Life Advice



Phone use at concert is not music to their ears

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: My husband and I have season tickets to our local symphony. Before the start of each concert, audience members are asked to silence all cellphones and to NOT record any part of the performance.

During the last two concerts we attended, we've sat behind several people who have whipped out phones and recorded the concert.

Last time, one couple, besides recording, had rather loud conversations and proceeded to take "selfies" (in the dark). We were not the only people disturbed by this.

I do know that recording the performance upsets the musicians. (And the loud talking/photography bother the audience!)

Amy, could you please give a rundown of a few concert-going rules, and explain why there should be no filming of (any) public performances?

-- Enjoying the Music


Dear Enjoying: Here is some very clear direction, lifted from the New York Philharmonic website ( "Audience members may take photographs before and after the concert, as well as during intermission and applause. Please note, however, that no photography or recording of any kind is permitted during the performance. Anyone seen using a camera, smartphone or other device for these activities will be asked to leave."

And here is a quote from an article published in "Billboard" Magazine:

"Federal law ... imposes civil penalties for the unauthorized recording of live performances or the transmission or distribution of such. This is true even if the bootlegging is not done for commercial gain. The statute provides that anyone who engages in these prohibited acts is potentially liable for money damages. A court may also impound applicable recordings."

Some popular performers are now requiring that audience members actually surrender their phones when entering a venue.


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