It’s Time We Boot Ridiculous Camera Policies At Concerts


After my fun time at ACL Live Moody Theater a couple of weeks ago, I figured I would take some time to point out just how ridiculous they, as well as any other venue, are in aggressively enforcing a camera policy at the front doors.  It’s real simple.  The way that communication technology is advancing, it is impossible to stop any kind of pictures anywhere and hurts the experience for everyone involved.

Do you like being pat down?  Do you like being reminded about how you could be pat down at any time under the discretion of security?  Do you like have flashlights flickering in your eyes every minute or so, distracting you from the show?  Well that’s what you get with camera policy.  A locked down experience and a major distraction from what you paid to see.

But does it deter pictures, or heaven forbid, video from being recorded at shows?  Nope, because even on lock down security misses.  So during the shows I see cameras pop up and snag pictures.  So when you turn away some for having cameras and let in others, you setup a system of the haves and have nots.  How does it feel when you see someone with camera when you got pushed back outside for it?  Pretty crappy right.

Let’s talk about smartphones.  Sure cameras are big and bulky but what about the cameras on smartphones?  Oh you can bring those in.  Just no pictures.  In the meantime, it’s flashing lights for any hint of a camera snap.  Now with the technology getting better, you can take some quality pics and may even to HD video.  It’s only going to grow.  Cameras will be everywhere.

The deterrence doesn’t work.  You can online and see video and pictures from shows that strongly inhibit it.  So why keep up this charade?  It’s security theater.  Instead of spending all this money on maintaining a militant experience, how about pushing that toward improving the experience?  Like, I don’t know, facility upgrades?  Wasting all this time and money for worse experience is silly.  Stop it.

Don’t like that idea?  Okay, how about instead of treating your customers like prisoners, you treat them with respect?  Setup camera pits.  Section off some seats or standing room only areas where you can only take pictures.  For people who want to remember their experience, they’ll have it and you’ll get a more controlled environment that everyone can enjoy.  You may be able to even charge a little bit more for access to the area.  That can help to pay for turning away actual bad things like weapons.

It’s pretty simple.  Venues that spend so much time and money fighting a technology growth that won’t go away is silly.  There’s opportunity to capitalize on that growth and upgrade the experience for everybody.  Until that day comes, you can expect me to avoid going to venues that have these archaic rules.  I ask that everyone else follow suit.  And take a camera.