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So Who Makes Bootlegs?

When I wrote about wanting some rare Poison tunes, I received some comments - and a lot of private emails about bootlegs. This sort of got me thinking about the whole bootleg process. Way back in the day - and especially in the 80s - it seemed like music fans loved to make bootlegs of concerts, create tapes and mail them around to other liked-minded fans. I don't think anyone makes bootlegs much anymore.

Now, I know tapes aren't needed for boots - an MP3 recorder and an Internet connection and anyone can spread anything all over the world. But really, it seems like people just aren't that into concerts period these days. Maybe it's the fear of being caught, so I can't be sure. In all honesty, I've never tried to make a boot of a concert and I doubt I'd be good at it anyway. I just remember looking at websites and seeing bootlegs for like every Aerosmith concert and this just blows my mind. What if today's generation of kids isn't making bootlegs of their favorite bands? It's sort of like losing a piece of history.

Everyone already knows my opinion on the whole illegal downloading thing - I don't do it. But I sort of feel like if I want to take my MP3 recorder into a concert venue and capture a song or three, that should be okay. Notice I didn't even say anything about passing the recording around - I just think that someone out there should be keeping the bootleg hobby alive.

Maybe I'm crazy (ok, I know I'm crazy!) and people are bootlegging all around me. Heck, maybe you do it at every show. It just seems to me like the practice has gone by the wayside...and that is sort of sad. Thoughts?

Reader Comments (23)

When me and my friends go to concerts we don't make bootlegs like that, but we always record the artists on digital cameras and phones and stuff during the best songs
January 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLucifer
The bootleg circuit is stronger than ever.
January 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGeorge
The "bootleg" trading market may have diminished (at least I don't see it), but there is no shortage of live recordings. All you have to do is go to YouTube and you can find videos of virtually any show within hours of the concert. A search on BitTorrent will often turn up full live audio and/or video concerts. Some bands, such as Metallica, also provide complete soundboard recordings of their shows for download the day after a show.
January 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBryon
there is a great is a bootleg community with thousands of shows from all aspects of music
January 9, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteral rose
It's a wonder it is not more popular today as it was in the 70's, 80's and 90's. The pocket sized recorders that are available now are not only portable but great sounding as well. Try to visualize the guy in 1985 who attends a concert armed with a camcorder (full size, of course) under his winter coat, going through security, finding a seat, then waiting for the house lights to go out. The house lights go, from under the coat comes the behemoth of modern gadgetry. In total darkness the attempts for set-up are made, hopefully only the push of the record button if well prepared. The biggest obstacle of this whole scenerio is holding this 12lb. camera up and steady for the next 90 to 120 minutes, all while not getting caught and the camera confiscated. Not an easy task.
January 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChris D.
I think it all comes down to this... there are less and less "die-hard" music fans all the time. It seems people these days "love" a band after they illegally download the act's top three singles.
January 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBlaine
I think Blaine hit it - too few "diehard" fans. I've been looking for bootlegs of some Endeverafter, Airbourne, and Black Stone Cherry shows - and there just aren't that many out there. Lots of Crue, tons of Poison, even Black Label Society has a strong fanbase that makes bootlegs. But the newer bands are just too new I guess, and people don't bother.
January 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJT
there is a great site for bootlegs, its called i ve been using this site for years and have found alot of good stuff there.
January 9, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterbumblefootboy
I'm not sure any research went into this. It is estimated that more live concerts were bootlegged in 2009 than in any other preceding year. These days its not just a question of which show you want its which source do you want to choose? Add to that mobile videos and digital recordings and even a growing number of artists either allowing taping or bootlegging themselves the 'industry' is now huge. The best part of course is that now pretty much everything new is free!
January 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMark
bootlegs have gone from audio to visual now. Alot of people have hit the nail on the head: small equipment which can get perfect sound quality, and a lack of diehard fans.

a great place to find bootlegs is guitars101. just google band and guitars101. I've never looked for newer bands however, but alot of stuff (including Paris (pre poison)) can be found there
January 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSteve
Thanks for the link Steve. Checking it out right now... This doesn't hurt my very ANTI-PIRATING stance does it?
January 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBlaine
I don't know about mainstream rock, but I know that jam bands like Gov't Mule encourage taping. Metallica used to have a taping area at the front of shows, I bet they don't nowadays tho.
January 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChristian
It presents a real conundrum. I'm not in support of bootlegging because it generally duzn't provide the artist being recorded any income. In other words, they are having their music stolen when someone surreptitiously records it in concert then releases it illegally.

Then again, if the band isn't going to release it, I still want to hear it, so even though I'm against it, I can't resist the temptation to do just that.

Consequently, I own about 100 or so classic bootleg records of all the 70's Stuff like Zeppelin, including "The Making of Stairway to Heaven", which is a 120 minute tape (That I assume is now on CD or available on the net, that has a series of demo's and rough takes that take you through, fairly chronologically the genesis of the song "Stairway to Heaven" from it's earliest stages to it's nearly completed final mix.

I also have vinyl bootlegs of the Who, the Stones, Aerosmith, AC/DC, Cheap Trick, Blondie and The Ramones. But mostly Zeppelin. I also have about 50 CD boots and about 40 DVD's as well as 30 or so videotapes of everyone above plus Deep Purple, Van Halen and Cal Jam I & 2 plus US Festival Metal Day and what had previously considered as the holy grail, Led Zeppelin, Seattle '77 on DVD! Killer!...

So, though I'm against it, I'll still be the first in line to buy it... Total hypocrisy... Sounds like Rock'n'Roll to me!
January 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
I've bootlegged, but I've NEVER done it to benefit me. Never sold it. Never profitted from it. Never said it was mine to begin with.

There are some bands (metalicca) who want the bootleggers strung up saying that they are stealing. Other bands (Kiss) encourages bootlegging their material (and have even given random audience members audio/video equipment to do so) posturing that it will ultimately benefit their capitalistic (narcissitic) ideals.

I've bootlegged mostly to capture a moment, and to share the moment with others, and ultimately say, "hey, this is what I've experienced (and since you're asking), you should experience it too.)

I've gotten a lot of grief (and I do have a few other choice words, but i'm trying to be nice) for bootlegging, imitating, fornicating (call it what you want) but again, I never profitted from it -or even tried to. But, at times, I shared it with others believing, at times, that it was for the greater good.

Total hypocrisy? no. A genuine, idealistic belief? I thought so. Others feel differently. But then you just start to believe that you're being used.

regrets? some. guilt? none apathy? a lot more than I used to. cynicism? too much for anybody endure.

is bootlegging bad? finger pointers think so, as they will start to analyze the word "profit". Then again, what came first, "what I've bootlegged or what they are singing...

honestly, who is really bootlegging
January 14, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterfletch
When I see Great White nad Firehouse feb. 13 I plan on taking some kind of recorder. I love bootleg style audio its so original
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