Technology, business and the band

IMG_0030There are times when technology can be a real pain the in neck. And, there are times when it is truly a marvel. In the case i+e, technology is definitely in the latter. I can remember a very long time ago that cameras weren’t allowed into U2’s concerts. It actually read that on the ticket: no alcohol, bottles or cameras. The alcohol and bottles always made sense to me, but I didn’t quite understand the No Camera Policy. Back then, my friend told me that freelance photographers would take pictures of the show and then sell them. Over time, two things happened. One, the band grew in prominence. And two, the number of photographers grew in abundance. In addition, the band received none of the money made from these sales and consequently, prohibited them. IMG_0102Mind you, this was years before the World Wide Web and I had no idea how these people made money selling their photos. I remember seeing ads in the back of certain music magazines and in the classified section of the newspaper, but how much did they make doing that? To this day I don’t know, but it was definitely something the band and its managers were concerned about. I remember a compelling argument that they made about unauthorized photographs. It took me a while to understand the necessity of that business decision, but I did. The biggest downer of that was if you ever wanted a picture of a show, you had to buy it. I had no problems with that, but I never bought pictures, either. The biggest reason was I couldn’t afford it. IMG_0117 As the years passed, I noticed the policies were loosened further. Disposable cameras were now allowed into the show, but that’s it. I used them in the past and the pictures were decent but nowhere near the quality of a real camera. However, I was happy that I could now take pictures. Once mobile phone-makers started building digital cameras into their devices, instead of barring them form shows, the band welcomed them.  This is another reason why I admire them.  They have the remarkable ability to see the future and recognize the opportunity.  Because mobile phones were allowed, there was no way to stop people form taking pictures.  Granted, they could still take them and sell them–and I’m only guessing–but the band no longer cared.  The overwhelming majority would not sell them.  But, the would share them with friends and family and most important, online.  The band literally had millions of free marketing and all they had to do was let it happen.  Brilliant. I’m sure this is not unique to U2, but it is still very smart.  By welcoming something they once refused, they’ve only grown in popularity.  And who benefits the most, us. IMG_0213 For i+e, I’ve read that SLRs are disallowed again, but I saw a guy in the GA floor with one and the lens looked like a tank barrel.  I’m not sure what the rule is but I intend to find out.  If the band comes back to the Bay Area, I’d love to shoot the show with one.  It would be great to have high-quality images for this blog. I welcome your thoughts.

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