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Just in: Krystian Zimerman halts concert, quits reception, over illegal video

During the Ruhr piano festival last night at Essen, the Polish pianist spotted a member of the audience filming him on a smartphone. He stopped playing and asked the person to desist. Resuming the recital, he soon gave up, leaving the stage.

He returned after an interval, saying, ‘Apologies, I am now on Youtube’. He then played some Szymanowski pieces and left, refusing to return for encores, or to stay for the post-concert reception. ‘What happened tonight was theft,’ said the festival director, Franz Xaver Ohnesorg.



UPDATE: o what’s to be done about it? See here.

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  1. Thank you, Norman. There’s a report (in German) here:

    I do unterstand the attitude of Mr. Zimerman, though it’s a pity for 99% of the audience.

    However, there’s one point I don’t really get. reports Mr. Zimerman to have said that he has already lost record contracts because of Youtube. Is it really the case that record companies refrain from projects because of Youtube clips filmed with a mobile phone? With all due respect for Apple, Samsung & Co. – the quality of such clips is nothing compared to professional recordings.

    • Simon, I think that’s Spiegel hype.

      • Wouldn’t surprise me.

      • Michael Schaffer says:

        I agree the statement is a little over the top maybe – but how is that “Spiegel hype” if they simply report that that’s what he said during the concert? Other news agencies reported exactly the same.

    • sun hong rhie says:

      Zimerman seems to have had a format that he plays some pieces in a tour and records them at the end of the program. Perhaps he should record first and tour with it. After a concert, the audience can have their CD’s signed.

    • Zimerman recorded a DVD with Mozart, Beethoven, Ravel, and Gershwin. In an interview I read, he said he was very proud of this DVD and looking forward to it being released. You cannot find this DVD anywhere for sale. Some how the DVD itself got on the internet before it was released. You can find all the pieces by the composers I mentioned now on YouTube. Because of this it was not released for sale. I believe this is what he is referring to when he said YouTube destroys music. This can be very detrimental for young musicians who depend on all the money they can get when just starting out.

  2. Mark Beesley says:

    It always amazes me when I go to live events and see people effectively watching it through a screen – why bother going?

    The nature of a live music event is that it is temporary – it exists only in that instance. The artist can take risks and focus on reacting to the atmosphere and the audience. The audience is very much part of the performance.

    When a live performance is recorded it becomes in a way a different thing, the focus shifts to ensuring that the performance is fit for posterity. Artists react to this process in different ways, but it should always be under their control – they own the ‘copyright’ in any recording (unless it has been expressly assigned).

    Apart from that, there is nothing more annoying than sitting behind someone holding up a bright screen to distract and irritate you when you want to focus on the music!

    • Marilyn Crosbie says:

      This is somewhat of a recent issue and to me, as a photographer, it is a grey area. I believe that if cameras are not permitted (and that includes cell phones of all types) that should be made clear by the concert master at the beginning of the performance. I recently attended a concert given by our local symphony, and this is how they handled the problem. The audience members often don’t know that photographs/recordings are not permitted.

      • George Porter says:

        At concert venues I attend the prohibition of photography and recording is always made clear.

        Of course it is obvious anyway, to anyone with any wit.

      • Saul Davis says:

        They are never permitted, unless specifically stated. It is usually printed in the program. It is very hard to control audience members, even if you make an announcement. It falls upon the ushers to remain in the hall and police the audience, ejecting those who do not behave. But they rarely do.

    • In a theatrical performance, imagine how the lighting designer feels about it.

    • Mark Beesley is right about artists owning copyright in their performance; it works the same way for recordings issued commercially by record companies who own the copyright in the recordings that they have made and released.

      From recent personal experience, however, I can confirm that having copyright infringing items removed from YouTube that have been uploaded there without due permissions being sought and granted beforehand is not necessarily as onerous as it might seem; there’s a short form to complete and, unless the uploader formally submits a challenge to the claim for copyright infringement, YouTube will usually honour the copyright owner’s request to remove the item/s.

      Fair use policy still applied, however – and indeed so it should, in my view; when brief extracts from works are uploaded to YouTube with the copyright owners’ permissions, this can encourage sales of recordings, whereas when entire tracks or even entire CDs are uploaded there, it generally has the opposite effect.

      • “Fair use” does not require permission, but it must meet certain other criteria:

        • @ Jeffrey E. Salzberg:
          No, I know that fair use doesn’t require copyright owners’ permission but, as what might define it in any given instance is anyone’s guess unless and until referred to a court of law, simply seeking that permission first is a useful courtesy to follow.

          In my post to which you replied, incidentally, “applied” should have read “applies”; sorry.

          • “seeking that permission first is a useful courtesy to follow”

            Always. The fact that we’re not legally required to do it doesn’t relieve us of the ethical requirement.

        • In the case of living artists especially it is not “fair use” to assume authorisation to record and subsequently to broadcast without evidence of having sought and obtained express permission of artists, composers and publishers. How on earth would that be “fair”? It would not be “fair” in any other area of activity or business to assume you can help yourself to other people’s property without asking.

          • Well, no one has suggested that recording and broadcasting an entire piece would be fair use.

            As I said, “it must meet certain other criteria”. Those criteria include the fact that it cannot be the entire work, and the excerpt must be used for purposes that are critical, satirical, educational, etc.

            I posted a link to Stanford University’s “Fair Use” site, which covers the issue in depth.

  3. I share Krystian’s frustration as do many performers. A lot of my professional life is spent recording classical concerts professionally and legitimately: two London orchestral ones last week. When we work in some halls, without exaggeration we can see dozens and dozens of members of the audience using phones, pads, stills cameras and even camcorders sometimes. Have I ever seen anyone restrained from using them? Never yet. If they glugged a can of beer, ate a burger or brought anything which looked like a weapon, they would be dealt with very quickly.

    The issue has to be whether venues prioritise controlling the unauthorised use of cameras and recording gear. They do not. Why not? Mainly because they do not want to, and secondly because there is no redress for the venues’ managements if they simply turn a blind eye. I am surprised that there are not laws in place whereby venues should be held responsible to exercise all reasonable endeavour to uphold the rights of performers and publishers. If our company delivers duplicated CDs or DVDs sold on by others without copyright compliance, we get a knock on the door from PRS-for-Music bestowing liability on us as manufacturers.

    This is no new problem which orchestras used to worry about decades ago every time they went on tour to Japan and saw members of the audience with camcorders – even with tripods. The problem is far greater now with the high quality cameras in phones and pads and it is about time it was looked at seriously. Maybe there could be two grades of concert ticket with different terms & conditions, with a surcharge including authorisation to make a private recording. Revenue from the surcharge could be shared between performers and copyright owners. As commercial recordists we have to pay facility fees in many venues to be allowed to make a legitimate recording. It is bizarre that we pay when we comply with the law, and have to watch many members of the public around us doing whatever they like. In cinemas you get shown the door very quickly if you attempt to record a film. It is also bizarre that YouTube can distribute this material freely without any control.

    • Marilyn Crosbie says:

      This is difficult for photographers, as they too, consider themselves to be artists. (I am also an amateur pianist, but play at a fairly high level and I am not sure I would be offended if someone recorded my performance. In fact, a camcorder did record one of my performances years ago and I would love to have a copy of that video, but am unable to obtain it. So, we are all different. I grew up in front of the camera (dad was an avid photographer) so cameras don’t bother me. As for copyright, I feel this is an overreaction, but not all people feel the same about things.

      • Saul Davis says:

        Just imagine if you are paying a huge amount of money to film a concert, after spending a huge amount of money and time to prepare it, only to have your chance of sales ruined by a posting on YouTube.

  4. Jameson says:

    It almost seems that some people have no idea where they’ve been, what they’ve done or what they’ve seen and heard until they get home and watch their mobile phone clips.

    • Marilyn Crosbie says:

      Oh my! That is an exaggeration!

      • Paul Chambers says:

        Yes, it is an exaggeration, but perhaps only slightly! To think that for a long time cellphones were not introduced in the UK because the producers were convinced that no Brit would ever be seen dead using one in public! If only. . . As it is, my orchestra gets to a coffee break, and all the younger members instantly whip out their phones and study them intently for ages. Presumably this is to check that the world hasn’t ended in the last couple of hours. I do hope this is just a fad, but I fear the worst. . .

      • HsiaoLing Chang says:

        That is not an exaggeration if you have any imagination. But in the other hand, of course you need to see that from your phone to know that…

    • David Boxwell says:

      People now store thousands of images of art works they’ve “seen” in museums. Documenting each work in about three seconds of “seeing” before hustling to the next one. Only, of course, to eventually delete them.

      • Tausendsasa says:

        Yes, I have seen this phenomenon time and again in the great museums of Europe: invariably someone is walking from room to room not looking at any actual artwork but instead staring at the little screen in his/her hands, intent on documenting everything without making the effort to look at anything. So much for the Nabokovian frisson of aesthetic experience…

    • A.Roggen says:

      I think that audiences want to record the performance either as a souvenir,or to own it.
      As a performer,I abhor seeing flashing lights and recording devices while I’m playing!
      If you are performing live,you walk out onstage with a certain mindset.You are there to perform the music once,with no do-overs.Performers can become quite distracted,and the amateur recordings and filming is
      not only annoying,but when you start thinking about Youtube in the middle of your solo Bach…well,you get the idea.

  5. itrinkkeinwein says:

    I would like to know when he is going to OK the release on CD of his 1970s (!) recording of the Chopin waltzes.

  6. Lukas Fierz says:

    There is an epidemic on Youtube of pirated material. CD’s, illegal concert recordings and pirated TV-productions are put on youtube forever.

    The behaviour of Youtube in these matters is most annoying. If one asks for removal of such material one receives automated replys demanding a lot of conditions and ultimately it is impossible to do anything about it.

    I know two classical musicians who for encores smoetimes like to improvise. Such an encore was filmed and put on youtube without consent. On demand for removal the automated youtube bot asked for composer, publisher, title of the work etc, all informations which do not apply for an improvisation. It was not possible to surmount the automated defences of youtube and have an appropriate handling of the case. The film is still there.

    In the end this amounts to gang-organised robbery.

    I am not a lawyer but could not lawyers with an interest in copyright and intellectual property offer a package to musicians and help to remove such material: They should take all the necessary steps and legal actions and ask for damages. As a fee they could keep all damages awarded and the musicians would be freed from such thieves.

    Musicians should also approach the legislators of their countires. Germany for example seems to handle such matters much more strictly than other countries. So it is possible to change matters by legislation or court practice.


    • Michael Smith says:

      The requirements for a takedown under DMCA don’t seem too onerous to me. You just complete the statement (templates for which are widely available on the web) and submit.

      • Lukas Fierz says:

        Die you really try? We did that many times and neverhad any effect!

      • One of the requirements of a DMCA take-down notice is that you actually have a valid copyright and can identify the copyrighted work. An improviser doesn’t have a copyright unless and until they fix that improvisation, which is just an idea, in a “tangible means of expression,” such as a written composition or a sound recording.

        Staying away from the Zimerman thing since that was in Germany, but the thing about these that would make a performer like him extra bummed is that the fixed in a tangible means of expression requirement means there’s a copyright in the composition (possibly expired depending upon whose work he was playing), and ironically the other copyright is in the unauthorized sound recording because that recording is a tangible means of expression. The performer is left out. Unless he can find some practical way to prohibit recordings. Like he tried to do here.

        The other comments in this thread make me think — everyone loves copyright when it protects their own works of creativity; all of a sudden their intellects are remarkably flexible at seeing grey when they want to use someone else’s creativity.

        • Saul Davis says:

          Performances are themselves now copyrightable, or soon will be.

          • In these times of litigation it seems about time a major artist or his/her management brought an action against a major venue for failure to comply with an implicit Duty of Care, if not a breach of contract if the terms include control of illicit recording. Just having a fraffly well-spoken pre-recorded announcement from a Shakespearian actor over the p.a. system while everyone is turning their cameras on does not constitute compliance if the announcement is ignored and not enforced at all.

            If the pirate recording remained in the shooter’s iPhone or iPad and went no further it would be bad enough, but when it gets broadcast for public access anywhere in the world on YouTube and gets hundreds or thousands of views that is a different matter. The problem with YouTube is that the burden is placed on the victim to go through quite a process to prove abuse to get material taken down, when the burden should be on YouTube as publishers to make more strenuous efforts to establish their rights to publish having acquired explicit permissions from artists and publishers when it is obvious the content is that of a commercial public event. Record and tv companies have always had to be very sure to dot i’s and cross t’s in respect of clearance of rights otherwise they get sued. How come YouTube gets away with murder like this?

          • Only when fixed in a tangible means of expression.

          • Gotta update that one — Saul, you taught me something today, so thank you! I learned the Performances and Phonograms Treaty gave performers economic rights in their unfixed performances. The U.S. implemented that in the criminal code — for commercial/financial gain bootlegs anyway. Still not copyrightable if unfixed, but at least a performer can try to prevent someone else from fixing their performance first and profiting off of it. . .

    • Miguel V. says:

      Welcome to the internet era Krystian Zimerman, get used and try to make it work in your favor. It will be better for you and us.

      Invoking anachronic schemes to protect your works will only result in damage of more fundamental rights.

      • What amuses/annoys me is the YouTube posters who write, “No copyright infringement intended,” as if saying that somehow makes the infringement OK.

      • Saul Davis says:

        That is mere cyber-bullying. You should be ashamed. The older generation’s views are much more valid than the younger’s. Never more true than now. Maybe you have brain tumors already from your cellphone.

  7. Should be taken on a case by case basis rather than a blanket ban.
    If i was Pollini i’d want a pirated Liszt Etude recording removed, but be very happy with the Boulez 2nd Sonata from the RFH which is (to my mind) more persuasive than the studio recording.

  8. Here in the US, there are always announcements about cameras and recording; in the programs and sometimes out loud before the concert begins.
    I do see ushers asking people to put away their devices.

    But also I know of an instance in a big house, where a man had out a phone, whether recording or using and was asked by two ushers to put away the phone, and the ushers got disciplined for bothering a patron.


  9. Paul Chambers says:

    I can see that this is annoying for performers, especially soloists: I am an orchestral player myself, and am always slightly uncomfortable about all the devices I can see pointed at the platform when we play: it just feels like bad manners. BUT. . . there is of course a wider picture. We (record companies as well as performers) cannot simply pretend the “digital revolution” and the internet haven’t happened. As soon as it became possible to digitise recordings, it must, or should, have been obvious to record companies that it wouldn’t be possible to go on as before, but no, they staged a daft attempt to apply copyright laws that were intended to cover physical objects and which most of the world now sees as irrelevant. Calling it “theft” is tempting, but misses the point. As many have said, what is now needed, and is badly overdue, is a complete rethinking of how we “market” classical music and distribute it. Attempts to sue people are frankly peeing into a hurricane, for all the lawyers’ bluster. I fear we have all been too lazy — and in the companies’ case too greedy and short-termist — and now we have some serious catching-up to do. I don’t have the answers, though I think the Berlin Phil’s digital concert hall, which trades on sheer quality at very reasonable cost, must be one way to go. The fact remains, though, that most people will not pay for something they can get for nothing. This may be inconvenient for us, but is human nature!

    • Saul Davis says:

      The manufacturers are creating the problem, and doing nothing to remedy it.

  10. I watch many artists on YouTube – some historic, others contemporary. The quality is variable. What I see though often encourages me to attend live performances of those still active artists, or buy their commercial CDs or DVDs. There can be a silver lining to some clouds………..

  11. Mr Zimerman has my wholehearted support, but not entirely for the same reasons. I actually think first and foremost that recording a live concert in such a manner is amazingly disrespectful to both the artist and the audience. I personally believe that concerts are sacrosanct affairs. They are a tremendous privilege for the audience to share something no recording can ever do. Live, visceral, music making making.

    That recording a concert in such a manner is theft is undeniable. That it damages sales I’m not wholly convinced. One only needs to examine other artists who have embraced social networking platforms wholeheartedly to see that far from damaging sales it has promoted them. Record companies, and to a certain degree artists themselves need to remove the need for offending concert goers to engage in such anti-social, anti-concert going behaviour. In this technological era it is incredibly easy and inexpensive for artist management companies and artists to capture concerts unobtrusively. It’s a source of potential revenue and promotion that cannot be overlooked. If there is a desire to proliferate and and desire to consume a concert then live music making is doing all the right things. It just needs to be done in the right manner, and not by the audience.

  12. Michael says:

    As Mr Stewart says, such behaviour is also disrespectful to the audience as it is extremely distracting. Why do other members of the audience tolerate their neighbours using electronic equipment whether to record or take film/photos? I don’t! Anyone close to me gets asked to turn the equipment off, first in a whisper, but then slightly louder. People should respect others in the audience and keep still and quiet, not think they are at home watching a TV chat show or a football match.

    • George Porter says:

      I think you have nailed the crucial issue – that it is a major distraction for the rest of the audience, and quite likely for the performer(s) too. Also the offender is spoiling his/her own experience. These people have no manners.

      I doubt that many sales are lost to crappy smartphone videos on YouTube, but that isn’t the point.

  13. Daniel Mullin says:

    Michael J. Stewart – what you say makes an awful lot of sense to me. I really do agree, that the concert performance is sacrosanct and should be protected and that other routes need to be found to keep the business alive and well.

  14. Rosalind says:

    I have a lot of sympathy for Mr Zimerman’s actions, but do feel sorry for the rest of the presumably well-behaved audience. Perhaps the incident could have been handled better?

    All concert hall programmes do have some kind of blurb saying “we reserve right to refuse admission to patrons” as well as the various statements that recording and photography are not permitted. Was it not beyond the hall management to remove the guilty person from the recital and insist on the illegally recorded footage being erased? Where was director Franz Xaver Ohnesorg when all this was going on? If I’d been him I would have been on the situation immediately to protect my guest artist. HE should have made an announcement from the stage.

    If I was in Mr Zimerman’s position, I’d then have stated quite clearly from the platform that if anyone else started recording – he would leave the platform and stop the recital.

    Concert hall staff need to be more proactive, if people realise they ARE going to be thrown out of the event for recording, they hopefully won’t do it. I can’t think of anything more embarrassing than being led out of a hall in front of the accusing eyes of musicians and audience! The whole point of having ushers in the hall is surely to ensure the safety and comfort of patrons – ushers should be trained better so they can deal with it quickly and firmly.

    • Unfortunately, here in the States at least, ushers are often volunteers who are trading a couple of hours of work for free admission. Their “training” consists of a 3-minute lecture on taking tickets and passing out programs, and during the performance, they are watching the artists, not the audience.

      • If they saw an audience member rolling a joint, taking out a trumpet to join in, or assembling an automatic rifle I am sure there would be a response. It is purely down to judgment. The managements of venues simply do not consider it a priority to deal with members of the audience making their own recordings and taking photographs.

        • They wouldn’t see that; as I said, they’re volunteers, and once the performance starts, they sit down and watch the stage, not the audience. Something overt would, eventually, come to the attention of the house manager, but probably not something such as recording on a smart phone.

  15. Joel stein says:

    He also refuses for the most part to record and to allow his concerts to be broadcast on the radio. he had a similar run in with a taper, or supposed taper at a Carnegie Hall concert some years back-so his issues go beyond someone holding up an I Phone which is really distracting.

  16. What nonsense! If he does not want any evidence of his pianistic deficiencies remain on record, why not just wipe the audience’s collective memory clean? Video-taping Zimerman’s concerts would be a dull and pointless activity in any case; it would be like videotaping paint slowly drying. He didn’t lose his contract with record company because of YouTube; simply, nobody is buying his CD, that’s all.

    YouTube is now a new way of reaching the audiences and even creating new ones. Take the case of Valentina Lisitsa. She even plays better when someone is videotaping her and she likes it!

    • Paul, give your head a good shake!!
      Mr. Zimmerman remains the rightful owner of his performance work unless he is CONTRACTUALLY AND PROFESSIONALLY recorded and the Artist himself receives the appropriate fee for his efforts. To be posted on the YouTube could be degrading to many for there is so much garbage floating in there.
      Hope you are not losing any sleep over sales of his CDs!! Nothing to worry about! Thanks.

  17. David Boxwell says:

    He _could_ have gone all Patti Lupone on the guy. That would have really been dramatic.

  18. Bob Burns says:

    There’s no question that technological innovation has overrun the legal system. There are many examples of it, and this business of “filming” live concerts is just another one of them. It probably will be a long time before this thing is settled law.

    If, as reported, Zimerman walked off stage because he felt filming was theft, then I’m not in his corner. The issue is still very much alive and clearly what and how much of a concert the performer “owns” vs. the ticket buyer is still not clear. Does he own the applause? His image in a public setting? The sound waves? In a live performance, who owns what after the keyboard is struck?

    My objection to these so-called concert goers hoisting phone, pads, cameras and such during a concert is that it simply spoils the experience for the rest of us. (Put them in a special section in the balcony.) To my mind, during a live concert a special connection is established between the audience and the performer, both individually and collectively. It is a magic time where the music, the performer, and the observer are communicating in that most ephemeral of the arts, music. Some hack pointing an Ipad toward the stage in the seat in front of me simply drives me nuts. I’ve actually seen that happen. It is so distracting, as it must have been to Zimerman, it must make the performer’s blood boil. I can only imagine.

    As for YouTube, on the other hand, I must say that it has expanded my musical horizons enormously. As someone who is discovering music and musicians even in his eight decade of life, seeing clips of some new composer or performer helps me to understand the music. As an example, I had never heard a thing by John Cage other than 4’33″ and YouTube has several clips of other works of his which helped me to decide whether whether I like his “music” enough to buy it in CD form. (I don’t. His stuff sucks!) or whether to move on to John Adams (I do like his stuff and I’ve bought recordings of his music). I had never heard a Bruckner work until a few years ago when I was “investigating” his biography on the internet. Now I own three CDs of Bruckner’s symphonies.

    I still buy tickets to concerts, sometimes for a very serious expense. I expect value from the expense by getting to see the performer work live, hearing live sound, and enjoying a live hall. Even live applause. It is still the best way to experience serious music, camera hounds notwithstanding. As long as that’s the case, performers need not worry about being robbed.

    I once drove 1200 miles (round trip) to San Francisco to see two Mahler symphonies given by the SFSO/Tilson Thomas on successive nights at Davies Hall. It was pure heaven for me. And I can honestly say I discovered Mahler – initially – through the internet – including YouTube. Now I’ve read all the bios, and heard everything he’s ever done. (I even read Norman’s book!)

    So…these kinds of things do serve a good purpose. At least they do for me.

    • “I even read Norman’s book!”

      I’m betting, though, that you didn’t make a copy of it and didn’t distribute that, for free, to all your friends.

      • Bob Burns says:


        That’s a horse of a different color.

        Buying pirated CDs (or books) is different than what I’m saying here. I don’t buy them. And any inducement to do so is mitigated by the poor quality of them, generally, and above all, the fact that buying legitimate copies via download from iTunes or Amazon had made them competitive with any pirated junk.

        But you raise another interesting point: If I buy, as I recently did, a copy of de La Grange’s magnificent tome on Mahler for 60 bucks from a bookseller – a book which initially sold for $17.50 – is de La Grange entitled to some part of that second hand sale? In other words, how deeply into the process does intellectual / artistic property go? Does copyright to Norman’s book extend to secondary sales? Should it?
        Where does digitization fall into the mix? Does the binary code ownership extend to the holder of a CD or, for that matter, a file folder on a personal computer?

        A judge in a recent USA case declared that if a person was going to sell digitized music he had to sell the playback device along with it! How stupid is that? His reasoning was that a (tangible) vinyl record contained the information need to hear music, therefore digitized music was no different. He was making a decision based on totally antiquated recording technology.

        These are questions which need to be sorted out.

        • There certainly are people who listen, on YouTube, to recordings which, otherwise, they would but. Not so much in the classical genre — as you point out , the quality is abysmal — but certainly in other fields, and the laws aren’t genre-specific.

        • The second hand sales issue is settled, with the “first sale doctrine.” It says, to this question, La Grange(‘s publisher) is not entitled to some part of that used book sale. Copyright still applies to the work but one, out of the basket of rights the copyright owner had — the distribution right — was extinguished after the first sale.

        • Funnily enough, there are copyright laws that address the “first-sale doctrine”, and the question of royalties. The allegory to a second-hand book is a bit tenuous here, so I would like to propose a refinement: if I photocopied a book and then sold it second-hand whilst retaining the photocopy, that *would* be copyright infringement. For recorded music, the equivalent would be selling a CD second-hand whilst retaining a digital copy thereof on my computer/MP3 player.

    • One other point: there are many perfectly legal avenues to hearing things without massive financial commitments. Try Naxos Music Library, for example (most county library services in England subscribe to it, so it is free to end-users). Or, for a more old-fashioned method, one could actually go to a shop and listen to a track or two from the CDs there before making a decision?

  19. I work with a number of renowned artists. None of them likes unauthorised video-ing and (what’s worse) unwanted publication on YouTube. We lost a sizable grant application a while ago because one of the pieces had already landed on YouTube (bootleg recorded at a live event) and was therefore already publicised, which was against the rules.

    At a recent Barbra Streisand concert, where the kind request by the artist to refrain from recording or photography was actually printed on each ticket, many audience members ignored this request and were therefore not only disrespecting the performer on stage, but also the rest of the audience with flashing lights and illuminated micro screens from their phones.

    If all performers would react like Zimerman – or worse, simply stop and not continue – people would think twice about even trying, even if just out of fear of getting feathered and tarred by the rest of the audience.

    Good on you, Krystian!

    • Bob Burns says:

      Yes, but who loses? That’s throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

      • When it comes to talking about unauthorised recording and broadcasting of live concerts I get tired of the relentless defence of YouTube as representatives of the pursuit of freedom in the Free World. YouTube is no Robin Hood. it is a highly successful big profit-making business and a subsidiary of Google which had revenue of fifty billion dollars in 2012. In this context, how is it right to see YouTube as anything other than what it is and how it works? As far as this particular discussion is concerned it dodges tax in countries like the UK and it dodges respecting performers’ rights, that is how it makes money for its shareholders. Performers, composers and publishers do have rights and should have rights, which venues should respect and uphold. It is the venues’ responsibility to take this matter seriously and to cut off the supply of this illicit material wherever they can.

    • Totally, wholeheartedly agree!!

  20. Well done, Maestro Zimerman! If he wanted to have his concert filmed, he would have arranged that somebody does it for him. It´s that simple. Anything else is illegal and shameless.

    • Bob Burns says:

      I don’t know if it’s universally illegal but by God, It’s certainly shameless.

      • it is illegal, at least in germany! you can only film a person if he/she agrees to be filmed! plus you can be sure that in Zimerman´s contract there´s a paragraph stating that the concert is not allowed to be recored in any way. considering the amount of mobile phones in the hands of shameless people, unfortunately this is hard to control by the concert organiser.

  21. Alexander Hall says:

    When the Simon Bolivar Orchestra made its first appearance in London’s Royal Festival Hall with Gustavo Dudamel I saw quite a number in the audience holding up their wretched smartphones and filming the event, chattering to their neighbours in the process. The audience is always told “not to take photographs” before each concert there begins and I still see more than just a handful of concert-goers disregarding this instruction. That and the inevitable mobile phones going off – some people immediately dive into their pockets and start scrolling through their text messages, the moment the applause begins to ebb away at the end of the first half – is a further indication that some people don’t know how to behave in the concert-hall and have scant regard for other concert-goers.

    • Robert Fitzpatrick says:

      Interesting that you mention the SBO. I have also noticed they tend to perform from photocopies, even of protected works. I wonder if Gustavo has an opinion on this and the illegal videos? They are no longer a youth orchestra for whom certain educational exemptions (reduced rates for example) MIGHT apply. I believe that photocopies on the stand are OK as long as the orchestra has paid the rental fee and has the rental parts in reserve. Comments welcome on my assumptions which are certainly open for discussion.

      • I think that sometimes rental material is supplied as one part per section — each orchestra will probably have a slightly different number of stands, e.g. in the string sections. The single part has to be photocopied so that each stand has a copy. Sometimes this is done by the publisher when the parts are ordered. They will put a stamp on each copy, usually in red ink saying “Rental material, not for sale” or something like that. Other times, the orchestra’s back office will make the copies. Just because a violin part, for example, appears to be a photocopy doesn’t necessarily mean it was done illegally.

        But I can also imagine that Venezuela might have slightly different laws than the rest of the world when it comes to things like copyright. :)

        • Halldor says:

          There’s another possible explanation. Many professional hire libraries nowadays regularly supply sets of parts (often for the full hire fee) that are in such bad condition as to be unusable: torn, patched, third- or fourth-generation photocopies, or simply thickly covered in years and years of pencil markings. In these circumstances it’s now normal practice for orchestral librarians to clean up or repair one single “master” copy of each string part, and photocopy a completely new set of string parts from that.

          The publisher still receives their full hire fee, and the orchestra gets to play from legible parts – albeit at the cost of considerable additional time and effort from the orchestral librarian, which, of course, would not have been necessary in the first place had the hire library taken its responsibilities seriously. The cynisism of certain hire libraries and the sheer negligence they display as custodians of the repertoire is one of the – generally unmentioned – minor scandals of modern orchestral life.

      • Saul Davis says:

        When I heard them, they were presented as a professional orchestra, but sounded like a student orchestra. And not even as good as the ones in the U.S. What they do is wonderful, but I fear they caused even more neglect of the excellent systems we have, to jump on the trend of La Sistema. Give me a break. Dudamel is a surprisingly great talent. I recognize that. But we have to appreciate more what we have, and understand what we have much better than we do. We have, at least until recently, a Germanic system of music education, full of bias and prejudice against other cultures. The Russians have displaced that to some extent. Some teachers use the Royal system. But until we know what we have now, we won’t know how to improve and fix it.

        • Michael Schaffer says:

          That’s so funny, Saul – “a Germanic system of music education, full of bias and prejudice against other cultures”. I have no idea what “a Germanic” music education system might be even though I grew up in the actual German music education “system” – which isn’t much of a system to begin with. “Bias and prejudice” against other cultures wasn’t part of the music education at all though. On the contrary, many musicians from all over the world come to Germany to study classical music there and they are welcome to study at the country’s music academies – for next to free, courtesy of the German tax payers.
          The only one full of “bias and prejudice against other cultures” here is – you.

          • Alexander Hall says:

            Well said, Michael. There are some who jump at the chance to knock Germany and the Germans whenever they can. Germany is by no means perfect but it does offer young musicians an incredible variety of jobs and professional experience at all levels. And that can’t be said about many other countries.

  22. We loved it to make good pictures of our stars and then we put them on our facebookpages and our friends got interessted and went with us to concerts. We even had the fotos of our stars on our profil and wrote comments to all kinds of good pages and hoped that many people would click the video (prof. video of artists) and even had succes. Before we go to a concert, we first look at the videos. But now I must read that the stars call us circus people etc. In the meantime we deleted all the fotos of our facebookpages and we will not go to a classic concert anymore. No thank you.

    • George Porter says:

      Well that is just dumb. If you like the music, go to the concert.

      • Yes, I agree it was dumb to support a star, but some musicians really dont have good managers – their marketing is very bad and they dont even notice it and then they are surprised that they have no succes. If the stars now start to throw the people out of their concerts it is the end of the classical concerts . Today they throw somebody out because of a video and tomorrow because of something else. Who dares to go to a concert??We made our pictures the last minutes of the concert.

      • 40 % is the music and 60 % is adoring a star.

        • We can also write articles about the bad behavour of musicians behind the stage – if they leave the door open by mistake or whatsoever we can see and hear everything in the first 2 rows – the way they copy the people, drawing faces at them etc. you wont believe what we have seen by really good classical concerts, but this is not the topic of this discussion at the moment. .

          • George Porter says:

            If it is off-topic why did you raise it?

            I’ve never seen anything like that and I have been to hundreds of
            classical concerts. And it wouldn’t bother me anyway.

  23. He lost his recording contract because of youtube? thats crap! he lost his recording contract because hes a very difficult person to work with.. he promissed DG to deliver many projects including the chopin sonatas back in the 70s and still no results. record companies get mad and loose interests with all these waiting. they can easily ask other artists like Yuja Wang without delay. Im not impressed by his professionism…look at the way how he acts in public? he was paid to perform and he did not deliver but offended innocent people in the audience (he offended many LA audience members regarding US troops on stage). many of us paid for the ticket to watch him and some ticket prices are not cheap. he should have been more professional and play the concert and later dealt with the individual after the event privately.

    • Mike Schachter says:

      He certainly has a point, but for someone so egocentric and attention-seeking it is difficult to feel sympathy. Difficult to see why anyone still buys tickets for his concerts.

  24. theres no law (so its not illegal) against filming or recording anyone in public. News reporter and tourist does it all the time! its just against the venue policy. its like misbehaving in school. kids can get expelled by breaking the school policy but wont go to prison. the individual with the iphone can be banned from the venue but wont get in trouble by law.

    • …But there *is* a law against recording copyrighted material, and the venue, as an agent of the rights holder, is perfectly within bounds to enforce that.

      • Bob Burns says:

        “…But there *is* a law against recording copyrighted material, and the venue, as an agent of the rights holder, is perfectly within bounds to enforce that.”

        So far as I know, the law in the US is broken when the person recording is attempting to profit from the recording. If I make a recording of a concert in a park, as an example, with an iPhone, it’s legal. when I post it on YouTube, it’s still legal. (The current argument is whether it’s legal for Google). If I make a CD of the recording and sell it…it’s illegal.

    • Saul Davis says:

      You are so wrong. You have to have a release from anyone you film. How do you know how he lost his contract?

  25. Rgiarola says:

    I would like to give my option as someone that records some concerts. I will not defend the act of record and upload it, but I will just share my experience. Please, there aren’t reasons for anyone to be mad and I’m not defending the guy from Essen or Zimmerman. . Also, I would like to apologize for my lack of proper English grammar.
    1 – In my case it is not a camera that someone can see easily. It is very small, thin and without screen brightening in any eyes. After 4 years, there weren’t any usher, security or artist that had ever seen it during the concerts. I can tell you that even audience aside do not suspect of the camera. The last thing I would like to do is to destroy the concert bothering the audience and artists, however we shouldn’t forget about other things as harmful as excess of cough, talk, late comers, claps between movements, snore, grunt etc. These things are all around concert halls since the beginning of the times. It’s reminds me the cartoon of Bugs Bunny as a pianist shooting someone coughing in the audience.
    2 – I don’t look to the camera during the concert. I’ve got to decide a good angle before the concert starts and let it there. I’m there for the concert.
    3 – I don’t take any of these videos for granted, since they are totally unpretentious, amateur’s bootlegs. The reason to record is the same for any memoirs. I’ve got a picture of my first concert ever at the end of the 70′s. It is Rubinstein smiling to the camera during the applauses at the end of the performance (No flash). Why people take pictures during their lives? It is because they thing it is an important moment and probably they would enjoy something to remind it. For example, I’ve got a picture aside Mr. Lebrecht and it is inside one of his books.
    4 – According to my youtube managerial page, 58% of the totals of 500 thousand views are from places like Uganda, Philippines, Peru, India, Vladivostok and Montenegro among other places that few artists are really intending to play there. I would say that even blue ray or CDs of classical music sometimes are not easily acquired on some of these areas, besides of it youtube users are mostly kids or teenagers without money to spend on it even in the rich countries. I’ve been receiving tube mails such: “Thanks you! I would like to go to a concert like this, but I can’t”. As I said before, they are all amateur’s videos without professional sound quality and I couldn’t realize this kind of reaction after I’ve uploaded the first videos.
    5 – There were artist’s managers that requested to take out the video of youtube public view. It is very simple to request is, since youtube provide e-mail to users. I’ve always respect and follow these requests immediately (I wouldn’t like to mention their names). However, there are others that enjoyed. For example, the Rotterdam Philharmonic incorporated the video to their official website, since it was during a tour far away from home and first time at the extreme south of the planet. On other occasion, I’ve showed the video to Hilary Hahn after the concert and she was really cool (As usual in her case. What a nice person!). Alexandra Soumm found her video in my tube page and incorporated it at her Facebook page, etc. Jazz and Rock artists? They don’t care at all and most of than promote the idea as Avishai Cohen and Metallica. Unfortunately a very famous German orchestra threated me through lawyers and also they were able to close my youtube page. They got the right to do it, since the law affords it. However, is it a good idea? I don’t know the answer, but please just don’t shoot me like the Bugs Bunny. I’m your fan and supporter and I don’t have any other felling besides admiration. Let me know and I will take out the video.

    • Saul Davis says:

      You have no excuse for what you are doing. You are a thief, and you disrupt the experience of others no matter what you say. You must stop it. But you must be compulsive or you would have the sense to stop yourself.

    • Rebecca McGinn says:

      Calling all artists and rights owners – apparently what is yours also belongs to Rgiarola, so it follows that what belongs to him is yours for the taking – from his ideas at work to his property. No? Wait – is that too far? If anyone were to steal a protected idea or possession from Rgiarola – perhaps his inconspicuous spy camera – would that be a crime?

      Yes. Yes it would. As is what Rgiarola does.

      Rgiarola – it seems you are saying that since no one can see you, it is not actually a crime. Does this mean that only thieves who steal in daylight and in clear view of witnesses are guilty? That if they are stealthy, we should give them a pass?

      And your audacity! To take your stolen property and wave it in the face of your victim! You are very lucky that Ms Hahn reacted well. She had every right to give you a stern lecture and confiscate the material. And if she had? If she had objected to your pirate booty parade? You would have likely said that she was in the wrong and didn’t she understand that you had the right to steal from her even though she has dedicated her life to study and performance – to entertain people like you.

      Even after mangers, orchestras and artists have contacted you to let them know you were in the wrong, you persist.

      You are a repeat offender. You are nothing but a criminal. In a perfect world, you would be given warnings and, if you did not desist, be banned from venues.

      Unfortunately, even with complaints to YouTube or the IFPI, little can be done. Combating piracy is a Sisyphean task. Unfortunately there are too many people like you – arrogant, entitled and – yes Rgiarola – criminal.

      • Rgiarola says:

        Saul, Rebecca,

        Thanks for reply my message. My intention was just to discuss the issue in a civilized and mature way. Unfortunately your messages are reinterpretation of my words, changes or inclusion of things that I did not write. However, I’m sorry that you think I was arrogant. I’ve never said I was right or defended any point in my whole message.


      • Esteemed Ms McGinn:
        My question to you may seem unrelated to the subject of “pirating”, but your answer would help me to harbor at least a bit of respect, that thus far you have not earned:
        Thus, would you show the same amount of eagerness you show now to “annihilate” Mr Rgiarola, if you encountered someone on the street fainting, suffering and accident or worse yet a heart-attack? Simple “yes” or “no”. Would you be the same “activist” you are now or just pass by, leaving matters of help to professionals. Would you be the first one to reach for your phone and call for the ambulance? Would you stay and see if the person in trouble received a proper help?
        The questions I am asking are not related to the “criminal activities” of Mr Rgiarola, but somehow I can’t picture your “concert hall activism” being in synch with the street, everyday activism. So give the answer and if it is positive- how would I know anyway?- then I’d say you earn a right to call yourself a concerned citizen. But still not to call Mr Rgiarola a “criminal”.
        I will ask you another question, not that I really care: are you by chance a mother? The reason I am asking- and my heart tells me that you are not (otherwise you’d be too busy taking care for your child, rather than demonize and insult that “thief-from-a concert-hall”). But , for argument sake, if you were a mother and was denied a chance of filming/recording your little daughter’s dance recital- all 2 min of her performance!- because it is frostbitten to video/or sound record ANY performance, then would you be as indignant as you are now defending right of Mr Zimerman to NOT be videoed by a member of the audience? WOuldn’t you be furious that you have no chance to preserve a moment, that years from now will be so precious? The same type of moment you despise so much now, when someone even TALKS about.
        Somehow I tend to bestow my respect on the people who are able to show their human face not by showing their anger on someone like a person who you are so eager to call a “criminal” but rather by being otherwise a decent citizen. Tell me, why do I have such a hard time picturing you as one?

  26. Ghillie Forrest says:

    Since the late 80s, when I lived in early-adopting Hong Kong, I have been used at all sorts of live performances to hearing a pre-event request for all devices — including watches! — to be turned off. Now in Canada there is an announcement before every concert I attend requesting the turning off of all devices, unspecified, “all” being inclusive, and announcing theprohibition on recording, in picture or sound, the performance about to start. I don’t see where the law comes into it — surely ther venue is entitled to set its own rules of engagement.

    Mind you, it may be more alarming that the generation I see attending concerts is the generation whose manners would prohibit them from flashing phone-cams in artists’ faces during performances. The mannerless generation(s) referred to above, who whip out phones the second anything ends and remain glued to their various treasures for hours on end, are rare apparitions at Mozart and Mahler. Just recall the last film you went to — the minute the screen fades to black you are in a positive blitzkrieg of light as the impatient ones check any texts they have been deprived of for the last two hours.

  27. Based on my reading of the account given in this article, I think that Mr Zimermann was both reasonable and proportionate in his actions. I find it shocking that, despite having been explicitly asked by the performer to desist, the person making the unauthorised recording had the temerity to upload it onto the worldwide web.

    I take the view that we should not relax our standards of copyright and manners simply because technology renders it possible. This is not to say that we should never record concerts; rather, that the correct procedures should be followed, and these should be opt-in, in line with the principles of international copyright law. I sometimes make audio recordings of amateur (purely in the sense that the performers are not being paid) concerts in which I am playing, or in which I am having a composition performed. However, I disseminate these online only if I have permission from the participants and the appropriate licence to do so.

    We can argue as much as we like whether the online availability amateur video footage of live concerts improves or damages a performer’s reputation, reach, or audience size. Either way, it misses the point, which is that it is for the performer, not us, to decide whether, how, and on what terms they wish to disseminate recordings. It is worth noting that those who disseminate prolifically often have had their recordings professionally edited, and the result might not be entirely “live”, so to cite them as justification for disregarding the principle of opt-in is sophistic.

    I applaud Mr Zimermann’s courage in standing up for himself. Without being confronted, the offensive behaviour that he — and many more performers besides — has suffered is unlikely to desist. Youtube is utterly inept at copyright review: to report infringement, you have to be the copyright owner (and make a legally binding declaration to that effect) and have a Youtube account.

  28. I agree with Bob Burns below, that this is not so much about copyright infringement as it is about just plain vulgarity. Either watch the show or go home. Recording is not only a distraction to the performer, it’s also proof that the audience member is not paying attention. They’re there for other reasons.

  29. Rosalind says:

    Speaking of stopping concerts . . . . More cell phone adventures, this time from Barcelona. Pablo Gonzalez, Music Director of the Barcelona Symphony (OBC) stopped OBC’s concert not just once but TWICE on Sun. May 26 because of interruptions by cell phones. The work being performed was Britten’s Passacaglia & excerpts from Peter Grimes.

    The incident was recorded and described in OBC’s blog (recording link on this page):

    In the recording, Mr. Gonzalez can be heard politely requesting the audience to turn off their cell phones.Several phones rang right after his announcement & interrupted the opening Britten solo. Gonzalez had to stop again. The recording includes shouts from the audience declaring that the cell phone owners were imbeciles.

    The incident was picked up by bloggers but not reported in the Spanish press. Alan Gilbert made the NYTimes when he stopped a concert for a cell phone. Here’s another blog about the OBC incident::

  30. operacentric says:

    Whatever one’s opinions on copyright law vs. current technology, tickets to events are sold under contract. The terms and conditions of sale, generally printed on the ticket, almost always state that photography/recording is prohibited. Hall managements therefore have every right to enforce the contract and eject those who breach it. – should they choose to…

  31. Disagreeing with most comments here I have to say, that I find Mr. Zimerman’s behaviour unreasonable, disproportionate and, quite frankly, a litte childish.

    There are two reasons, why think his actions were wrong and should not be applauded:
    First, the question of the effect of new technologies, especially YouTube, on the music (and other art) industries is a highly complicated issue. Yes, there are challenges and negative developements but there are also chances and positive developements and, as many have pointed out, a video on YouTube may in fact be more of an advertisement for an artist than anything else (in such a case).
    I’m not saying it’s okay to put copyrighted material on YouTube, I’m just saying it’s not that simple. Technology changes. It always has and it will continue to do so. There have been many examples in history when there was a huge outcry by copyright-enthusiasts when new technologies (such as VCR and other recording devices) “threatened to destroy” creativity and the arts industries. But they didn’t. And YouTube won’t either. Yes, maybe a few changes are necessary, maybe the law or it’s enforcement is lagging behind a little, but we’re not on the brink of disaster here. These new technologies may in fact be beneficial to the arts and artists (many are already using it to their advantage). I’m not saying copyright doesn’t matter, I’m just saying: Calm down a little!
    So, while this is a topic that indeed needs constructive discussion, it is not one that needs bold protests.
    We’re not talking about horrible human rights violations here, that would ask for strong and loud reactions, we’re talking about complicated issues and they should be dealt with accordingly. So if Mr. Zimerman’s reason for reacting as he did was to “raise awareness” about the issue or something, then he completely overreacted.

    Second, there is such a thing as a contract. And while artists may generally feel as though they are not bound by anything but their creative energies or some such thing, they are in fact delivering their side of a deal. The audience paid for that concert. They paid for a full and proper concert, not one disrupted by Mr. Zimerman’s childish attempts at making a statement. If I pay for a ticket on the bus, then the bus driver can’t just say he doesn’t feel like driving anymore, because one of the 40 guests disregarded a ban on food on the bus. If I was in that audience I would have asked for part of my money back.

    As for the statement that filming a concert is theft: Let’s just take a few steps back here. Someone may want to remind Mr. Zimerman, that he is actually reciting someone elses work most of the time (If someone is playing an original piece or improvising than I agree that it’s a slightly different story). Of course there is creative energy going into an artists interpretation of a piece, but applying the concept of theft to that seems like a huge stretch. The person videotaping isn’t stealing anything. More than half of what Mr. Zimerman was actually creating in that concert hall (which is the part of the “audio data” that wasn’t already put down by the composer) would be lost on a crappy smartphone-video. So again, saying that this is theft is ridiculous. (And that’s completely ignoring the fact that applying the concept of theft to intellectual property rights in general is difficult, because stealing something generally entails taking it away – which you’re not doing, you’re just duplicating.)

    I don’t want to defend the person who recorded the concert! I think it’s disrespectful, against the rules and (as also a lot of comments have pointed out) simply stupid and annoying. But it should be dealt with in a reasonable way. If Mr. Zimerman thinks there is a problem with how people behave in his concerts then he should tell the people organising these concerts that he wants stricter enforcement of those rules. If that doesn’t work, then he can stop giving concerts. The middle of a concert is not the time for an artist to take enforcement into his own hands. (And if you absolutely need to do it then tell the offender to stop and then continue with your job. There’s no need to go into a childish sulk for the rest of the evening).

    Stopping in the middle of a concert, then leaving for a while, refusing to return for encores, then not staying for the post-concert reception simply shows that someone has a sense of self-importance that is hugely out of proportion. Unfortunately that’s not completely uncommon for artists on that level. Someone should remind him that he’s just a human being, reciting works that others have composed. He’s not curing cancer, he’s not building the arc… he’s playing the piano. A little perspective maybe…

    • Rgiarola says:


      I agree with you. Classical music world is dealing with YouTube as amateur as Pop/Rock industry was 15 years ago concerning “Napster”. I don’t want to offend other person as much as Saul and Rebecca, but I must say that it’s look like the Jurassic Park. On 2013 YouTube is a problem from the past to music industry, since in some years most people will be able to share data through the “Cloud”. There won’t be a need for a platform such E-mule, Torrent, Galaxy or YouTube and it will be difficult to determine the exactly storage place. What classical music industry is doing to protect their interesting against it? The answer is nothing. They will remain passive until the problem emerge and later will be trying to sue someone, as usual.
      The difference between Shawn Fanning and Steve Jobs is that the first got the whole idea and changed the way of the business, but the second paid the fees to the industry. 1998 Napster and the first version of ITunes are technically the same thing. On 2001, Apple was able enough to understand that people don’t want to be thieves, but they wanted to use the digital format (MP3, AAC etc.) regardless the compact disc. On 2013 no one is a thief anymore after download music.
      Classical music industry should stop trying to find Shawn Fanning’s everywhere, but should start to look for Steve jobs. The solution is to understand the changes before it happens, and take advantage of it in order to guarantee their profit. The arrogant attitude to stay away from the real world is causing more damage to Classical music than YouTube and Napster all together.

    • You are missing the point: it is not relevant whether *you* think that Youtube videos would benefit Zimerman’s reputation or reach. It is a matter for Mr Zimerman, not you, to decide if and how his performances are disseminated online.

      The contract Zimerman signed would have included a clause banning recording: that was breached, therefore Zimerman’s decision to curtail the concert was perfectly reasonable. In any case, refusing to give encores is not a breach of contract.

      I see no reason why we should lower our standards of copyright protection simply because technology makes it possible. When guns were invented, it suddenly became possible to kill people on a brutally efficient scale: by your logic, we should be relaxing laws on murder and manslaughter to reflect this!

      • I am not missing the point, I’m making a point. I’m saying if Mr. Zimerman says he lost contracts because of YouTube then I think he’s doing something wrong. Of course it’s his decision what he does with YouTube, but if he goes around complaining about it, then I can say I think he’s not doing it right, because *I* think that YouTube could benefit his reputation and reach.

        Concerning the illegal recording: If you go back and read my comment again you will see that with no word did I say or imply that it is okay for someone to record a concert when recording is banned. And to make sure everyone understands what I mean I will happily say it again: It is NOT okay! It’s against the rules, it is disrespectful to the rest of the audience and it is also stupid (imho).
        But one person’s breach of a contract doesn’t entitle Mr. Zimerman to breach his side of the contract with everyone else. I realize that we could probably go into an endless dicussion about what exactly Mr. Zimerman is obligated to deliver under his contract (and yes encores are probably not part of that) but the point is, that refusing to play was disrespectful to his audience – and when people pay a considerable amount of money to hear you play and make it possible for you to make a living of your passion, then I think you should be respectful to them too. A lot of artists tend to forget that they’re not just the admired Gods being kind enough to let others share in their genius – they want money and people have to work hard to earn that money to spend it on an artist. They should be reminded of that from time to time – obviously Mr. Zimerman wasn’t.

        As for your very amusing analogy with guns and murder: You obviously don’t seem to have a very deep understanding of my logic (or logic in general, for that matter).
        By *my logic*, every law we make up should have an underlying purpose, because every law we make up restricts our freedoms.
        The purpose of the laws against murder and manslaughter is pretty obvious. We want to save people from getting killed. That doesn’t change in the least when guns come into the picture – if at all it would have to lead to stricter rules, because the potential harm has become greater.
        Because it has been mentioned so many times let us look at the issue of stealing as well. The purpose of the laws against that are to keep people from being deprived of something they own.
        The protection of intellectual property, however, has much more complex underlying purposes. I actually used to agree with you and thought that all this was a crime too. But I’ve read a lot about these issues lately (I’m studying law and have a focus on intellectual property law in my studies) and I realized that it isn’t all that simple. I can’t recite everything I’ve read to you now, but just a few key points:
        First, ip laws intend to give an incentive to people creating things and to thereby serve as a drive for innovation. However, there are a number of examples of industries that have little to no ip protection and are highly creative – the question, how strict ip laws need to be to best fulfill that function is extremely controversial and difficult. (If you find this interesting I recommend reading “The knockoff economy” by Kal Raustiala and Christopher Sprigman)

        Second, there is something like a “moral” component. We feel like when someone makes something up he should be the one, the only one, to decide what to do with it and how to use it. I generally agree with that too, but on the other side we have something called the public domain. We don’t have to ask Mozart’s or Beethoven’s descendants if we can use their works or how we are allowed to perform them and when. You and every other artist who performs someone elses compositions proft hugely from that. Even when composing many artists are very honest about originality. “The good composer does not imitate; he steals.” – Igor Stravinsky (as quoted in another comment here)
        The truth is, hardly anything these days is truly original. So defining where the moral line is, is also extremely difficult.
        With this in mind I hope you understand why you can’t compare ip laws with the laws against murder and manslaughter (or even stealing).

        It may also be interesting to you, that the standard of copyright protection has only been raised in recent years. The terms have repeatedly been extended and some cases of copyright infringement have been criminalized (in the US that is, I’m not certain as to how the situation is everywhere else but in Europe the standards have at least not been lowered and EU-legislation has improved protection on a trans-national level). There are many voices, even and especially in the arts industries, that say these rules have become too strict.

        With regrad to the Zimerman-incident, my point is not to defend the person who recorded in that concert, it is to say Mr. Zimerman’s reaction was disproportionate and disrespectful.

        • Just to clarify: Mr Zimerman has lost no contracts because of his anti-youtube stance. He remains an exclusive DG artist. That’s official.

          • I didn’t realize that was even in discussion. I thought the issue was that he claimed to have lost record contracts because of YouTube, not because of his anti-youtube stance.

        • I see why you consider Mr Zimerman’s actions disproportionate; the trouble is that when performers shy away from confronting the issue, nothing is done about it. Now that he has acted in the way he has, the issue is being brought to everyone’s attention.

          I also appreciate some of the controversies surrounding intellectual-property law, and whether the terms of protection are reasonable. Certainly, I would be concerned if performers were not permitted to offer original interpretations, and I am not entirely happy with the rules on creating derivative works (you need explicit permission in advance), although I think that some sort of regulation is necessary to prevent the dilution of royalties (for a musical setting of a copyright poem, PRS assigns 50:50 royalty shares to composer and author by default; my view is that the composer should not require permission to make a setting of a published poem if they are prepared to assign 100% to the poet, although that should not obviate the need to obtain the appropriate licence and pay copyright fees to print of the poem in sheet music and programme notes).

          I am not saying that copyright law should not be open to debate; rather, I am saying that such debate should neither be monopolised by the “free culture movement” (which is bankrolled by corporations, such as Google, that make massive windfalls from the advertising revenue attached to illegal music videos), nor be dictated purely by present trends in the technology of dissemination (though it is worth pointing out that there are many outlets that manage to operate legally, such as Naxos Music Library and the IMSLP).

          • @ Sasha Valeri Millwood:

            What you write here is absolutely correct. YouTube is a large enough organisation to be able, if so it chose, to set up a facility along the lines of that operated by Naxos; OK, Naxos doesn’t ask permission from copyright owners but it does what it does openly and above board and makes due returns to the appropriate royalty collection agencies, which YouTube does not. IMSLP is rather different, to the extent that the excellent service that it provides in making available material that would mostly otherwise be very hard or impossible to access seeks very strictly to limit itself to the dissemination of public domain material and it includes all manner of details caveats in an effort to clarify the minefield of anomalies in intellectual property legislation between nations – the 70 year rule, whilst nowadays far more widely applied than once it was, has some way to go before it becomes an international standard.

  32. Saul Davis says:

    There is nothing more irritating for a performer than to have to stop the process of beginning a concert to make a proclamation, or to wait for someone else to finish doing it before starting. That is a disruption in itself, and thank you to all the losers with cellphones and other devices for making it necessary. At the festival I produced, I had to stand in the back instead of enjoying a performance, and watch a suspected pirate to make sure he couldn’t film, and he did have recording equipment concealed in his bag, so he could steal concerts. Many of these pirates sell recordings to their friends. This helps no one but the pirate. It’s no wonder the classical recording enterprise is failing so badly. One thousand sales makes a top cd! That’s horrendous.
    YouTube is great for discovering repertoire, like a library, yes, but it utterly spoils most sales. It is outrageous that they operate above and beyond the law, like so many other internet companies, simply by hiding behind gibberish, jargon, and elusive site design. How much will be destroyed before all this is corrected?
    The world has become a disgusting place for serious artists.

    • Wow… that’s a bold statement.
      Would you care to define what a serious artist is in your understanding? If by that you mean interpreters of classical music, then you may be right to some extent. But there may be a number of reasons for that and sitting back and saying “It’s all YouTube’s fault” is just a little too easy.
      Yes, recording and storing devices, like CDs and their improving quality have considerably lowered the need for reproducing art. But that’s just life. Things change. I bet the hoofsmiths and horse breeders were really pissed, when the automobile came along. But demands for certain things change and that’s not a horrible injustice, that’s just the way things go.
      Having said that, I do actually doubt that life has really gotten that much harder for interpreters of classical music. Never before in the history of the world have there been so many people with so much money to spare for pleasure activities, like going to concerts. The boom of classical music in Asia further supports that.

      Another point may be that what they are producing (or reproducing) simply has been around for a long time. There are multiple recordings of almost every classical piece out there and at some point people just don’t need any more. The grande majority of consumers can probably not see much of a difference between one interpretation and another – at least not enough of a difference to buy them both.

      Going back to the concept of a serious artist. What about the millions of aspiring (young) artists who now have endless possibilities to spread their work and to become known? I’m sure they don’t consider the world a disgusting place. Are they less serious artists?

      Again, I’m not saying it’s okay to record a concert when it’s against the rules – it’s not! Don’t complain about YouTube, enforce your rules.
      YouTube’s not the end of the world. It’s new, new things are scary, especially for people working in such conservative settings as classical music, but new things also bring chances. YouTube is also changing: there are increasing numbers of advertisements and commercial channels on YouTube and, as I’ve said in my comment above, many artists are already using it to their advantage.
      Don’t complain about how horrible and disgusting the world is, embrace it and try to make the best of it!

      • Saul Davis says:

        Oh, if you knew what you were talking about, how much scarier it would be. Who is reproducing? Do you think a performer is reproducing the music written by the composer? I hope not.
        A serious artist is one who devotes a lifetime to building impeccable technique, style and understanding of an art for without regard to commercial interest. If said artist is fortunate enough to profit from it, wonderful.
        A performer creates a performance, and that is an art in itself.
        You are so full of assumptions, I can’t address all of them, I’ll just say you have a tone I find repugnant. A strong statement is made for a reason. The impossibility of earning money from cd sales means an impossibility of earning a living, of earning back the tremendous cost involved which is usually borne by the artist, not the label, if any. YouTube is a disaster in relation to that. It is a perfect medium for homemade videos of homemade performances by anyone. I have no argument with that. As long as the music is public domain, that is. I doubt YouTube is paying license fees, the cost would be astronomical. And the performing rights organizations are losing income, which shifts even more costs onto the members. The squeeze never ends. If one is savvy enough, and can spend enough time figuring out how to gain popularity on YouTube, it might help boost a career. But can gangnam and classical be reconciled?
        Classical music is an art form. The finest performers are artists. Not all of them.
        “CDs and their improving quality have considerably lowered the need for reproducing art.” Well, that speaks of disaster for itself. Yes, the more made, the less one needs to buy. And that is a problem, indeed. How can you discern the relative quality of unknown artists on known or unknown labels? The Naxos name is no guarantee.
        ” What about the millions of aspiring (young) artists who now have endless possibilities to spread their work and to become known?” YouTube doesn’t pay a penny unless you maybe have google ads on your work. How can a young artist earn anything? I wonder constantly.
        A worldwide boom? More like a bust. Growth in China has little impact, except that Chinese musicians now occupy prime spots at schools like the Curtis Institute. They are not importing American artists to teach, that I know of. They have their own people, whatever the result.
        When John Philip Sousa saw the gramophone and said it would be the death of live music, he was correct, he just didn’t predict how long it would take. On Star Trek, the android reproduced performances with his body. That is the future. Classical music will become a dead art of the past, only living in the hands of a very few in isolated communities. Wait, that’s already happened. Or nearly.
        In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, before movies and radio, live music, opera, drama and ballet were IT. Plus vaudeville, of course. Musicians earned fortunes on the road. Musicians were celebrities. All the way through the 1950s, even the 60s and 70s, to dwindling amounts. Little did I know my childhood was the end of a Golden Age. Our only hope is for a young generation to rebel against technology and commercial music, and to take up the reins of art. But how much will be lost in the meantime? Too much to ponder.

        • Sorry if you felt offended by what I said.
          Sorry if you find my tone repugnant.
          Ans sorry if you don’t realize that everyone is full of assumptions (including you).

          I agree with you in some way. I find it sad how little young people these days know or appreciate classical music. I live in Vienna, arguably one of the most important centres of classical music, historically. There are still numerous concerts in the many concert halls here and from time to time I spend money on them (quite considerable amounts, since these pleasures don’t come very cheap) and, as I’ve mentioned somewhere before it feels like a retirement home. I think that’s sad.
          Where I don’t agree with you, is how YouTube comes into that.
          “YouTube doesn’t pay a penny unless you maybe have google ads on your work. How can a young artist earn anything? I wonder constantly.”
          No YouTube doesn’t pay, YouTube is free advertisement and that’s how it helps young artists. I’ll give you an example. I went to a concert of a young pianist a few months ago. Having really enjoyed his performance I went home and searched for him on YouTube. On YouTube I found (professional) videos of him playing some pieces by Chopin and absolutely loved it. So I went on Amazon and bought a few MP3 files of him playing Chopin. If it weren’t for YouTube I highly doubt that I would have bought anything. I have more than once found something on YouTube by chance that I later decided to buy.
          As for people my age who are not interested in classical music in the first place – that’s developement is much older than YouTube, and if anything YouTube lets them discover classical music. (My younger brother is a big fan of contemporary pop music, but is increasingly discovering that classical music is amazing too (or much more so) – through YouTube; while he is not going to any concerts yet (because that’s uncool and expensive) he has already bought some CDs)

          I don’t want to offend anyone, I don’t want to say it’s okay to put copyrighted material on YouTube, all I’m trying to say is that the “crisis” (if that’s what you like to call it) of classical music is not YouTubes fault – and YouTube isn’t all bad.

          “Musicians earned fortunes on the road. Musicians were celebrities.” – Some musicians still earn fortunes and some are still celebrities.
          “Our only hope is for a young generation to rebel against technology and commercial music, and to take up the reins of art.” – Just a few sentences ago you said that it’s a pity musicians don’t earn fortunes on the road. Earning fortunes means it must have been very commercial. But modern commercial music is not okay?

          “Classical music will become a dead art of the past, only living in the hands of a very few in isolated communities.” – It’s only natural that young people hunger for something new. It’s not just natural it’s also important. Having said that, I don’t think classical music will become a dead art of the past. Yes maybe there will be less money in it, but that’s also just a natural and normal developement and isn’t necessarily a horrible thing for art as a whole.

          “Little did I know my childhood was the end of a Golden Age.” – And when I’m old and look back at our current times I will say exactly the same… as generations of people have done for a very long time.

          • “I find it sad how little young people these days know or appreciate classical music. . .these pleasures don’t come very cheap)”

            . . .And there we have it.

  33. Dave Green says:

    Blossom Dearie made it clear some 30 years ago already. Technologies evolve but the issue remains the same (at 0:00:30 )

  34. Timon Wapenaar says:

    But do it when you’re fourteen-year old Mozart and, instead of being excommunicated, you get a pat on the head from the pope. ;p

    • Mark Beesley says:

      But also remember that Mozart and other composers at the time suffered hugely from copyright infringement……

      • @ Mark Beesley:

        Plus ça change…(!)…

      • Timon Wapenaar says:

        “The good composer does not imitate; he steals.” – Igor Stravinsky. To this I would add only that the difference between a good composer and a great composer is the difference between getting caught, and making off with the loot. Stravinsky was speaking at a time when memories of the past were more immediate, and the past was a source of inspiration, and a resource. Mozart was even more deeply rooted in a milieu which passed music freely between musicians (and across musical generations), in the knowledge that the gold standard of the musical economy was the musician and the musician’s genius, which was on display for all the world to see every time he took from the work of others to make his own. A poor attempt is shown up for the hackery it is, while a successful work shows respect to the original and does the composer credit. Who would even remember Diabelli if it weren’t for Beethoven? The idea that an amateur recording of a professional live performance can somehow compete in the marketplace (with either the live performance or the professional recording) says more about our own distorted idea of what music is than anything else. That having been said, I think the person who purchases a ticket to a concert only to sit there with an electronic gadget with which to do the listening by proxy, as it were, has wasted money.

        • “The idea that an amateur recording of a professional live performance can somehow compete in the marketplace (with either the live performance or the professional recording) says more about our own distorted idea of what music is than anything else.” The sales figures for classical music recordings are nothing like what they have been in recent history, and 24/7 access to a vast well-catalogued library of free material of whatever quality must be and in my opinion is a contributory factor.

          If a Wetherspoon’s budget-price pub opens in an English town its presence has an effect on the business for other pre-established pubs in the same area who have to get their acts together or risk going out of business. However … whatever one says about Wetherspoons they pay their council tax, they pay their corporation tax, they pay for what they sell which is not stolen property, and most important of all they charge a fair price for their products. So theirs is fair competition however it may be to others in the same marketplace.

          YouTube offers what appears to be “Free Beer” when of course it isn’t. It is a cash-grab where they do not pay their taxes, do not clear rights let alone pay for what they publish, and they run to the bank on some offshore island with billions in revenue from advertising. It is a great crafty business model, but one profoundly devious and parasitic – being funded by others largely unwillingly.

          • Wetherspoons might pay what people deem to be their due amounts of tax but one mifht be forgiven for wondering how and to what extent your argument would have been undermined had you names Starbucks instead of Wetherspoons!

            Be that as it may, however, I should perhaps emphasise again that I have not found YouTube to be especially difficult about removing material that infringes copyright; what I would nevertheless say, however, is that, when one considers that Naxos, for example, puts up copyright material for download without first obtaining copyright owners’ permission, it makes due returns and pays for these, it is arguably less than acceptable that YouTube has no mechanisms reflective of those of Naxos and seems to show no interest in developing any.

          • Timon Wapenaar says:

            Are we really attributing a drop in sales to YouTube (and other means of obtaining “free” digital music)? Because that seems to suggest to me that the public would rather listen to material which is either of substandard fidelity or out of copyright (usually because it has lost its cache) – and what does that tell you about the public, and the musicians? It tells me that the public either does not think the difference in quality/cache is enough to warrant a purchase (of a ticket or a “physical unit”, or a download), or that the public can’t tell the difference/doesn’t really care whether they listen to obscure recordings of perfectly accomplished pianists or whether they listen to the recording industry’s latest sensation. But the real reason for the drop in sales (which has occurred for the past decade, and across all genres) is simply that the market was overheated, and is now correcting itself. Once true price discovery is reintroduced, and people stop trying to inject invented value into the market, music will be valued according to its intrinsic properties once more, and we can all get back to earning an honest wage for honest work. One hopes.

          • As a long-term participant in the industry it is impossible for me to ignore the impact on sales of a massive, easily navigable comprehensive library of music available 24/7 free of charge without getting out of your chair, or for that matter out of your seat on a train going home.That is a reality.The big decline in sales of recorded music is not in any sense simply an adjustment after bloated times, that is not verifiable in the context of the very big decline contrasted by YouTube’s statistics. The issue has become whether people want to pay for commercial recordings when they can cherry-pick what they like for free, and it is inevitable this form of free home entertainment is habit-forming. Why buy a season-ticket for the bus if you can get on and off each day without anyone inspecting your ticket? The illicit recordings of live concerts enrich this catalogue dramatically, and it is not right. People buy tickets for a concert for the entitlement to enjoy the live event, not to create a new recording not only for their own collection but also to distribute as a freebie to hundreds and thousands of others who did not pay to go to the concert. I also hate sitting next to someone fumbling with a phone, pad or camera throughout a concert.

            As long as I can remember sales before the ‘bloated times’ were never as low as they are now. In 2013 a release can get well up the specialist classical charts in the UK with sales of a couple of hundred units, and that is a big dilution since the 1960′s and intervening decades. It also represents a figure which cannot fund new recordings unless they are sponsored by someone on some mission other than making a living from selling recordings.

            Many of us who are music professionals have no source of income other than our small but fair share of the revenue from ticket sales and sales of recordings. This way of life is being taken away from us by force by corporations who not only abuse the societies in which they operate by not paying tax but see music as a leisure commodity which should and for their purposes must be free at the point of delivery, so they can make money (loads and loads of it) out of advertising at their point of delivery.

            Something has to give. The first thing is to print unambiguous terms & conditions on concert tickets and posters ruling recording and photography as not acceptable in any circumstances. With ejection from the building, permanent confiscation of the technology and blacklisting from future concerts as probabilities if not certainties. The message should not take long to be registered. There should be little more embarassing than being removed from a concert-hall by bouncers in front of everyone else in the audience.

          • Timon Wapenaar says:

            @ Tony. The point is that I can’t get everything and anything I want on YouTube. How many recordings of the Leclair violin duets are there? Or the Wieniawski Etudes? And why do I have to switch clips in order to watch an entire Norrington recording of a Beethoven symphony? I would like to cherry pick, but I can’t. So I must assume that if people are watching the Norrington Beethoven on YouTube instead of paying for it, they don’t really mind the ridiculous interruptions. And what does that say about the job musicians have done of selling the music itself, as opposed to the “physical units”? To me it says that they allowed themselves to be seduced into a position which left them vulnerable to a sudden change in market dynamics. Much of this goes hand in hand with the idea that music is a leisure commodity, like fast food, but with a (slightly) longer shelf life. We aren’t going to fix this by trying to close all the loopholes in copyright law. We can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube. A friend of mine, a dear man – now sadly departed from us – who used to play flute for the SNO in the 50′s (and who gave Galway one or two lessons) once told me of the great suffering which the introduction of “talkies” caused amongst musicians, many of whom, including himself, had relied on the income from accompanying the hitherto silent films. When the recording industry took off shortly afterwards, it didn’t create performing opportunities for those who had been pushed to the margins. Instead, the jukebox kicked jobbing musicians out of pubs and bars. The introduction of cheaper, more portable PA systems didn’t right the imbalance: now musicians could fill larger rooms with fewer players. Now, even the A-list acts tour with backing tracks. The problem is not YouTube. The problem is that musicians put up with this treatment.

        • George Porter says:

          “I think the person who purchases a ticket to a concert only to sit there with an electronic gadget with which to do the listening by proxy, as it were, has wasted money.”

          He has also wasted my money, and time, if he is sitting close to me.

  35. Rgiarola says:

    Why a camera is always a problem for the audience?
    Mostly people got mouth, hands and legs, but just a few ones do noise with it during the concerts. The problem is not the mouth, hands, legs or camera, but the person that belongs it. Misbehavior is not a problem that started to happens after the creation of cameras. We’re losing the target here.

  36. People seem willing to accept that it is wrong to video a movie you’ve paid to go and see at the cinema. If you try and share that online you’re liable to be prosecuted. So why is it ok to video a live concert? And copyright issues aside, despite protestations on here to the contrary, it is annoying to other members of the audience and can be very distracting to the performer.

  37. bratschegirl says:

    This isn’t an issue of technology, it’s an issue of ethics. Nobody but the performer has the right to decide whether a given performance will be recorded and/or made available for additional listening, whether through commercial CD or YouTube. Yes, Valentina Lisitsa has mad a huge success of her YouTube presence, but SHE did that. She made the decision. Bootleg audio/video, whether simply for home use or posted on YouTube, however adoring and well-meaning the fans who do it, happens without the artists’ consent and is theft of their work, plain and simple.

    The comment about films above is exactly on point. No reasonable person would argue that “but I want to see it again after I go home!” is adequate justification for recording a film during a theatrical presentation. Your ticket to a concert entitles you to sit in the hall and listen to it.

    • Theft is the “taking and removing of personal property with intent to deprive the rightful owner of it”. So no, it is not theft plain and simple. It is actually a very complex problem.
      A very intelligent man, named Thomas Jefferson wrote this: “If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea… Its peculiar character, too, is that no one possesses the less, because every other possesses the whole of it. [...] as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me.” – this is the reason why applying the concepts of property to intellectual “property” rights is so difficult.
      Mr. Zimerman is not deprived of anything if someone records his performance and later watches it at home. That person with a recording devices doesn’t steal anymore than someone with a genius-memory who remembers every second of the concert.
      The only possible way that recording this could be equated to stealing, was if you were to take something away from the artist by doing something with that recording afterwards. That would be the case if you commercially sold your recording and thereby deprived the artist of the possibility to sell his own recordings. But, as already mentioned numerous times, I (and many others) highly doubt that bad-quality videos on YouTube have a negative impact on the sales of recordings – they’re likely more of a free advertisment.
      Filming at a concert is not theft, plain and simple, it’s disobeying the house rules.

      • Your definition of theft holds in this case. A bootlegger deprives the artist of the control of dissemination of reproductions of his/her performance. The artist and venue (and composer, if they hold a right) get to decide this one, not the audience. It’s theft, clearly and simply.

  38. There seem to be 2 debates here: recording a live concert, and Youtube postings. the two do not automatically go together. YouTube quality is simply not good. Finding great performances on YouTube have never put me off for buying the proper DVD or CD. If anything, they are little temporary doorstops until I get hold of the real thing. In fact, discovering things on YouTube usually makes me spend a fortune on Amazon right after! Young performers without the big contracts are desperate for advertising and promotion. In my case, Youtube has been indispensable as a career-building tool and advertising Chanel. I would not like people to film my performances without my permission, because I do not have control over the quality of what they choose to post. As I understand it, most venues do not allow filming. I think artists have the right to allow filming or not. In KZ’s case, he ASKED the filter to stop, who refused. I think he was within his rights to refuse to play. But to blame Youtube for him losing recording contracts, is just nonsense. If anything, it has made him more famous. For free.

    • Sorry to jump in sounding like a Devil’s Advocate, but on a purely technical level the picture and audio quality on YouTube can be truly excellent. We have supplied H.264 mp4 files for uploading to YouTube which look and sound great if the source material is clean and well made to a professional standard. The maximum quality setting available on YouTube for audio is superior to that of BBC Radio3 on DAB. The picture quality can be as high as 1920×1080 which exceeds that of BBC tv to most viewers.

      Much of what ends up on YouTube looks rough simply because it is not made to a high standard in the first place. Junk in equals junk out as far as quality is concerned.

      • Rgiarola says:


        I’ve got to disagreed with you. YouTube got the official limit of 30 frames per second, but in the practical perspective it cannot reach nothing more than 24. It is easy to acquire a small camera that can tape on 60 fps. This is the thing that cause difference on image and sound qualities. Sharpness has very little to do with image quality, and resolution has little to do with sharpness. Resolution (pixel count) has nothing to do with picture quality. Content at 1080i 60 Fps, should be deinterlaced, going from 60 interlaced fields per second to 30 progressive frames per second before uploading. If you don’t believe me, please check youtube explanation on

        I’m not saying that there isn’t any quality on Youtube, but it is far from any professional standard. However, I’m sure that in the near future it will change.

        • I have no problem with you disagreeing with me about the technical quality of YouTube. The various merits of 24p, 25p, 30p, 50i, 50p, 60i and 60p are beyond the scope of this blog. However I believe it is correct to establish that as a channel YouTube is capable of delivering quality, and that most of the poor quality you see and hear on YouTube is down to the poor quality of the original source material. One of the main technical issues is data rate, not simply whether the footage is 60p or 24p. 24p is the standard for movies and although I agree it is a shame movies are not shot at 48p, 50p or 60p, there are many quality issues which overwhelm frame-rate.

          As a business we work on about twenty HD video live concert recordings each year, and about twenty or twenty five additional audio-only recordings. Many clients now want 5min to 8min long YouTube promotional content to be made up for marketing purposes and I feel no embarassment about the technical quality YouTube delivers. It will upgrade I am sure as H265 comes in and if there is demand for upgrading which I reckon there will be. From a technical point of view YouTube is remarkable. My problem is with their ethics of a default position where they assume consent and broadcast licensing rights from all relevant parties including performers and concert promoters. As is obvious from Mr. Zimerman’s upset and that of many, many performers, the default position is that most of these recordings of major events in major venues are being made not only without permission, but when the shooter is aware that he/she is recording without permission and the artists are anything but happy about it.

    • I completely agree with your statement about YouTube! I, too, have spent a lot more money on music because of YouTube than I would have without it, simply because I have discovered things on YouTube that I would never have heard of otherwise.
      I would like to add to that, that classical music generally has relatively old audiences, not necessarily the young people who spend hours on the Internet every day. When I go to a classical concert (which I do approximately 2-3 times a year) I often feel like I’m in a retirement home and have more than once made a game out of trying to find people who look younger than me (I’m 20) – there have been occasions when I haven’t found a single person. In fact, I doubt that a lot of those people at the concerts even know what YouTube is… My point is, I don’t think Mr. Zimerman or other classical interpreters will lose those people to YouTube. Rather, YouTube makes it possible for them to reach a much broader audience and possibly get them interested.

      As for the filming during concerts, I completely agree, that an artist has the right to choose whether he wants to be recorded or not. If there are rules that say you can’t, then you have to obey them and if you don’t then they have the right to remove you from the venue.
      BUT: an artist is NOT within his rights if he refuses to deliver his part of a deal to hundreds of concert guests, just because ONE of those ignored their side of the contract. If any non-artist did something like that it wouldn’t even need to be discussed. Imagine a cinema-owner would stop the movie and tell everyone to go home, because ONE guest’s cell phone went of. Or imagine your cellphone provider turned off the network for everyone, because one customer didn’t pay the bill. It’s not okay, and as I’ve said before it shows what a contorted sense of self-importance some of these people have. Because they’re artists and people admire them they seem to think that they are above regular-people-rules and can do whatever they want if it serves their artistic expression. Well, they can’t. And what Mr. Zimerman did was not okay.

  39. It’s for the love of the music, not money, isn’t it?

    • In practice, it’s about both. It has to be. Bills must be paid.

      Actually, in any professional art form, in practice, it’s about (in no particular order) the art, the money, and the ego. Perhaps it shouldn’t be, but it is.

  40. I am sorry in advance to those who disagree but whose performance is this? It is Krystian Zimmerman’s, and if he does not want someone to record it on their smartphone then he has every right to let them know.

    He will have put in time and effort to preparing for the concert, and simply knowing he is being recorded adds extra pressure, extra to that of performing live in front of an audience.

    It does not matter that he is being paid to play. That actually makes matters worse: as does the fact he has a recording contract with DG.

    His behaviour is not childish or petulant. He is simply a performer protecting his professional interests.

    One does not go to the cinema and film the experience, and the same is the case when one goes to the theatre. So why do people think they can do the same when they go to a concert?

    The arguement that they are filming part of their life does not wash. So they are happy to broadcast themselves in the bathroom? No! I thought not.

    Recording concerts is anti-social and affects other people. Smartphones should be turned off in the concert hall. Should your babysitter need to contact you check in the interval or better still establish emergency protocols that do not drag you out mid-performance.

    There is no need for this kind of selfish behaviour by audience members. Regardless of the effect on the performance, there are issues concerning intellectual property rights and performance rights too. Plus it is simply rude.

    • “whose performance is this? It is Krystian Zimmerman’s,”

      No. Any performance is a collaboration between the artists and the audience. It belongs to all of them.

      • Sorry Jeffrey. I disagree. It is Mr Zimmerman who put in the hours practising. How the audience perceives it is their business.

        Incidentely that is how I view it when I perform as a singer. The collaboration is with my fellow musicians on the stage. I feed off the vibes in the concert hall and would be rather hacked off if someone was to get out their smartphone.

        I would tell them politely to turn it off.

        • …And the performance and the perception combined are what makes it art.

          You put your finger on it exactly: he “put in the hours practising.” Until the audience was added, that’s all it was: practice.

          • Paul Chambers says:

            I’ve already said I wish people wouldn’t film when I’m playing (with others) but because it’s bad manners, and distracting for us and for other audience members, not out of preciosity about my Art or because I think I “own” my peformance in some sort of vaguely mystical way. I take it we all agree that going to a classical music concert normally assumes a quietly receptive and contemplative atmosphere, and that *any* distractions are unwelcome? That should be the end of the matter, really, but there are clearly related issues. There should always be an announcement that filming is not allowed. (I don’t care much about unobtrusive sound recording: it’s usually by anorak enthusiasts rather than the commercial pirates you get at rock concerts: if anyone can make a lot of money out of most classical concerts, good luck to them!). I think the Youtube thing is largely irrelevant: I’m not a great lover of YT, like most other big sites they’re just in it for the money, but I would say that in among all the dross there are a lot of gems, often interesting concerts you’d never otherwise see, or long-deleted recordings ditto, or student renderings of unusual repertoire. The audiovisual quality is often perfectly acceptable, and in some cases excellent It isn’t going to put any serious artists out of business. Finally, I know we should be prepared to make some allowances for genius and all that, but what happened to “the show must go on”? If we all threw our toys out of the pram and walked off stage every time something about a venue was sub-optimal or a conductor displeased us in some way (surely not!) we’d never get through a concert. Keeping going is part of the discipline.

      • Saul Davis says:

        A performance is in no way a collaboration. The audience may have an influence, but a performance may go on, with or without them. They are participants as recipients only. They only possess their memory and the way in which they are changed by the experience. All the get for the money is a ticket to an experience. The same artist will perform the same concert for many audiences. Though each performance may differ, they differ because of the artist, even if the audience influences the artist, it is the artist who is influenced.

        • Thank you Saul. I realised that Jeremy and I were not going to agree.

          I spoke as a performer. The performance as far as the active part is concerned is the property of those who are performing.

          As an audience member I would not have the arrogance to believe I owned any part of a performance. The experience may go on and inspire me to do great things, but it is the performers who actually are doing the hard work.

        • “a performance may go on, with or without them. ”

          …In which case, it’s just a practice session.

  41. NO!!!

    The artist know that is a performance as they have been building up to the occasion.

    Who is in the audience is irrelevant

  42. Reading these comments, it seems to me that the majority would like to go backwards in time. This is, clearly, impossible.

    The classical music industry can either become like a museum or adapt. It is as simple as that.

    The other music types are adapting; they are finding ways to monetize performances. This includes bootleg recordings on the internet. Streaming and youtube views are counted in the music charts.

    Perhaps instead of condemning, those within the classical music industry ought to sit down and think of a way to take the vast material already available to make classical music part of the music industry conversation – instead of a step child clinging to the past.

    I have great regard for musicians and agree a way must be found that is respectful. A way must be found, however, or classical music will be left behind as all other music wends its way around the globe on laptops, iPads and mobile phones.

  43. James Creitz says:

    SO many arguments here to which I gladly add one or three.

    If one can accuse Mr. Zimerman of many things, these should include an unrelenting and almost obsessive perfectionism. Rare is the artist who limits his repertoire in order to always be exquisitely prepared. How many performers plan their concerts in order to transport their own piano with several alternative keyboards/mechanics/hammers, in order to chose the right one for the hall in which they are performing? I have experienced him, when performing on other instruments, taking 4 hours on the day of the concert to practice and get “his” sound out of that instrument. He is a fanatic about sound and we should be grateful for an artist who invests so much to produce the sound he is looking for.

    I can easily imagine how disturbed he could be, after this study and care, to have his sound reduced to an mp3 on a smartphone. I also imagine he would abhor seeing and hearing the result on Youtube and thinking: “THIS is how people are hearing me?”.

    I am quite sure he has an exclusive contract with DG and cannot record for other venues. He certainly has a clause in his concert contracts which ban any type of recording. It is embarrassing that he had to confront this situation, which should be the duty of the presenter. I cannot imagine he welcomed this situation or the ensuing publicity.

    This is neither new nor unique. I recall Rostropovich stopping a performance in Rome years ago when he noticed a professional video camera. He resumed the concert after his fee was very quickly renegotiated!

    This said, any conjecture on whether Mr. Zimerman would be better served by being on Youtube or not is irrelevant. This is HIS decision, together with his recording company. He obviously wants control of the process and it would seem that he cares HOW we hear his performances.

  44. It is very difficult for fans like us to know which stars like videos/fotos and which stars hate them. There is a very popular classical/crossover artist in Germany, who’s website /forum/ facebook has hundreds of fan videos /fotos and they are very, very inspiring. His concerts are always sold out. The next day we go to another concert and the star gets mad if someone makes a video – it is so confusing.

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