaded with high quality audio, allowing viewers to scroll through multiple visual perspectives on the same moment in the same concert, all with good sound. So with 45sound, your live videos are not only more interactive — you’re also protected from sounding like a monster-robot and scaring off potential fans.

So yes, technology is cool. And yes, like it or not, smartphones and social marketing are here to stay. But I must admit, when it comes to musical experiences, I think I’m more old school. Live in the moment, anyone? What do YOU think?