To YouTube or not to YouTube – is that the question?

Was browsing through Facebook and came across this picture that a musician had posted on his page, with the comment:

“How true…People are paying to attend a concert only to show their friends (real and 01010101) they were there.”




First I was surprised that anyone would choose to look at it with such cynicism and negativity. Where did that come from?? I never thought of cameras at shows as some sort of self-boosting?!

I thought of it as a way to pay tribute to the artist or band you came to see. Because what you’re in fact doing, is you’re about to do PR for the band on stage and they don’t have to do anything – just do what they always do: play their music.

You want to keep the show as a memory, because now you CAN. Back in the day, you couldn’t. A video-camera was huge. Smuggling that into a concert arena took some serious skills.

I used to record some shows (just audio), because it was great listening to them afterwards, remembering the vibe at the gig, it was priceless.

And you shared with other fans, because what the hell – this is what we LIVE for!
Musicians live for PLAYING their music – the people in the crowd live for the other part of the rock’n’roll lifestyle, which is going through hell to get a ticket to a show (hello, Van-freaking-Halen), spend hard earned pay for tickets, travels, merch – all of that

If they get their camera up at a show to get a memory of it as a souvenir, how does that become something ugly all of a sudden?

If nobody did that, there would be no YouTube – and – newsflash all clueless musicians who think you don’t need the help of Youtube, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and all of that – you’re going to be forgotten in no time if people stop filming you – so, quit whining.

I’ve made it my thing to film every show I go to – pretty much. I see it as leaving a bit of history behind. Someday it’s going to be fun for people to watch, maybe even the bands will want to see it ten or twenty years from now. 

But frankly, I’m thinking in terms of PR. Plain and simple.

When Firewind played 2 new songs in Athens two weeks ago, I knew it would be of great interest to people all over the world. I went through HELL trying to keep my camera still while everybody around me was jumping – because I wanted it to be a fairly decent clip as it was most likely to be seen by many curious fans.
So, evidently, it’s not like people stopped having a good time at the shows – some choose to create a mosh pit and some choose to be spectators and share their experience in a different way.

I got the Firewind-video up there as soon as I could, because with a new album coming out, I knew it would be great FREE PR for the band. They don’t have to do shit. It has spread like wildfire all over the place, Russia, USA, England, all over Europe… You can never promote yourself better if you’re only going to do it yourself.

Historically the whole underground-movement with people sending tapes back and forth, live recordings, amateurish-bootlegs and godawful video-bootlegs from the old days when video cameras sucked – THAT’s was what kept many bands alive. In some cases it’s even what gave them their break to begin with.

So the more I think about it, the more it pisses me off that an artist bites the hand that feeds. Fans are doing this for a reason. And it’s not to show others where they’ve been. No band would have had a problem with fans buying their merchandise-crap to “show where they’ve been” – so why should videos or photos be the main problem?

Especially when the artists don’t usually have a problem tagging themselves in live-pics where they think they look good. Well, if you don’t want people to take pix or videos, don’t post them on your page either.

I’ve been this “documentary” paparazzi with some bands, filmed their every move. With Jon Oliva’s Pain for instance, I’m glad that I was. Some of those people are not with us anymore. Matt LaPorte died, as did producer Greg Marchak.  But they are very much alive in the videos, laughing, cracking jokes… I’m glad I have all that. You really keep that piece in time, save it for the future….

I honestly don’t get this anti-video movement. The only videos I dislike are the cellphone-videos with crappy audio. Other than that, you take it for what it is. I might be missing something here. Enlighten me, please.



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