How Taking Photos Increases Enjoyment of Concerts

We all see it every time that we are at a concert, a majority of the crowd with their cell phones in the air taking pictures or recording the performance.  In many of my Libro Musica posts you will find photos of fans taking photos since this is such a ubiquitous moment.  Many performers deride their fans for using cameras believing that it takes away from the concert experience.   Many artists like Prince, Rachelle Ferrell, Alicia Keys and Beyonce are notorious for having security work to prevent fans from taking photos and videos.  Artists say that it’s distracting for them, fans don’t really enjoy the concert when taking photos or just don’t want to have bootleg recordings of their music and photos taken.

I have never understood why artists don’t want the grassroots support of fans as they share their love for an artist with friends and family on social media.  The Grateful Dead’s rise to fame is often attributed to their willingness to have fans take pictures and recordings just so they can give the band free publicity.  Deadheads are still some of the most loyal fans on the planet.

The question of whether fans actually enjoy a concert when viewing it through the lens of a camera is one that the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology worked to answer.  The study entitled “How Taking Photos Increases Enjoyment of Experiences”

Experiences are vital to the lives and well-being of people; hence, understanding the factors that amplify or dampen enjoyment of experiences is important. One such factor is photo-taking, which has gone unexamined by prior research even as it has become ubiquitous

The study’s researchers found that people at a simulated concert who took photos ranked their level of enjoyment higher than people who simply observed.  The study found that people are, in fact, more engaged when they take photos and therefore, more satisfied, because increased engagement in an experience “has been shown to boost feelings of joy.”

While taking photos during an experience adds another activity, unlike traditional dual-task situations that divide attention, capturing experiences with photos actually focuses attention onto the experience, particularly on aspects of the experience worth capturing. As a result, photo-taking leads people to become more engaged with the experience

So hold those cell phone cameras high and enjoy the music, lyrics and words at your next concert!


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