Concert Tablet Music

The Social Music Experience

Yes, as we all may have noticed, attending any public event has drastically changed in the last ten years. Cell phones and social media now dominate our lives, hands and pockets, which causes us many of us to compulsively use our cell phone. Whether its attending a music festival, a sold out show or an open mic night, the concert experience has been among the most drastic events to experience changes. Has this cell phone craze gone too far or is the music industry keying into the enormous potential for concerts to act as a marketing events?

To underline the drastic, rapid changes, the New York Daily News posted a photo during the pope selection comparing the crowd outside the Vatican in 2005 to the crowd outside the Vatican in 2013. The image was pretty striking.

The U.S. smartphone market is booming, and has even more room for growth as 61% of Americans using smartphones. Brands are taking advantage of this potential in a smart way. Take for example, Heineken, who used printable QR codes as an ice-breaker between fans at its Open’er Music Festival in Gdynia, Poland. They were introducing their “Open Your World” campaign, which allowed festival-goers to create messages and converted them into a scannable QR code. Then they could print the code and attached it to their clothing or skin. I don’t know how I’d feel about scanning someone to start a conversation, seems a little sci-fi, but it is a neat idea.


Heineken is not the only one taking advantage of the virility of smartphones and social media during concerts. Those artists that are using it include Kenny Chesney and the Rolling Stones. At his concert, Chesney noted that he only performed an encore because the crowd’s “live online presence was amazing.” The Rolling Stones asked their Twitter followers what song they wanted to hear at their concert. After thousands of tweets, The Rolling Stones played the fan-selected song at their concert. The power of social media is ever present, and all genres of artists are utilizing it to gain and engage fans and followers. However, not all bands are so keen on the idea of cell phones and social media during their concert. Take for example, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, which requested that fans leave their phones in the pockets, or as they nicely phrase it, “PUT THAT S%*# AWAY.”

Whether concerts are cell phone free or cell phone dependent, social media will continue to play a role in the live music scene –for better or worse.

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Cover Photo Source: Anton Oparin /

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]Kevin is a Junior Executive at SJG. He is currently working towards a degree in Advertising and a minor in Spanish at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Outside the office, you can be sure he’s commuting back and forth to Champaign for other work with his radio station at school. [/author_info] [/author]