With the advent of new technology, smartphones, and social media, fans can now record their favorite celebrities’ live performances and save it so they can watch it again later. Some even upload it to popular video-sharing sites such as YouTube so they can share it with friends who were not present at the show. Although this may be a good thing for some people, this practice has become a serious problem for performers like comedian Dave Chappelle.
Sharing his videos online may help him boost his followers, but if his videos get too much exposure, people might lose interest in seeing him perform live.
To solve this problem, Chappelle has reportedly commissioned Yondr, a San Francisco-based startup company that creates lockable pouches, to create a phone case that will lock up an audience’s cell phones. The concept of locking up an audience member’s cell phone in high-tech compartments might be a good way to discourage people from leaking performances prematurely to the public.
Dave Chappelle is putting audience members in a high-tech “smartphone jail” https://t.co/IVf8xNlqov
— Quartz (@qz) December 5, 2015
This is how the “cell phone jail” works: A staff member will provide a Yondr cell phone pouch to everyone who comes to see his 13 sold-out shows at Thalia Hall. The ticket holders will have to put their phones in the gray pouch and seal it. Once they enter the venue, the case automatically locks. If they want to use their phone, they can leave the “no cell phone area” and walk through special sensors and the pouch will automatically unlock. They can use their phone once outside the theater, thereby preventing the audience from taping the comedian’s show.
— SlashGear (@slashgear) December 4, 2015
Prohibiting the use of cell phones in live shows will also prevent other attendees from getting distracted by people who hold up their phones in the air to get a good shot of the performance.
An uploaded video of Chappelle’s routine often garners millions of views on YouTube, but unfortunately, the comedian does not earn any money from it.
“It’s a huge thing for Chappelle, like all comedians: how to make the show phone-free,” Yondr founder Graham Dugoni told the Hollywood Reporter, seeing that people love to take videos and pictures of events they attend.
Educators who are looking to keep their students from distractions during discussions could also benefit from this technology. The “cell phone jail” could also be useful in important business meetings where people are expected to focus on the important matters.
Locking up people’s mobile phones during concerts or shows may be a good idea, but there are several challenges that come with this technology. For example, once Chappelle and Yondr have the phones locked up in pouches, how do they make sure that people will not steal their high-tech lockable pouches? How can they ensure that every person who claims that they do not have their phones on them are telling the truth?
Regardless of the challenges, for performers like Dave Chappelle, what’s important is that their material is protected from people who may overexpose it online. However, this could be a greater challenge in concert venues, which hold thousands of attendees and where it would be harder to monitor the audience’s compliance of the rules.
— OddPad.com (@oddpad) May 18, 2015
Ensuring that everyone is observing the rules set forth by the organizers can be a tough task, but the system has reportedly been set up at certain venues on the west coast. Besides Dave Chappelle, comedian Hannibal Buress has also used Yondr cell phone pouches at one of his shows in California.
Dave Chappelle is set to perform at Thalia Hall, which has a capacity of 800 seats. According to Yondr, their company can provide lockable pouches for a 20,000-seat venue.
[Photo by Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images]