Ariana Grande's Sweetener Tour Just Went Sour: News And Media Outlets Protesting Tour Photography Policy

Ariana Grande's Sweetener Tour Just Went Sour: News And Media Outlets Protesting Tour Photography Policy

According to the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA), the tour agreement photographers must sign to document her concerts requires transfer of the full copyright of the images taken to her tour company and that they obtain written permission from Ariana Grande herself for the photographer to be able to even post the images.

What’s worse is that once the photographer gets permission to use the images, they are only allowed to post as a news-related item for the publication they work for and can only use the image once. Yes, once. The agreement also states that photographers are only allowed to take photos for the first three songs and must stay in one designated location (that part is more standard). The NPPA has posted the full agreement on their website.

At least 15 outraged news and media outlets including The National Press Photographers Associate (NPPA), Associated Press, Gannett, and The New York Times, have sent letters to the tour company protesting the contract. In a letter written to Grande’s Representatives by NPPA General Counsel Mickey H. Osterrecher, he states that “this surprising and very troubling overreach by Ms. Grande runs counter to legal and industry standards and is anathema to core journalistic principles of the news organizations represented here.”

NPPA President Michael P. King has commented on the issue, stating: “We cannot in good conscience advise our members to sign such an agreement as it currently stands, and we will be actively and publicly reaching out to photographers and their publications cautioning them against signing it.”

No word at this point if there has been any response from Ariana Grande's side.

Lead Image by Wendy Wei from Pexels

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Jonathan Brady's picture

Well, if that's the case then they're are only hastening the previously snail paced inevitable, which is a service to the photographers, IMO.

Ann Quimby's picture

but publications won't run photos provided by the artist. Artists still need reviews.

molten pros's picture

They don't need photos for reviews. They are reviewing performances not what color shirt they are wearing.

Deleted Account's picture

The problem is you'd have to have 100% participation for it to work and these things never work.

Jonathan Brady's picture

I hear threats of decapitation are a strong deterrent... 🤷‍♂️
😂

molten pros's picture

This is what happens when Photographers sue artists for using their own photos. Now the artists are fighting back with contracts. I am with the artists on this one. I think that when a photographer takes a picture of an artist the copyright should be split down the middle or at least the artist should be able to use the photos for any purpose. It is ridiculous that photographers sue artist when the picture would not be possible or worth anything without the artist being in it. This is what photographers get for being greedy and unreasonable.

Leo Lee's picture

I’m with the Artist as well. I’m not fond of (mainly the New), yet also the older generation of Photographers overly eager to make money rather than a piece of art. Those who do it for the quick cash have that certain mindset that push these new rules to be made.

Robert Escue's picture

So you two don't object to artists bending photographers over a table in order to get more photos under their terms as opposed to the ones generally accepted by most musicians, publications and record labels?

I shoot concerts and Ariana Grande and her management team are (1) wanting to force photographers to give up the rights to their work in order to shoot and (2) if you bothered to read the contract, they are punishing photographers by forcing them to shoot from the soundboard, not the photo pit. For most venues, the soundboard is at the back of the venue (what they call the front of the house).That means the photographers either get lousy photos or they buy or borrow expensive glass to get the shots they would normally get from the photo pit. A guy I know had to use a 500 mm lens to shoot Ringo Starr. I told him that I would have said no and went home. My perspective is that Ariana and her management is punishing photographers by denying them pit access whether they shot her and used the photos correctly or not.

It is easy to claim that Ariana's (or any other performer for that matter) image is being used inappropriately, so where are the lawsuits and prosecutions at? Funny I haven't read any articles about photographers being sued by Ariana Grande or her management.

Some of my friends have experienced artists who wanted contact sheets and to approve every photo used by the publication to the point where the newsworthiness of the event is long over. You hang out with enough concert photographers you will discover that we are getting screwed just as much as the artists claim they are.

I am not saying that improper use of photos doesn't happen, but this isn't the 1970's where guys would shoot shows and sell prints from a van less than an hour after they shot them. And what about all those people shooting stills and video with smartphones? If close enough, the quality is good enough to use for the very purposes Ariana and her management is complaining about.

I hope photographers and publications give Ariana the finger and refuse to shoot her shows out of principle and see how long it is before the terms become more reasonable. Other artists have done similar things with various degrees of failure. Some people will agree to the terms, most won't.

Leo Lee's picture

She gets paid by album/song sales also including merch, not by the children hungry to take her picture and make a name for themselves. Get over your photography skills, move on to the next client. Adapt to the world, don’t except the world to adapt to you.

I’ve hung out with great concert photographers who respect the art, and I’ve hung out with concert photographers who are pumped to get a media pass and watch and shoot a show for free. Let’s be honest of those two catagories which do you think there are more of, Moochers or people who treat this industry like a true art form?

Keep in mind, She is the most followed woman in the world on Instagram, respect her decision. People don’t make rules like this because they are mad with little, to no reason. Understand the shooters want her more than she will EVER need them.

Andy Barnham's picture

Who makes decisions such as this; is it the artist or management? Such a contract is bound to get a reaction which makes me wonder if the purpose of it was to garner column inches and media attention?

And I agree that I haven’t seen any news regarding legal action against unauthorised merchandise.

molten pros's picture

If you didn't see reports of Photographers suing Artists then you are living under a rock. I understand how copyright works, I just don't agree with it because I find it unfair to the Artists. If I am a famous person and someone takes a photo of me, that photo becomes valuable and I agree that the photographer should be able to sell the photo and gain a profit. What I don't get is that the artist cannot use the photo without the Photographer's permission, even though this is a photo of the artist and all value of the photo is derived from the artist image. The artist should have the right to use the photo for personal and for marketing. The reason why we are here to today is because photographers are too greedy and now artists have to protect their own image rights. Photographers who don't want to share rights can choose to shoot landscape. A tree won't challenge copyright.

Robert Escue's picture

Then explain the contract I signed when I shot Slayer last year stating I cannot use any of the photos I shot of them outside of the article I wrote about the show without their permission. Do you even shoot concerts?

This is yet another rights grab by an artist. Ask a concert photographer besides me what they think of it. I'm over the "poor starving artists" who laugh to the bank and have an army of lawyers to beat people up.

michaeljin's picture

Yeah... that's not how copyright works. Also, you can't just monetize photographs you take however you want to. You can sell them for certain uses, but many commercial uses would require a model release. Our legal system is already structured to deal with this scenario.

Ann Quimby's picture

split the copyright? that's idiotic. Your opinion has nothing to do with the law. You obviously must not be a photographer or a creative of any kind. Giving away Intellectual Property to someone who has nothing to do with it's creation is just irrational. Ok, so give the subject the copyright? Let's expand on it. Give the copyright to the subjects in all those family photos, wedding shots, business and acting headshots, etc. Have you ever taken a photograph? I'm sure you should give up your copyrights too.

molten pros's picture

I am a full-time professional Photographer and Cinematographer. Try to stay on topic. We are talking about Artists not weddings and family photos.

Stephen Ironside's picture

I hope she just starts getting zero photos and zero press coverage. I'm sure their tone will change pretty quickly...

Lane Shurtleff's picture

HAHAHAHAHAHAhahahaaha is if she needs "press coverage". That's the big problem these days now that every Tom, Dick or Harry has a cellphone with video or IG uploading during a show. Concert photographers are useless.

Robert Escue's picture

If her management team is still offering credentials, there must be some use for concert photographers unless you actually believe that every Tom, Dick and Harry can outshoot a concert photographer with their phone.

Jacques Cornell's picture

Unless you want photos that are actually GOOD. Phone photos from the 35th row in low light pretty much just suck.

Lane Shurtleff's picture

Don't know about what crappy cellphone you use, but I can get really good HD video from the 35th row (it's not as far away from a massive stage as you might think. But again, we're talking about all those fans in the first 10-15 rows holding up ipads and phones blocking all the others who can't see a damn thing.

Jacques Cornell's picture

Read again: "PHOTOS", not video. Try making a large print of a single person from an HD video shot with a wide-angle lens from 100' away. You'd be lucky to get a decent-looking postage stamp. Like I said, "Unless you want photos that are actually GOOD".

Robert Nurse's picture

That's if your cell phone is even allowed in the venue. In Dave Chappelle's last tour cell phones got locked up in special bags.
https://www.overyondr.com/

Lane Shurtleff's picture

We're talking about standard 15,000 seat venues sparky not stand-up comedy events where cell phones are a massive distraction during a quiet crowd listening to a comic. Also the cellphone ban is to prevent crap like the Louis CK secret taping issue.

michaeljin's picture

Sounds like maybe she should just say no photos at all and hire her own photographers exclusively out of pocket to cover the concert if that's how she wants to play it.

Deleted Account's picture

Who?

Leo Lee's picture

Is that your type of comedy? Disrespect women who feel they’ve been used by this type of community? She credits every photo to the shooters on Instagram, oh and She is the most followed woman in the world on Instagram.
She’s mastered her craft, a true person of “perfect pitch” in her chosen art form.... in the photography world you would need to be a grand master of light, shadows, and color to compare to her skill level in her craft. Her music will outlast any photo you will ever take.... don’t be so ignorant rob.

Deleted Account's picture

I'm liking your comedy there too.

I really did have to Google her. Sorry for not having my finger on the pulse of what's hip with the kids.
I don't live in the US, I don't listen to popular radio.

jay holovacs's picture

This is Disney. Not surprising at all.

Spy Black's picture

This is new pattern of corporate greed. Expect too see it spread far and wide:
https://fstoppers.com/architecture/copyright-rules-new-nyc-landmark-allo...

Jacques Cornell's picture

I guess she doesn't want any independent professional coverage. She can hire her own pros and steal images from her fans.

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