Stop, or my lawyer will shoot!

I’ve got a pretty busy summer ahead of me. Races, concerts, vacations, you name it. I’m not spending this summer on my rear end! That said, I’m a photo nerd. I shoot anything and everything whenever I can.

I don’t get why performers still have rules about photography. I can understand flash photography, as in a small venue I’m sure it can be pretty damned distracting. However, in an age where everyone has at least a camera in their cellphone – I cannot imagine why there’d be such a ludicrous restriction anywhere.

Contracts maybe? Creative control? Perhaps the artists are self conscious, they only want shots from their right side and should a really good picture of their left site appear on the Internet – they’ll drink themselves into a depression and ruin their career. Maybe they’ve got a contracted photographer, they only want that guaranteed level of photography – none else.

Still, the music industry is all but collapsing in on itself these days. Punishing the fans for being – fans, and doing whatever is necessary to turn a profit. Go to any small venue with local bands or others that haven’t made it big yet – they couldn’t care less about photography.

The old model of the big sell, the arena artist, it’s all but over. New strategies are required, a new model is required, and personally I think the best way for artists and fans to support each other is at the grass-roots level.

Sure, no flash photography, but if you want to take a picture – fine. Share it with your friends, spread the word. It doesn’t matter what the quality is, I don’t care if you’re a pop princess or an aging hard rocker. I still remember the days where a 5 second song clip or a glimpse of my favorite artist in a grainy photo were keepsakes that only fed into my need to experience all that could be.

Real fans WILL PAY for their artists merchandise. Bootlegs and fan photography are all part of the game. Limiting that simply limits your fans, and when you limit your fans – they look for options without limits… or just plain give up on the artist.

Case in point – Metallica. Personally, I haven’t had any major interest in their music since 1991. Sure, I’ve got copies of Load and Reload, which are good efforts but not nearly redeeming enough to absolve them for the Napster fiasco or St.Anger. That’s right, spit on the fans that gave you your success, and then release an album so bad that nobody would pirate it.

Be open with your fans, and their wallets will be open to you. Fame is earned, once you have it – don’t forget how you earned it.

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