Screen Grabbed: New study on mobile phone use at concerts will depress the shit out of you


It’s long been said that holding up the mobile phone at a concert is the modern-day equivalent of flashing the devil horns. But now that phones are capable of much more than simple picture-taking, people’s devices are starting to really interfere with the actual show experience.

Last month, San Francisco-based ticket distribution company Ticketfly enlisted Harris Poll for a survey to determine how (and how often) people are using their smart phones at concerts. The online survey pulled information from more than 2,000 concert-going adults aged 18 and older, “among which 1,335 are smartphone owners and 1,156 are smartphone owners who attend live events.”

The results, as you’d imagine, are depressing.


Perhaps the biggest takeaway: Nearly one-third — 31 percent — of adults between the ages of 18 and 34 admitted to using their phones for at least half of the show or longer. But wait, it gets better (worse?): “In the Northeast, 5% of respondents reported that they are on their mobile devices the entire time they’re at a live event.”

Taking a photo to post on social media (the survey looks at that, as well) is one thing; spending the entirety of a concert on your smartphone is another. The survey doesn’t specify which cities comprise this “Northeast” region, but surely Boston and New York had a lot to do with the results. Tough crowds around here.

What’s also of note is that 70 percent of smartphone owners in that 18 to 34 demo have used their phone as an event ticket, and 66 percent of smartphone owners use their phones to buy food, beverages, or merchandise at concerts. Ticketfly reveals that 35 percent of tickets sold by the company “are purchased on mobile devices — a 40 percent increase from 2013 to 2014 — and 45 percent of Ticketfly’s traffic comes from smartphones.”


Here’s more:


Thirty-one percent of 18-34 year olds are using their phones during half of an event or longer.

Forty percent of female smartphone owners 18-34 that attend live events say they use their phones to take pictures at events, compared to only 24 percent of males their age.


Females in the 18-34 age range are also more likely than their male counterparts to share their experiences via social media apps during the event (35 percent vs. 22 percent, respectively).

Seventy percent of smartphone owners age 18-34 who attend live events are interested in using their phone as their ticket to enter an event.

Two thirds (66 percent) of smartphone owners age 18-34 who attend live events are interested in using their phone to pay for food, beverages and merchandise.

A few years ago, The Cult’s Ian Astbury’s spoke to us about his feelings on mobile phone use at concerts, catch up on that here.