Cameras Welcome

The days of camera confiscation at concerts are waning as bands and venues are coming to grips with the fact that nearly every fan owns a camera phone.

Some acts have gone as far as deciding that if they can’t beat fans, they should join them and also permit point-and-shoot cameras at their performances.

Take Nine Inch Nails for example.

The band’s creative director, Rob Sheridan, recently explained NIN’s encouragement of an open camera policy to CNET.

“It’s an acknowledgement of the way technology is changing, and how much digital cameras have become a part of our lives,” Sheridan told CNET. “Now that everyone has video and still cameras in their phones, and pocket digital cameras take HD video and great quality pictures, not only is it impossible to keep cameras out of shows, but it’s fighting an increasingly uphill battle against what is now a cultural norm: people freely documenting their lives and the things they do to share it with friends and family.”

As point-and-shoot camera technology continues to advance, some professional photographers who typically have the first three songs to shoot from the pit before being removed from a show have called foul on the tolerance of open camera policies.

“I don’t think they’re aware of some of [what’s possible] with new devices,” Bob Carey, president of the National Press Photographers Association, told CNET. “I don’t think they’ve figured out the nuances of what point-and-shoots can do with photos and video.”

Still, even with a wealth of amateur photos flooding the Internet after some shows, Sheridan said it hasn’t hurt NIN’s bottom line.

“Despite the fact that our fans take thousands and thousands of their own photos at each NIN show with whatever camera they’d like, we still sell prints of live photos taken by me through a Web site called,” he said.

“This is presumably the type of thing that other acts would be trying to ‘protect’ by limiting photography at shows, but we’ve found that fans are still eager to purchase reasonably priced professional prints, often taken at angles or distances that only someone working for the band would have access to.”