After the COVID-19 pandemic caused the cancellation of many tours, artists were eager to get back onstage. Alongside this came a surge in concerts and shows, but also the realization of how social media has the potential to change concert etiquette. 

In the age of TikTok, Instagram and Twitter, it seems that concerts might be more about the competition for the artists’ attention than listening to live music. 

When Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour began, I anticipated watching videos of her performance and seeing her setlist. Naturally, my social media was overrun with this content. So, it didn’t take long for me to also see videos of fans critiquing people’s concert etiquette. 

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Some pointed out that they were being laughed at or made fun of while singing along, and others remarked that some fans’ screaming drowned out Swift herself. 

However, this is not necessarily a problem exclusive to Swift’s shows. Questionable fan behavior at other popular shows has also been criticized.

Harry Styles had Skittles thrown at him during a concert in Los Angeles, while some Phoebe Bridgers fans were injured in the crowd at her Toronto show. Steve Lacy also cut his New Orleans show short and smashed a disposable camera after a fan threw it at him onstage. 

Fan behavior has become dangerous, all with the intent of getting attention from their favorite artist. 

I completely understand paying for a performance and wanting to make the most of that experience. However, it’s important to recognize that a fan having a great experience at a concert shouldn’t come at the expense of others. 

Social media has changed the way we go to concerts and created new standards for fans seeking recognition. 

People become entrenched with filming, just to get the next viral video or photo, and this doesn’t go unnoticed by artists either. 

Mitski took to Twitter last year, saying, “Sometimes, when I see people filming entire songs or whole sets, it makes me feel as though we are not here together.”

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Going to a concert can be amazing, but not if people are taken out of the experience because of social media. Obviously, there are moments that everyone wants to remember. 

Filming key moments is an expectation, but if the whole concert time is spent filming, it defeats the purpose of going in the first place. We pay for tickets to see our favorite songs being performed live while we are there to watch. 

There needs to be a certain level of respect for both the artist and the people around you when going to shows. Otherwise, the event will be unenjoyable for everyone. 

As fan behavior has become increasingly worse, it’s hard to tell if people will prioritize everyone’s collective experience over wanting to get the artists’ attention. 

I think it’s just important to remember that many of the people at a show likely love the music as much as you, and want to experience it live as well. A collective love of music should be bringing people together, not creating competition between fans. 

Ultimately, it comes down to a balance of trying to remember important moments while still upholding a positive shared experience for everyone.