There are a lot restrictions and rules in photography business but there is one that annoys me most. It’s called First 3 songs rule.
Why First 3 songs only?
If you ever shot concert outside the pub I’m sure you know about it but for those who don’t here’s a little explanation. When you get your press pass for shooting concert in photo pit they will tell you first 3 songs and no flash please. That means that security will escort you out of photo pit after first 3 songs and that’s it, no more shooting. You have to get out of the venue, leave your equipment somewhere and then in most cases you can get back in with your press pass to watch the show.
I’ve been shooting for over a decade and I never get the answer what’s with that rule.
Most of photographers are used to it and they don’t care about it or don’t want to get in conflict with event organizers or their agencies. But not me, I just want to dig that out. I want to understand.
I understand that in some smaller venues like clubs bunch of photographers in photo pit can be disturbing element between bands and fans but in arenas, stadiums, bigger halls, there is a bigger space between and security is already there so I really don’t see why you want to get rid of us after 3 songs. If we take photos of complete show there is going to be a lot more good photos all over media, not just same photos in all magazines and portals etc.
Problem can be during the shooting of classical music concert. Been there, done that. It’s hard and annoying for everyone. Nobody wants to be distracted by photographers walking around shooting like crazy. But on “normal” concerts…come on.
There is some historic explanation for this rule and it goes back to 80’s and Bruce Springsteen and how there was 50 wannabe photographers in photo pit and they were flashing him in face and it was annoying bla bla. Let’s say this is true. But why the fuck should we apply this rule almost 40 years after when the photography advanced so much, when we don’t need flashes to shoot concert, when there is no 50 people in the pit?
We are living in digital age and every person who bought ticket has a camera in pocket and they will make some photos or even record complete concert and the could even play it live on Facebook or whatever, so why limit the good quality photos the photographers can make?
When I had AAA Photo Pass I always had bunch of great photos, different angles, fans, portraits, wide angles, stage shots… and that is how you really cover the show. Off course I don’t expect that AAA is allowed to everyone but shooting complete show is something that brings benefits to all – the photographers, promoters, venues and bands.
Maybe I am missing something, maybe there is a perfect reason for 3 songs rule but I never got the congruous answer to it and I asked event organizers, agencies, editors, photographers… there is no unique answer to my question. Closest and most honest answer I got was we don’t want to ask bands management anything because we can risk getting on the black list which means no press pass and no payed ads on our web.
So I decide to do it myself again. I’ve sent mail with content similar to this post to biggest agencies, bands, venues…and guess what – not a single answer.
Contracts, bloody contracts
Probably even worse thing then the stupid First 3 songs rule is the contracts. People are assholes, nobody respect other people’s job just their own. Funny thing is the more money they have more they think you worth less and they worth more. You can see that in the contracts I mentioned. Some agencies, organizers, managers, bands…whatever thinks photographer’s job is worthless so they want you to sign the contract that basically says you gave them your photos to do whatever they like with them and you as author of them don’t any rights. You can only publish these photos in the media you are working for and only next day or something like that. After that forget about them. And them on the other hand can make I don’t know…CD cover, banners, print it on shirts and off course make money.
Here’s one example
All rights (including all copyrights) in and to the Photographs shall be owned by “Company”, we must send and provide (if asked) photos for company and author’s personal, commercial or any other use.
Pretty sweet, right?
Off course not every contract is the same, but it is never on the photographer side. And here in Croatia we don’t even know if we’ll have to sign the contracts, and never get the copy of them. Oh yeah, they are in English so if you’re not fluent you maybe don’t know what you are signing.
But these days you should be happy if you just lose rights to your photos, Taylor Swift had some stuff in contract that I’m not sure were even legal, like confiscating or destroying equipment (?!) or the Beyonce banning all pro photographers. Ariana Grande is one of those who only allow taking photos of her I don’t know left or right side.
But there are some smart people in the Europe’s north, they’re called Norwegians. They just said, OK that’s enough, who the f.. do you think you are? We are not signing any contracts. And that’s it. No contracts for Norwegians. And that’s the way to do it. If you want to ban us, we will ban you so think about it.
For me shooting concerts is one of the best things to do with my camera. Combining the love for music and photography, standing in front row next to the people that I admire is really something amazing, but not under every condition management and greedy ungrateful people can think of.