A singer looking out in the audience and seeing a sea of phones can mean that their fans want to commemorate the night. It can also be disruptive and distracting. So said Japanese-American singer Mitski in a tweet last week. In a now deleted series of tweets, the singer wrote: “When I’m on stage and look to you but you are gazing into a screen, it makes me feel as though those of us on stage are being taken from and consumed as content, instead of getting to share a moment with you.”
She is not the first singer to express contempt at the presence of cell phones. Bob Dylan famously doesn’t allow phone during his concerts. Alicia Keys makes audiences use Yondr pouches, which are lockable sacks that guests are made to put their phones into when they enter the concert venue. Bands Guns N Rose and the Lumineers and comedians Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle have a similar rule in place.
And so Mitski is not the first performer to be frustrated with cell phones. And yet, she received backlash from fans on Twitter who stated their attention issues required them to tape concerts. Many of her fans, however, pointed out how reasonable her frustration is.
by no means an original take but some of the responses to the mitski phone tweet really highlighting how fandom trains ppl to think of artists as products they have a right to consume, and not human beings they’re in communion with
— mia hughes (@AAAAAAAGGGHHHHH) February 25, 2022
Other fans found the humor in the situation.
Just walked into a Mitski concert and this was at the door? pic.twitter.com/YpUNHvQnZ1
— lovesick girl (@fiImenjoyer) February 27, 2022
if i was mitski i would just tweet "im banning phones in my concerts" and then log out
— fake industry plantita (@mitsukileaks) February 25, 2022
Mitski is currently on the North American leg of her tour in support of her newest album Laurel Hell. At the moment, fans are still allowed to take videos of her performances. But no one would blame her if she does an Alicia Keys and restricts phones from her tour.