Apple has received approval for a patent on technology that could disable your phone’s video and camera capabilities in certain settings: i.e., your next Beyoncé concert. How does it work? A tiny sensor is placed on or near the stage that would send out infrared signals containing encoded data. Your phone picks up the data…and boom! Bye, Bey.
Many bands aren’t shy to ask fans to
cut the shit drop their phones and live in the moment. Yeah Yeah Yeahs have posted signs at their shows banning phones, and even Florence Welch went on a three-minute-plus spiel about it just last month.
While the pros and cons of this can be debated, the tech does have other uses, like thwarting criminals casing out their next bank heist and preventing the photography of paintings and other works of art at museums. These make sense, but how dare they mess with the power of Snapchat! (Guess I’ll have to actually go to Coachella sometime.)
There’s no question that being stuck behind someone’s raised phone for an entire show is the worst thing ever, a fate worse than soggy socks and warm beer. But there’s something to be said about the free promotion artists receive because of recorded video on YouTube, Snapchat and now, Instagram. Maybe artists like Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Florence and the Machine don’t need our help anymore, but up-and-comers surely relish the fact that their fans are hungry for content, with a strong desire to capture moments they can Elmyra-squeeze forever. (Plus, free promo and free exposure = a no brainer for new bands.)
It should also be noted that just because a company receives a patent doesn’t mean the technology will actually be brought to market. Apple’s patent approval for a censoring platform for iTunes hasn’t seen the light of day, hopefully due to the fact that it’s a fucking stupid idea.
Nevertheless, while I’m a little unsettled by the fact that a company may be dictating what I can and cannot do with my phone, it’s too early to go all Michael-Douglas-in-Falling-Down about it.
So don’t trip out Phish Heads – your bootlegging days aren’t quite over….yet.