Many Entertainers Insisting On Mandatory Phone ‘Lockdown’ During Performances

Much like many other entertainers, comedian Dave Chappelle has discovered that the technology of Yondr is a sweet addition to his shows. Fans are required to place cellphones into Yondr’s lockable pouches prior to entering a show. A disk mechanism unlocks the pouch on the way out. The pouch is kept with the fans during the performance while it remains locked.

Chappelle voiced his annoyance at the fact that prior to using Yondr at his shows, fans seemed more interested in getting the perfect picture, or on videoing the performance.

“I know my show is protected, and it empowers me to be more honest and open with the audience,” Mr. Chappelle said by email.

It only took one trial of the technology at his show for Chappelle to be sold, and now he insists on Yondr for each set. Other entertainers to begin utilizing Yondr at shows include Alicia Keys, Guns N’ Roses, Maxwell, and Donald Glover. Some simply use it for special listening parties, one-off shows or festivals, while others, like Chappelle, insist on it being used for every show of the tour.

The typical message that is often communicated at the beginning of the show, that cellphones are not permitted, proves not to be enough seeing as fans are often rebellious during an exciting performance.

Founder of Yondr, Graham Dugoni, states that a phone-free event “is a very different experience.”

Manager of Glover, Chad Taylor shares the downside to phones being allowed.

“It’s hard to meet people in the room when you’re busy texting friends who aren’t there. It’s hard to enjoy a concert experience when you’re looking at it through an iPhone camera and trying to get the best shot.”

Although big acts like Guns N’ Roses and Dave Chapelle can get away with asking fans to put their phones aside for the performance, as the New York Times notes, many lesser-known bands rely on the posting of fan photos and videos for show promotion.

A music fan by the name of Steve Dintino, out of Philadelphia, admits to videotaping every concert he attends. He began filming concerts after attending his first Frank Sinatra concert in 1994 in Atlantic City.

“If there were no cellphones, and you couldn’t capture any video, it would be disappointing. I try to capture every concert that I go to in some capacity.”

Another hardcore music fan out of Manhattan, Chris Kooluris, shares that being able to watch musical performances online that are uploaded by those who video them with phones at the show, “is incredible.” The NY Times his clever solution to the concert cellphone issue which will still allow fans at home to get a sneak peek at the performances.

“‘I stayed up all night long looking for periscope feeds from the Guns N’ Roses show in L.A.,’ Mr. Kooluris said. But when attending live shows, Mr. Kooluris said he prefers to see fewer cellphones. To resolve this issue, he suggests that bands allow one person to videotape the show and then give ticketholders access to the feed afterward.”

Yondr isn’t just for concerts either. The company also has been renting devices to schools, restaurants, and wedding venues as well as to movie studios for events. It’s used not only in the United States, but also abroad.

Dugoni is 29-year-old and was born in Portland, Oregon. His father is a physician and his mother is a homemaker. Following graduation from Duke University with a B.A. in political science, he began working teaching English in Vietnam and played soccer in Norway in 2010. He worked at an investment advisory firm in Portland and Atlanta, then joined a virtual currency start-up, which failed, when in San Francisco in 2013.

He became increasingly annoyed with how attached people were to their phones, so set out to build a prototype for Yondr in 2014. Six months later and Yondr was in existence.

[Featured Image by Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for Bombay Sapphire Gin]