Dear Robben: An Open Letter to Robben Ford Regarding the use of Cameras during Live Performances

Mr. Ford,

Your prohibition of cameras at your live performances and the way you react to photographers is alienating your fans and driving them away from future shows.

I certainly understand your intolerance of cameras. My ability to perform is negatively affected by the use of technology during my 'shows.' I perform six times per week and I have a strict ban on any cell phone or electronics use in my presence. However, I can enforce this rule because those in attendance are (a) required to be there and (b) I can bribe them by offering them a bonus for obedience.

Moreover, I don't even have to enforce this rule myself as the attendees of my performances police themselves in order to receive as much of a bonus as possible. The last person who attempted to sneak a use of her phone received a verbal thrashing by her peers and she started to cry for blowing it for others.

Collective punishment works with Marines and it works on little league baseball teams and it works in classrooms.

All this works for me but it cannot work for you.

Your fans are not required to attend your shows (you're the one begging here if you want to have a future) and you have no surplus that can be withdrawn and you cannot rely on your fans to police each other.

Yes, the music business sucks and you're being ripped off at every turn but that's the life you chose and, like every entertainer you are at the mercy of your fans. When you ruin their experience they will, ultimately, ruin your life.

Like foreign nations buying US T-Bills you have the choice of slow motion exploitation by going along to get along or rapid extinction by refusing to let the one with the real power have its way.

You are a talented musician but, like every entertainer, you are a slave to the audience and when the slave gets mentally upside-down by imagining that their conferred authority is intrinsic to their being, they will be cast aside for one more entertaining.

Say "Cheese!"