Lock Screen: At These Music Shows, Phones Go In A Pouch And Don't Come Out : All Tech Considered The Lumineers are among many artists frustrated by people on their mobile devices during performances. Their singer explains why they're asking fans to lock up their phones with a new technology.
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Lock Screen: At These Music Shows, Phones Go In A Pouch And Don't Come Out

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Lock Screen: At These Music Shows, Phones Go In A Pouch And Don't Come Out

Lock Screen: At These Music Shows, Phones Go In A Pouch And Don't Come Out

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/483110284/484756647" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

You know, concerts are supposed to be a collective experience - the whole crowd holding up lighters, swaying during a love song.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

These days, it's smartphones people are holding.

GREENE: Sometimes using them like candles, but often for other reasons. And some people are fed up.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ADELE: Yeah, I want to tell that lady as well - can you stop filming me with a video camera? Because I'm really here in real life. You can enjoy it in real life.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

BEYONCE KNOWLES: Y'all got to put the camera phones down for one second and actually enjoy this moment.

GREENE: That was Adele and Beyonce calling out fans for using phones at their shows.

MONTAGNE: And they're not alone. Wesley Schultz of The Lumineers says he's had this problem for years.

WESLEY SCHULTZ: I think of it like, if we had that same attitude and you went to see "Hamilton," people would be totally up in arms about that. But for some reason, it's completely acceptable to do it at shows.

GREENE: Now, before The Lumineers' newest album, "Cleopatra," was released in April, they played a series of secret shows.

SCHULTZ: So there was a large concern about the album being sort of released via grainy video and leaked out online.

MONTAGNE: So they decided to work with a company that created a locking pouch for people to put their phones in during the shows.

GREENE: Audience members keep this pouch with them. And if they really need their phone, they go to an unlocking station. Wesley Schultz says it really seems to work.

SCHULTZ: If you can set it up so that people can't get to their phones as easily or are deterred, people actually really welcome that. It's just such a strong force of habit in our lives right now.

MONTAGNE: Though, not everyone has reacted positively.

SCHULTZ: Even at one of the shows, a guy brought in a knife with him - just he usually carries a knife, I guess - and he tried to stab through the case. And it's got steel, I think, woven into it. So he - his knife got stuck in the thing. And then when he had to leave, he had the embarrassing deal of having to tell the people that he tried to open it. And they had to pry his knife loose.

GREENE: You have to be kidding me. He was that desperate?

MONTAGNE: Well, there have been other solutions offered. Artists like Louis C.K. and Alicia Keys have cell-phone-free zones at their shows. Schultz hopes all this catches on.

SCHULTZ: Something tells me, you know, in a little while, we'll kind of look back and say, we were a little out of control with our - our use of phones. We didn't really know the boundaries. We were sort of working it out.

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