Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Coachella
Millennials Battle With Grabbing The "Instagram Moment" And Being Present At Concerts
Now more than ever artists are becoming concerned with how their shows look on social media timelines. While millennials agree that stage design matters, the story is a little more complicated
These days you can't attend a concert or live music event without seeing a smartphone in the air. Whether you're in the middle of a pit or in reserved seating, trying to capture the one image that will make people scrolling timelines at home stop and double tap is as much a part of the concert experience as being there.
According to Rolling Stone, artists are paying attention to the role their concerts play on social media and are becoming more preoccupied with how their shows look for all the people who will catch a photo online. Artists are specifically concerned with Instagram, which the magazine reports has added 300 million active monthly users in the last year alone and is the primary visual platform for social networking. The platform is a popular way fans share their experience with those at home and, consequentially, is shaping how concerts and live music events look on timelines.
Thanks to the social media platform you can catch J Balvin's giant dinosaur or Travis Scott's rollercoaster performance without having to actually be at the show. This, the magazine reports, is pressuring artists to create eye-catching show visuals with just-right lighting to help them shine on everyone's Instagram feed.
This phenomenon will only be fanned by the fact that, according to Digital Music News, the live music industry will see big growth the next few years, reaching an estimated value of $31 billion by 2022, with ticket sales projected to make up $24 billion of it.
Ray Winkler, who stage designed Beyoncé and Jay-Z's On the Run II Tour, told the magazine "The show starts the moment the first person takes a picture of it." Another designer, LeRoy Bennett, who has produced stages for Madonna, Lady Gaga and others says artists are "very concerned about the 'Instagram Moment.'"
GRAMMY U member Jessica from New York says she has noticed concert goers increasingly trying to get shots of that "Instagram-worthy" moment, once even getting elbowed by a girl at a concert who stuck her cell phone right in front of her face to get a picture of the lead singer.
"I notice a shift in focus from the quality of music & the show to the quality of an Instagram photo," she said. "This doesn't mean I don't snap a quick photo or two, but my experience is heavily based on how the artist made me feel rather than how many social media platforms knew I was in attendance."
Jessica's been an avid concert-goer for years, and, when she was younger went from using a flip phone with grainy image quality to a digital camera to get the best images. Nevertheless, while she snaps a photo or two, she feels being present at a show is what matters the most.
"Therefore, every concert I attend, I turn my phone on Airplane Mode to escape reality for two hours & let myself live through the music," she said.
For GRAMMY U member Audrey from Nashville, stage design is a way artists can engage with fans. She takes out her lens if there is something especially appealing on stage.
"I think there is some importance with social media in all aspects, and on the fan side of things it can connect people," she said. "On the artist side, I think it is so important nowadays to understand that their concert will be captured by thousands of phones and pushed out on social media."
Although she tries not to take her phone out too much, she does, "pay attention to stage visuals because I think it has become an equally as important element as the songs being sung."
It's understandable to want to take pictures of eye-catching visuals, but as all GRAMMY U members pointed out: they still want to be present and take in the magic of the music at each show. In order to get the best of both worlds, GRAMMY U member Victor has a suggestion:
"I think if artists designated a specific moment during their sets to allow fans to capture an 'Instagram moment,' then that may allow fans to stay engaged the entire time."
Stage designer Bennett has another suggestion: "We should just ban phones from any show, that's my theory. Social media has become not exactly a hindrance, but it's adding more stress into designing a show, and it's putting undue pressure on the artist. "
While there are many people for and against phone usage at concerts, everyone is there for the same reason, to enjoy a special, music-centered moment together.
Rotimi On Performing At ESSENCE Fest, Growing Up African-American & More
The Nigerian-American singer and actor sat down with the Recording Academy to talk about what inspired his latest album, 'Walk With Me'
In 2015, Rotimi stepped into the New Orleans Superdome for the first time to experience the magic of ESSENCE Fest. Four years later, in 2019, the "Love Riddim" singer returned to the celebration as a performer, something he said was spoken into existence.
"Last year me and my manager had a conversation and I said, 'Listen, I'm going to be on the [ESSENCE] mainstage this year. 365 days later, we did it," Rotimi told the Recording Academy at the 25th annual ESSENCE Fest.
Rotimi, also an actor on Starz' "Power," has evolved since his last album, 2017's Jeep Music, Vol.1. The singer said he really hit home with its follow-up, the recently released Walk With Me, a project he worked hard for, putting in hours in the studio after filming on set.
"Walk With Me is the first time I actually felt like I was giving myself as an artist, and personally I feel like with everything else I have going on I wanted to show people that this is really what I do," he said. "I wanted people to understand who Rotimi is, who Rotimi was before, who I want to be and just understand my growth and the journey and my passion for what I do."
Part of why the album felt like such a representation of him is because it embodies beats of his African roots, something he said was very present growing up Nigerian-American.
"I grew up with a lot of Fela Kuti and I grew up with Bob Marley," he said of his musical roots. "But I also grew up with Carl Thomas and Genuine and Usher, so there was a genuine mixture of who I am and what I've grown up to listen to. The actual Walk With Me project was a mixture of influences of Akon and Craig David."
Allen Hughes' "The Defiant Ones" Wins Best Music Film | 2018 GRAMMY
Director Allen Hughes' four-part documentary takes home Best Music Film honors for its portrayal of the unlikely partnership that changed the music business
The team behind The Defiant Ones celebrated a big win for Best Music Film at the 60th GRAMMY Awards. The crew awarded include director Allen Hughes and producers Sarah Anthony, Fritzi Horstman, Broderick Johnson, Gene Kirkwood, Andrew Kosove, Laura Lancaster, Michael Lombardo, Jerry Longarzo, Doug Pray & Steven Williams.
In a year rife with quality music documentaries and series, the bar has been set high for this dynamic category. The Defiant Ones is a four-part HBO documentary telling the story of an unlikely duo taking the music business by storm seems better suited for fantastical pages of a comic book, but for engineer-turned-mogul Jimmy Iovine and super-producer Dr. Dre, it's all truth.The Defiant Ones recounts their histories, their tribulations and their wild success. These include first-hand accounts from those who were there in Iovine's early days, such as Bruce Springsteen and U2's Bono, as well as those on board when Dre and Iovine joined forces, such as Snoop Dogg and Eminem.
The competition was stiff as the category was filled with compelling films such as One More Time With Feeling, Two Trains Runnin', Soundbreaking, and Long Strange Trip.
Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.com
Pearl Jam Named Record Store Day 2019 Ambassadors
Pearl Jam's Mike McCready says "if you love music," record stores are the place to find it
Record Store Day 2019 will arrive on April 13 and this year's RSD Ambassadors are Pearl Jam. Past ambassadors include Dave Grohl, Metallica, Run The Jewels (Killer Mike and El-P), and 61st GRAMMY Awards winner for Best Rock Song St. Vincent.
McCready was also the 2018 recipient of MusiCares' Stevie Ray Vaughan Award.
The band was formed in 1990 by McCready, Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard, and Eddie Vedder, and they have played with drummer Matt Cameron since 2002. They have had five albums reach No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and four albums reach No. 2.
"Pearl Jam is honored to be Record Store Day's Ambassador for 2019. Independent record stores are hugely important to me," Pearl Jam's Mike McCready said in a statement publicizing the peak-vinyl event. "Support every independent record store that you can. They're really a good part of society. Know if you love music, this is the place to find it."
With a dozen GRAMMY nominations to date, Pearl Jam's sole win so far was at the 38th GRAMMY Awards for "Spin The Black Circle" for Best Hard Rock Performance.
Pearl Jam will be performing on March 3 in Tempe, Ariz. at the Innings festival, on June 15 in Florence, Italy at the Firenze Rocks Festival and at another festival in Barolo, Italy on June 17. On July 6 Pearl Jam will headline London's Wembley Stadium.
Portugal. The Man To Aida Cuevas: Backstage At The 2018 GRAMMYs
Also see James Fauntleroy, Reba McIntire, Latroit, and more after they stepped off the GRAMMY stage
What do artists do the moment they walk off the GRAMMY stage from presenting, accepting an award or performing? Now, you can find out.
Also see Best Pop Duo/Group Performance GRAMMY winners Portugal. The Man posing with their first career GRAMMY Award, Best Roots Gospel Album GRAMMY winner Reba McIntire right after she walked offstage, Best R&B Song GRAMMY winner James Fauntleroy, Best Remixed Recording GRAMMY winner Latroit, and many more, with these photos from backstage during the 60th GRAMMY Awards.