Recording Concerts: Cool or Corrupt?

Millions of people attend concerts around the world each year and many videos can be found online, but that brings the ethics of recording concerts into question.


There is much debate as to whether or not one should record a concert. On one hand, one can relive the experience afterwards but on the other, recording a concert can be considered copyright infringement.

One of the most exciting feelings for music fans of any genre is to see their favorite band or artist live in concert. Tickets to these events can range anywhere from dirt cheap to astronomically large prices. In 2007, Led Zeppelin played a one-off reunion show at the O2 Arena in London, England. One ticket to this “once in a lifetime opportunity” was sold at $14,700 according to To put that price into perspective, a semester of college at the upper majority of public universities for in-state students costs around $9,650.

The price of seeing most bands in concert ranges from around $10 to $50 per ticket, with some massive bands charging up to $300 per ticket. This does not include ticket fees, which can quickly hike costs up. With this being said, why would someone go see a concert in person when they can watch specific songs or full setlists from live shows on sites like YouTube.

Searching the word ‘concert’ on YouTube yields about 84,400,000 results. Recording and posting a concert can technically be considered copyright infringement but some bands encourage it. Nine Inch Nails have stated that they encourage people to record and post video from their shows.

“I love watching live shows online,” senior Jake Emer said. “I think there is nothing better than the feeling of being at a concert and videos allow me to feel that. However, I have never recorded concert because I’m too busy having a good time.”

Concerts have an atmosphere that is extremely unique. Most concert venues are built to give the best sounding shows possible alongside the experience that they give. Whether it be sitting in a balcony or deep in the heart of the pit, bouncing and moving around with hundreds of other people, the experience of actually being at a concert is ludicrously better than just seeing a video.

“I think that people shouldn’t be allowed to record concerts,” senior Desi Davis said. “I hate when I go to a concert and my view is blocked by someone holding up their phones or even worse, an iPad or tablet.”

Many artists have come out publicly against the piracy of their shows. In April 2017, Chance the Rapper held a secret concert in Chicago for the top .001% of his SoundCloud listeners in response to ticket scalpers and resale sites making money off of his fame. YouTube has been striking down and demonetizing channels who have made money off of bootleg versions of live shows.

The best advice for anyone going to a concert would be to just have a great time. Whether that be by putting down the phone and going all out or recording the show and reliving it later, having fun is the most important part.