Shuffle: More Musicians Tell Concertgoers, 'Lock Up Your Phone or Leave it at Home'

Jun 7, 2018

Fans who went to rocker Jack White’s concert at Jacob’s Pavilion in Cleveland Wednesday night were told to lock up their cell phones or leave them in the car. It’s a growing trend among artists who are fed up with people taking photos or video and not paying attention to their show.

Cleveland.com life and culture reporter Annie Nickoloff says White and others like The Lumineers, Childish Gambino and Chris Rock are using San Fancisco start-up, Yondr.

She says the artists want fans to be present in the moment without distractions.

It's also about coypright.

"When you're taping [the music] and posting it on YouTube and potentially making money from it, that gets in the way of artists' rights."

Four-year-old San Francisco start-up Yondr has made it possible for artists to ban cell phones at their concerts
Credit Yondr

How it works
"When you get to the concert, you get a cloth pouch to put your phone in. It locks up and you cannot access your phone unless you go to an unlocking station elsewhere in the venue."

She says Yondr allows you to keep to your phone on you, so you can put it in vibrate mode and still receive notifications.  

Still, Nickoloff says she doesn't like the idea of having to leave the show to stay connected.

"I like to have my phone on me whenever I need it for an emergency. I think it's better for the artsist to encourage us in other ways. I'll put it away if they ask me to. It's not a big deal. But this seems a little too far."

Pros and cons
When Jack White annouced his no-cell phone policy, Nickoloff wrote an article on Cleveland.com, asking readers for feedback. 

Annie Nickoloff is Cleveland.com's life and culture reporter
Credit Annie Nickoloff

"The main theme was safety. Some people referenced instances of terrorism, like the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England." A suicide bomber killed 22 people at the end of Grande's concert in May 2017.

"If something like that were to happen, they would want access to their phones," Nickoloff says. 

However, some people liked the concept.

"They mentioned that they're annoyed when they go to shows and don't want to see hundreds of teenagers with their phones Snapchatting the entire show."   

Here to stay
While Nickoloff acknowledges it's a divisive issue, she thinks Yondr will become more common at concerts.

"I think it's definitely a trend that's catching on. You're going to see artists who feel strongly about this, starting to use this technology."

She also says Yondr is being used in other settings. Schools and courtrooms are also using the pouches as a way to keep cell phone-use at bay.