Mobile Phone back channel at concerts

March 22, 2010 at 10:03 pm (art, internet, music) (, , , , , , , , , )

There have been a couple of occasions recently where I’ve had a difference highlighted to me between the times when I used to perform in concerts at school and kids performing in concerts today.  The difference I am talking about here is the mobile phone.

I’ve seen presentations where people are using social media as a back channel, for example using twitter to provide live feedback or discussion to presenters.  Its quite a different style of presenting, giving the presenter a chance to tailor their presentation to the audience … or giving the audience a chance to gang up on the presenter if things don’t go well!

However, I’ve now started to see times when what could be considered a more traditional concert is augmented by the use of (silent of course) mobile phones.  In the first instance, daughter was performing, and we happened to have the misfortune of having the guy with the biggest hair in the group sitting in front of her, right between us!  So a quick text later, and daughter shifts her chair on stage and all is good (yes, the phone was in her pocket whilst on stage).

In the second instance, I was watching another performance in an informal setting, and could see a number of people sending texts to each other.  How good would it be to have an official mobile-driven back channel at a classical concert, where performance notes could be published and the audience could engage in discussion about the music.  Sort of like a live version of the teletext programme notes that accompany performances on BBC 3 (or 4?), but with an added chat part too.

You see a little of this going on in virtual worlds.  There are many instances of ‘live’ performances in the virtual world of Second Life for example, and during the concert, where avatars are dancing, sitting or standing ‘watching’ a performance, with the music streamed to their owner’s PCs, there is usually quite a bit of chatter.  Both private chat as in instant messaging, but also group public chat going on. Its quiet, it doesn’t interfere with the music and it enhances the performances by providing a live context to what is going on.  There are lots of other uses for back channels in virtual world events too.

It would be really interesting to see if this kind of thing will start happening in real, more traditional, live concerts.  There have been one or two ‘dipping of toes’ into this area already.  The ENO for example, has Facebook, Twitter and MySpace.  However, I’m not aware that social media back channels have started to appear at concerts and performances yet (if you know otherwise, do send me a reference or link).

(Maybe the 21st century equivalent of John Cage’s 4’33” would be a large screen showing a twitter feed).

I think that, in general terms,  when it starts happening, it would be a good thing.


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August 7, 2009 at 9:00 pm (internet) (, , , )

Well, there is an online social network for the deceased, one for dogs (welcome to, so why not a social network for small rodents … Mice!

Ok, so perhaps it isn’t quite as it seems, but thats a shame, I quite liked

Now, all I need is some kind of phonetic search, so I can find ‘anything else rhyming with my’ space … (FlySpacePieSpace? DieSpace? CrySpace?).

How about SpaceBook


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“Let the drums speak …”

September 19, 2008 at 9:23 pm (interesting, music) (, , , , , , )

Just discovered this Italian guy, Andrea Vadrucci, on a drumming related blog (don’t ask) … and he is just amazing. He plays kit, but plays along to a rather bizaar choice of music … but, well, I’m no percussionist, but this guy is pretty damn good. His playing is really tight, even when drumming along to something like William Tell or the Barber of Seville (don’t know that you’d want him in your orchestra though).

One of the most curious though, has to be him playing along with the in-game music from Super Mario Bros 2. There are some great moments in this video (honest) – and a really good example of how musical this guy is (around 3 minutes in).

Anyway, he has a web site and myspace page. Very entertaining.


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Starting a web journal

April 20, 2007 at 8:53 pm (internet) (, , , )

Decided to start my web journal as an experiment to see if I can be bothered to keep maintaining it or not, and see if anyone is actually interested. How many other blogs start of like this I wonder?

I also have a music blog over at MySpace, so if you are curious about what music I’m interested in and listening to, see me there.


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