“Phone-free” zones at live shows are growing in popularity thanks to companies likeYondr who are giving performing artists options at their events.

“There was a large concern about the album being sort-of released via grainy video and leaked out online,” lead singer of The Lumineers Wesley Schultz told NPR.

Leaks of new and unreleased material online aren’t the only motivation for artists to team up with companies like Yondr in order to establish or encourage phone-free zones at concerts. Artists see it as an opportunity to help fans be more present and ‘in the moment’, something that’s increasingly harder to do with our collective screen habit.

The Yondr cases are given to fans upon arrival at the venue and keep phones locked away so long as the fans are in a designated “phone-free zone.” Fans are then able to keep the pouch, which unlocks as soon as they leave said zone. The Lumineers join a list of artists that include Zhu, Alicia Keys and comedians Louis C.K., Dave Chappelle and Hannibal Buress, who have all partnered with Yondr for special performances.

“If you can set it up so that people can’t get to their phones as easily or are deterred, people actually really welcome that,” Schultz said. “It’s just such a strong force of habit in our lives right now.”

New technologies that don’t even require a tangible product are now popping up, too – like the infrared patent recently granted to Apple that can temporarily and remotely disable smartphone cameras.

It’s a little hard to argue with Schultz’s point – which is reminiscent to Lane 8’s stance – regarding our phone habits as a society. Maybe it’s time we embrace some opportunities to bring more awareness to this habit, so we can truly savor those precious moments when we aren’t glued to our screens.

“Something tells me in a little while we’ll kinda look back and say, ‘We were a little out of control with our use of phones — we didn’t really know boundaries. We were sort of working it out.'”




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