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Bootlegs: Technology Making it Easier to Record and Distribute

Bootleg recordings of live shows used to be of very poor quality and had to be distributed manually. No more:

    The day after Tori Amos shocked fans in England with a piano rendition of the Eagles’ “Desperado,” MP3s of her performance showed up in Nashville, Tennessee, where David Mobley downloaded one from alt.binaries.tori-amos. “The Tori community is loosely organized,” says the 25-year-old cable TV employee, “but it gets shows to people quickly.”

    Fans have traded live bootlegs for decades (“Got that ‘Dark Star’ from Cleveland ’73?”). But the tech – gadgets like laptop recorders, portable DAT players, and pen-sized microphones, as well as distribution methods like SHNapster and FTP servers – keeps getting better. With the upgrades, trading communities have spread well beyond the Deadheads. It’s easy to find concerts by Beck, Oasis, and Radiohead. “It becomes, ‘How much time do I have in the day to burn it?'” says John Bartol, a 35-year-old IT consultant from Alexandria, Virginia, who has been taping and trading concerts since 1984. “There’s always more to grab.”

    Among the booters’ most inventive tactics: using wireless radio receivers that capture signals sent to the in-ear monitors musicians wear to hear one another onstage. Fans can record a pristine feed of the entire show from outside the venue [Wired]

Pearl Jam is selling “authorized bootlegs” of their shows. Phish allows recording and trading of their shows for noncommercial purposes.

About Eric Olsen

Career media professional and serial entrepreneur Eric Olsen flung himself into the paranormal world in 2012, creating the America's Most Haunted brand and co-authoring the award-winning America's Most Haunted book, published by Berkley/Penguin in Sept, 2014. Olsen is co-host of the nationally syndicated broadcast and Internet radio talk show After Hours AM; his entertaining and informative America's Most Haunted website and social media outlets are must-reads: Twitter@amhaunted,, Pinterest America's Most Haunted. Olsen is also guitarist/singer for popular and wildly eclectic Cleveland cover band The Props.

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