Sound recording in public

Today I saw someone hastily pocketing their M-Audio Microtrack II while listening on headphones; instantly recognisable from its strange scientific looking stereo mic configuration. If only sound recording devices were more socially acceptable like the digital camera one could carry it around in public without raising suspicion. It feels like there’s a stigma around sound recording equipment – they are alien devices, unknown by most and akin to spy like technology. Taking a photo of a someone in public is more acceptable than recording their voice because as a society infused with CCTV and remoteĀ surveillance we have become used to a visual invasion of privacy. Audible privacy is something we feel we own the right to; sometimes stepping out of that right in a public conversation on a mobile phone for example. I think there is a fear that our social exploits would be used in a negative way such as if the words on this blog were turned around for a different use. If a conversation happens in public – who owns the sound if it were recorded? If everyone was being recorded in public right now would we be more careful about what was being said?

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3 thoughts on “Sound recording in public

  1. Colin Hunter says:

    On the contrary, I think people just aren’t used to seeing portable recorders and find the idea of phonography unusual. But more often than not, people show a real interest in what I’m doing when they see me with my recorder. That said, I’m happy to be in a minority of sound recordists!

    • Glad to hear it. What sort of things do you record and where?

      • Colin Hunter says:

        I love to archive my travels around the world by recording the soundscapes that I discover. The sounds that interest me the most cannot really be put into one specific catagory, but are those that make the place that they exist within unique. I also think it’s important to archive these sounds as the modern soundscape is forever changing and forever getting more noisy. All my recordings are logged on a sound map that can be found on my website.

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