Entertainers have found a way to regulate irritating cell phone usage at shows and it involves making fans carry their phones in a huge pouch.

The point of snapping pictures and videos at concerts, we all know, is to brag capture the moment and the memory of seeing your favorite artist in real life, but there are those among us who abuse this power. And so, artists like Adele have been compelled to scold fans for aggressive recording.

Alicia Keys is the latest to use Yondr—a cell phone case that automatically locks when you enter the performance space—during a recent concert at the Highline Ballroom in New York. For Keys, the main purpose was to prevent fans from recording new music she premiered at the show.

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While the case is, naturally, divisive among fans, entertainers obviously love it. Guns N’ Roses used the pouch method this year at a surprise reunion show. As The Washington Post explains:

The pouch might not look like the latest techno-bling out of Silicon Valley, but it’s become the go-to tool for a slew of artists — including Dave Chappelle, the Lumineers and Louis C.K. — trying to reclaim their live performances without going all Adele on their fans.

Graham Dugoni, 29, launched Yondr in 2014 and landed famous early-adopter clients, including Hannibal Buress and ZHU.

The Post notes that “the pouch has also been used for regular shows by those tired of seeing every note and punch-line churned into a series of blurry, streamable insta-clips”:

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Dugoni says the pouch serves two purposes. The artist can try out new material without worrying about it being leaked. Fans will also realize that they actually enjoy a show more without constantly filming, texting and Tweeting.

“If you haven’t been to a phone-free show, you just don’t know what you’re missing,” he says. “There’s something about living in real life that can’t be replicated.”

Artists have experimented with other methods before. For example, as a music writer, I’ve attended media-only album listening sessions where security puts everyone’s phones into a Zip-Loc bag to be retrieved after the event. Separation anxiety is real.

Realistically, this pouch feels impractical for almost any major show and makes more sense for exclusive venues or comedy gigs. However annoying they may be, taking cell phones away entirely is just ancient thinking.

A take from a 53-year-old fan outside the Keys concert: “It’s annoying when people have their phones out, lights blaring. They can’t stop texting. It’s disrespectful, and I like Alicia Keys. I don’t need to put out her stuff early. They should do this in more places.”

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Another take from a 24-year-old: “In this day and age, my phone is how I keep my memory. Chris Brown. Jason Derulo. I have their footage on my phone. If you don’t want your music heard, then don’t perform it.” Yes, very important to keep the memory of Jason Derulo...


Image via Getty