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Last week, I went to see Dita Von Teese perform at the W San Francisco for a "Rock the Empire" tour to celebrate the opening of W Beijing-Chang'an. Unlike most Dita performances, photography was permitted. Most of the attendees used that as a cue to pull out their phones and record the entire performance. Fortunately, I was standing behind that rare breed of person who brings an iPad to a club, so I was able to watch the act through her ginormous tablet screen.
I'm sure most of the snap-happy people at the show posted a photo to Instagram or or Twitter or Snapchat with a clever caption, ("Dita!"), to incite jealousy among their friends, but some of them may have been streaming the whole thing straight to the Internet. Because that's something that obnoxious people can do.
I later saw official photos of what I missed. Photo: Drew Altizer
For the last month, Meerkat has been the buzzy app that enabled anyone with a phone to broadcast video straight to Twitter. Our friends at The Verge described it as "the little app that's turning live video into a big deal again." Today, Twitter announced that it had acquired Periscope, its own live-streaming app, a month before Meerkat was even a big deal. The Verge reports that Periscope has a warm and fuzzy functionality, and is generally a fun app.
And it is fun. Fun for the person streaming, and perhaps the viewer; not so fun for the person directly behind the broadcaster.
Fashion shows. Concerts. Festivals. It's already bad enough when someone in front of you is Instagramming through the experience that you're trying to watch. But at least some people think twice about shooting video of something they know they'll never watch again. Caleb Garling at The Bold Italic recalls reaching for his phone at multiple shows, and stopping when he realized that he would never watch the video again. But with the instant gratification of live stream, some people may be less inclined to stop.
Whether you're heading to Coachella or BottleRock or Outside Lands this year, be prepared for more phones than ever, blocking your view. If you're lucky, you might see what you missed after the fact online. Or maybe it's best to simply give in and watch the concert that you paid to see through the iPhone filter of the person standing in front of you. No need to let a rude concertgoer ruin a perfectly good festival outfit, right?