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Downloads for Good Instead of Evil

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“Why pay for s**tty quality live bootleg recordings when you can download them here for free?”

This is the phrase that the Deftones put on the new bootleg page of their website, where they have made 48 live recordings available to anyone and everyone. The material runs the gamut of their career including shows as far back as 1992 and as recent as the Pink Pop Festival performance from June of 2003.

Many artists appear to be making peace offerings of sorts to their fans on the Internet. Obviously, these are fans who also have the most potential to be serial downloaders. These practices strike a serious blow to concert bootleggers who make a profit from selling a band’s live recordings, but these days, I don’t think anyone would name concert bootleggers as the biggest threat to a band or its record company.

What is the motivation then? Are they trying to guilt downloaders into buying CD’s of the studio recordings, or are they using new tactics to fight peer to peer file sharing services like Kazaa?

I can’t say for sure, but I think this is an interesting way to draw fans away from Kazaa. First, they release dummy versions from their artists, whether they loop it improperly, put weird sounds in the recording, or have Madonna tell you off. They frustrate the music fans by making it hard to get what they want. That is an ineffective tactic all by itself. In order to complete the cycle, they have to offer the fans something juicy in an alternative location like the band’s homepage. Metallica, the Deftones and others that include Jimmy Eat World offer bootlegs for fans to download. Other things that some bands are including are tracks that didn’t make the album, videos, and outtakes.

Don’t get me wrong, the record companies will have to take additional steps in changing their business model to appease the desires of hordes of downloading music fans. Having said that, I think this is a great start in turning the Internet into a great complement to the recording industry, instead of its dire enemy.

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About Craig Lyndall

  • Eric Olsen

    Interesting thoughts and info Craig. Thanks and welcome!

  • I think putting complete shows online like that is an excellent idea. I just have reservations about the delivery method in this case, i.e. putting each show into one zip file rather than as individual mp3s. Fine if you’ve got broadband, kind of crap if you haven’t. Since mp3s are already compressed, sticking them in a zip file doesn’t reduce the file size or bandwidth enough to make it worthwhile, so I don’t know why they don’t just put individual files up…

  • UPDATE: The bootleg section on the deftones site was taken down. Now in it’s place are the words “BIG BROTHER” which have a link to the band’s label’s website at maverick.com.

    I am happy I downloaded most of them when they were up there!