Prince Joins Increasing Number of Artists Banning Photography at their Concerts


It’s become a pattern with musicians lately. In an attempt to force people to actually experience the concert they’re attending, many musicians are banning photography at their shows outright. In the past, we shared messages put up by the bands She & Him, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs and The Savages, all of whom are kindly asking concert goers to put away their darn cell phones.

The latest musician to join in is Prince, who posted a sign titled “Purple Rules” at a recent surprise show in New York City, forbidding photography, videography and even cell phones in general.

The Gothamist‘s Ben Yakas attended the surprise show at the City Winery, and says that before they even got in the door, attendees were greeted by employee after employee explaining the “Purple Rules” to them. And if that wasn’t enough, there was the sign:

***No VIDEO recording
***No Cell Phones

These rules will be strictly enforced and violators will be asked to access another experience.

Of course that didn’t stop everyone. At least a few Instagram videos made it online:

The risk wasn’t without its consequences though. As Yakas explains, “the cell phone gestapo” wasn’t playing around. “I watched as they dragged away multiple people who held their phones up just a second too long trying to capture Prince’s essence or whatever.” writes Yakas. “People had their phones snatched from them in mid-air, and if they argued, they were escorted out of the building in a very non-funky manner.”

Although some would agree that smartphones have become something of a nuisance at concerts, and kicking people out for breaking a rule is understandable, we’re not sure how wise it is to start grabbing phones out of people’s hands.

Whatever the case, the strict rules and harsh enforcement still couldn’t keep people from pulling out their phones and Instagramming. In the end, concert goers were still willing to risk the consequences for that perfect (or not so perfect) shot.

(via PopPhoto)

Image credit: Prince! by Scott Penner

  • D

    It is terrifically unwise to go around taking cellphones from people, in that it’s flat-out illegal. The only thing they can legally do is kick you out.

  • anonfreepress

    This is just like the TSA demanding see-through purses, etc- The answer is simple- a 1 year boycott of all venues. Sure- you don’t want to miss that NFL game, or hockey or baseball, or concert- but when you hit them where it hurts- their balance sheet- they will realize the customer is always right- and civil liberties will be restored.

  • Hugh J

    I wonder how many artists from the past three decades, now that they’re passe, lament the strict rules they had in place now that the artists that were more lax have a new life through ‘You-Tube’ via bootleg videos and recordings.

  • Mike Keller

    I have photos from dozens of concerts from 1974 to 1980. The first CS&N reunion concert was the first one where I saw “no cameras” signs, but I managed to get one in anyway (and I had front row seats). The first The Who farewell concert was the first one I attended where they started confiscating cameras (they gave claim checks, but I saw them dropping SLRs into a big bin, one guy showed how they scratched his lens). Nobody worried about cameras at festival seating concerts way back when, it was only after they started putting people back into seats and charging outrageous ticket prices that photography became a problem. The joke is that the one merch item bands don’t sell at their concerts are PHOTOS of the band, the one thing that obviously EVERYBODY wants to take home.

    Let’s don’t forget that plenty of bands DON’T object to photography or even taping at their shows, but that’s because they still think the audience is part of “the experience.” I bet there’s no dancing at a Prince concert either.

  • Jack

    You can’t be arrested for a breach of contract, clownshoe.

    Internet lawyers are the worst.

  • Brad Trent

    Puck Frince!!!

  • Murdo Morrison

    There’s nothing wrong with the usual “press pass, first three songs, no flash” rules. I’m sick of coming out of the pit having done my thing and not getting to see the show properly for some idiot with their phone in front of my face. Watch the gig, have great memories not some crappy Mp4

  • Stephanie Choice-Farkasdi

    Seriously, dude! Where the hell have you been! Prince has been one of the biggest stars EVER! The name change was a brilliant tactic on his lawyer’s part (Londell McMillan) to get out of his contract with Warner Bros who was STEALING from him! They didn’t want to give him the rights to his OWN music that HE created and which music companies have been stealing and profiting from black people for DECADES! imagine creating something only to have it stolen from you and someone else profits! Know what the hell you’re talking about before you go spewing BS out of your mouth!

  • cookie

    What century are you living in?? Prince is a huge international star. It is rude and annoying to go to a live show just to see all these mini screens between you and the stage. Why would you want to pay to watch a “live” concert through a device? Why did you even go? To “post” that you were there? It must suck as the artist now playing to phones instead of seeing fans faces enjoying the moment and taking it in through their eyes, ears and senses.