Concerts are More than Just a Live Experience Now


Matty Healy performing at Leeds Arena for The 1975’s At Their Very Best tour. Photo courtesy of Jordan Hughes.

Faith Cooper, Reporter

If you’ve spent any amount of time on social media: TikTok, Instagram, or even Twitter, you’ve probably stumbled across a concert clip. Most people are familiar with either Matty Healy’s (frontman of The 1975) autotune antics or Harry Styles reading wild fan-made signs. The 1975’s At Their Very Best tour, as well as Harry Styles’s Love On Tour have come to the forefront of social media with the click of a record button and an upload. These clips garner millions of likes. At the prospect of capturing the next viral moment, more fans are reaching for their phones during concerts. 

Concerts have always been a bit of a competition. Fans compete for the front row of the pit (“barricade”) to get as close as they possibly can to their favorite artists. More recently, fans will even queue days in advance. The bigger the artist is, the higher the demand is amongst fans. Seeing a local band at a bar won’t generate a line at the door like a Harry Styles show will. Seeing a popular artist up close (and having a recording of it) is considered an achievement. Being near the stage also makes it easier to capture the best viral moments. Everyone wants a video of Harry Styles reading their sign, and everyone at home wants to see that video. 

However, there’s an inevitable sacrifice concert-goers are making now: commodifying the experience instead of simply enjoying live music. Some artists have addressed the topic at shows, or even asked their audience to put their phones away. Mitski asked her audience to refrain from taping entire songs during her Laurel Hell tour, writing in a statement on Twitter: “Sometimes when I see people filming entire songs or whole sets, it makes me feel as though we are not here together. This goes for both when I’m on stage, and when I’m an audience member at shows… We can experience magic at a show. But only if we’re there to catch it.”