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Kendrick Lamar not banning smartphones from gigs, just pro photographers

By | Published on Tuesday 13 February 2018

Kendrick Lamar - Damn

You may have heard that Kendrick Lamar is banning photography of all kinds from his upcoming live shows. Not so, says his management. Grainy shaky photos taken on smartphones held in the air to obscure the view of everyone else are all fine. It’s those pesky professionals taking sharp shots you might actually want to look at that are the problem.

The Guardian reported last week that Lamar was attempting to stop anyone photographing his performances. This was, the newspaper claimed, “an attempt to protect his valuable ‘brand’ and ensure the appetite for tickets remains keen”.

However, this is not entirely correct, the rapper’s management – Top Dawg Entertainment – has said. It is just professional photographers with proper cameras who will not be allowed in, fans with smartphones are fine.

Official concert photographs will be available to media, according to Pitchfork, but only from Top Dawg itself, via its own photographers. This is an increasingly common practice, and has been employed by Beyonce since 2013, after photos her team felt were unflattering were posted by Buzzfeed earlier the same year.

Taylor Swift and The Stone Roses have also been criticised in the past for asking professional photographers who attended their shows to give up the rights in any images they took after their first publication.

Lots of artists have also banned fans from using smartphones to take photos and video of shows too, of course. Most recently, Jack White announced that fans would have to agree to have their phones locked away if they wanted to see him perform.