It used to be all an artist had to worry about onstage was someone throwing a rock, bottle or Frisbee at him/her whilst performing. Then came the idiots with laser pointers who tried to blind musicians in the middle of songs. Now the threat is drones. Yes, drones.
Take what happened to Enrique Iglesias last week. During a gig in Tijuana, he reached up to grab a camera-equipped drone that was being used to take overhead shots of the crowd. The result was some bad cuts, reconstructive surgery for a badly broken middle finger and a skin graft.
While this was a performance mishap–the drone was clearly being used in the show and not an attack by Muse to promote their new album, Drones (although I love that theory)–this underscores a problem with these things. From The Hollywood Reporter:
Small drones like the $2,900 DJI Inspire 1, a 6.5-pound flying contraption with four 13-inch propeller blades — the same model used at Coachella in April to capture aerial shots of performances — have crashed on the White House lawn, flown dangerously close to airports, hovered above a professional baseball game in Philadelphia and spotted whales off the California coast. Their sales are soaring, with venture capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers estimating that global shipments will increase 167 percent to 4.3 million units in 2015. Naturally, with the demand for instant access, it’s just a matter of time before drones offering a digital bird’s eye view are buzzing over many live-music events.
That potential nuisance instantly turned into a possible danger with Iglesias’ injury (despite the open gash, the singer finished his set, drawing the shape of a heart with his own blood on his T-shirt) bringing into focus issues of liability and responsibility. It also raises a looming question: What if a drone seriously injures a fan?