December 4, 2022


Capturing Magic Moments

Placebo is asking fans to stop filming concerts on their cell phones

3 min read

As a photographer, I am very thankful for the existence of cell phone cameras. However, when I go to concerts, I can’t get over the fact that so many people see them through their tiny little displays. Not only do they miss the show, they block the view of all of us behind them.

While I’ve received a lot of hate for my tirade on the subject, I’m not the only one who loathes all those phones in the air during concerts. In fact, performers hate them too, and Biran Molko and Stefan Olsdalof Placebo have made it quite clear recently.

Scrolling through Facebook earlier this morning, I came across a post from Placebo asking fans to enjoy the show instead of filming it on their phones. Brian and Stefan cite the exact same problems I have with concert goers who spend most concerts with phones in the air.

Dear placebo fans,

We would like to ask you NOT to film or photograph the concert with your mobile phone. It makes placebo’s performance so much more difficult. Harder to connect with you and effectively communicate the emotions of the songs. It’s also disrespectful to your fellow viewers who want to watch the show, not the back of your phone. Please be here and now in the present and enjoy the moment. Because that moment will never happen again. Our goal is to create community and transcendence. Please help us in our mission. With respect and love.


Brian and Stephen

Dear Placebo fans, we would like to ask you NOT to film or photograph the concert with your cell phone…

Posted by Placebo on Thursday November 17, 2022

When I read this post I thought – hey yeah! I remembered a guy at Roger Waters concert who started filming with his tablet. I also thought about this six foot tall guy at The Cure concert who spent the whole time with his phone in his hand… Although he was blocking the view of the little ones among us anyway. 🙂


Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind snapping a few photos and video clips as souvenirs, especially when the light is good. Serbian singer-songwriter Nikola Vranjković comes to mind here as the lighting during his performances is just perfect! I’m usually in the front row when I hear him and his band, so I tend to snap some snaps because I just can’t resist the amazing lighting. But I don’t make videos and I don’t spend most of my time at concerts with my phone in my hand. That would be a pity with such music, and I’m not a fan of getting on the backers’ nerves either.

As I mentioned in the introduction, many artists don’t like it when fans record their concerts with cell phones, and there are various reasons for that. Like placebo, some don’t enjoy the lack of connection it creates. Others hate phone camera flash. Many people still don’t know how to turn it off. Nikola is one of them, by the way, and he has no problem calling you if you shine your cell phone light in his eyes. Some musicians do not want the concert material to be released without a license. And yet the others are… well, just annoyed without telling us why.

Whatever the reason, I think we should respect the artists and the code of conduct they set for their shows. If they don’t want you to shoot gigs or if it’s downright illegal – respect that. And even if it’s allowed, I recommend taking some souvenir photos and enjoying the music to your heart’s content for the rest of the night.

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