January 07, 2003
You're Nobody Until Somebody Loves You Enough To Want Your Bootlegs

...in the music world, according to a NYTimes article on the trading of bootleg concert recordings. While bands like the Grateful Dead and Pearl Jam allow the free recording and trading of their live performances, it is a copyright violation to do so with any performance where no permission is given. But artists have to object before the RIAA will step in, and as the article says, "Artists who prosecute individual fans for merely indulging in music beyond their official CD's would be about as cool as a Guy Lombardo record."

Live show recordings are typically traded by mail to assure highest quality, but traders and fans meet on the Internet to talk about shows, compare notes and arrange trades. Also, some fans believe they are preserving the legacy of performances, sort of the way heirloom seed traders have preserved heirloom vegetables after the Ag industry standardized food production down to just a couple of homogenized varieties. Listening to a live 1975 bootleg of the Rolling Stones' concert "L.A. Friday" may be a more authentic and vivid experience than listening to a heavily mixed and managed studio recording of the same music "Love You Live," the band's official concert album of that time. Kind of like the difference between eating a Brandywine or Striped Marvel tomato and having a square supermarket tomato.

Posted by Mary Hodder at January 07, 2003 09:39 AM

This kind of activity is also happeneing with talk show hosts. For example, there are "tapers" of Howard Stern who have tapes of all his shows since the 80's. These tapers are posting their shows to the Internet on the same day, every day, day in and day out. Talk about dedication. The result? If you are traveling or live out of the country (or just live in one of the few states that doesn't get Stern) you can download the days show as it is happening (i.e. download the last hour right now, so you're an hour behind). No one has picked up on this one yet (as far as I know), but I'm sure it will be in the NYT next year.

Posted by: Jason McCabe Calacanis on January 9, 2003 08:22 AM
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