Loud Singing at Concerts Is Dividing the Internet

It seems no one can agree on how we're supposed to behave when we're seeing live music.

tiktok beyonce and billie eilish concert screengrabs

Beyoncé fans from the US are big mad, but not at what you'd expect them to be. They're mad—or actually, not mad, just disappointed—at European crowds.

Lately, a good amount of TikToks have gone viral for showing what it's allegedly like to attend a Beyoncé concert in Europe from an American's perspective. The answer? Quiet. "[Beyoncé] giving it 120% and the Swedish crowd is watching seated like it's the opera!!!" reads the overtext in one of the viral videos, as the camera shows a very composed and collected audience. "They don't understand the culture [crying emojis]," adds the caption. Towards the end of the video, a Bey fan is even shown laying down horizontally across multiple seats and possibly taking a nap.

If you fall down that specific rabbit hole, you'll soon see a pattern, and realize that, apparently, it wasn't just that one TikToker that caught the crowd "lacking." On another video from the Renaissance Tour in Stockholm, two American fans recorded themselves singing and dancing during Bey's performance, while the rest of the crowd is shown standing still, at times with their arms crossed too.

"Most of the show was just me screaming and dancing [laughing emoji]," reads the caption. "My friend brought it to my attention that I'm American and not everyone acts like us, lol." And as the video's comment section hints, this seems to be a widespread problem that goes beyond Stockholm and Sweden and, apparently, affects other parts of Europe as well. "I'm going in Cardiff and I'm already about to book for a US Show cause I can't do this quiet mess," noted one user.

Compared to how concerts are lived out in the US, that's quite a difference—but different doesn't necessarily mean bad. On the other hand, even within the US concert-going culture a similar debate has emerged as live music has returned post-pandemic. As other outlets have recently questioned, is there such a thing as concert etiquette, and is there a universally agreed-upon way to show your excitement at concerts? We are not really sure and, quite frankly, neither is the internet. 

A specific kind of TikTok video has sparked quite the debate: Is it cool to sing your lungs out at concerts or should you try and keep the decibels to a minimum? Is it actually rude to the artist to be too quiet? Those arguing against loud singing are bringing technology into the mix.

"To the person who thinks they can out sing Billie Eilish and ruined all my videos," reads the overtext on one viral TikTok that challenged the issue. "[You're] not the main character," the caption continues.

According to comments, the crowd singer was being so loud that even the most diplomatic users changed their mind and picked the poster's side. "When I first read it I was like 'can't be that bad just let people have fun,'" reads one comment. "But nvm."

The same problem apparently presented itself at a Taylor Swift concert, where a mom reportedly asked the poster (and screamer!) to "calm down" since they were scaring her 7-year old daughter. In the video, the poster is heard screaming and singing very loudly as Taylor Swift is performing right in front of the camera.

Extra-hype supporters, though, don't seem to agree with the mom's request. "I'd be like, 'nah I'm having the time of my life,'" reads one comment. Another user is less keen on giving explanations: "I would've told her [stars emoji] no [stars emoji]."

Critics of this approach, however, cite concert etiquette to prove their point. It isn't a personal take on your excitement. Rather, it is a matter of being considerate and respectful of those who experience and enjoy concerts in a different way, which is to say without the loud screaming.

"Nooooo I feel bad for the people paying hundreds of dollars to see their idol that won't be able to even hear her because of this," reads one of the comments to the TikTok. Another user takes a moment to explain the point, too. "But keep in mind that there is a difference between having fun & singing and then being so loud it [affects] ppl around u and they can't hear her over u," the comment reads.

When popular millennial YouTuber Tyler Oakley reposted the Billie Eilish TikTok to his Twitter account with the caption "the way this would ruin my entire experience, unfortunately," the post was met with much more disagreement than the comment section on TikTok.

While some people agreed with Oakley, others called out his take, basically defining it as selfish. "I'm not [agreeing] with you," reads one reply. "Why should that person deprive themselves of singing the songs just so they don't ruin the video for you?"

The same user then continued. "​If you want to have spectacular audio, listen to the studio recordings, that's what they are for. concerts are to live them, not to record them and show them on social media."

But Oakley replied back, this time pointing out it isn't a matter of ruining videos. "concerts are to hear the artist sing live, not to hear some girl who thinks she's the artist people came for. like… if you want to perform, sing in the shower. & we shall disagree!"

At the end of the day, though, while your excitement and how much fun you're having is important, you should always try and be a respectful concertgoer to ensure the experience is memorable for everyone around you. That means that, yes, you should totally be allowed to sing and scream for your favorite artist—but maybe try and either keep the volume reasonable or avoid singing throughout the entire concert.

On the other hand, yes, you should also be able to take your videos to treasure your memories, but you should also always remember that concerts are made for crowds, and a perfect video will never be possible—so you'd better take some crowd singing and screaming into account beforehand.

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Serena Tara is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.