Dead recordings go live again, fans Grateful

“What a short, strange trip it was. After the Grateful Dead halted free downloads of its ubiquitously circulating concerts from a nonprofit Web site last week, surviving members of the psychedelic jam band changed their minds Wednesday amid protest from some of their biggest fans,” The Associated Press reports. “Internet Archive, a site that catalogues content on Web sites, reposted recordings of Grateful Dead concerts for download, after band members decided to make them available again. Band spokesman Dennis McNally said Wednesday that members gave their approval after a backlash from fans, who for decades have freely taped and traded the band’s live performances. ‘The Grateful Dead remains as it always has — in favor of tape trading,’ McNally said. An online petition protesting the decision to stop the downloads had collected more than 5,200 signatures as of late Wednesday.”

“Band members consented to making audience recordings available for download again, although live recordings made directly from concert soundboards, which are the legal property of the Grateful Dead and had been completely removed from the Web site, should only be made available for listening, McNally said… The Grateful Dead, which disbanded in 1995 following the death of guitarist and lead singer Jerry Garcia, once set concert attendance records and generated millions of dollars in revenue from extensive tours. With concert tickets now removed as a source of revenue, sales of the band’s music and other merchandise have become increasingly important in an age where music is distributed digitally instead of on CDs, vinyl and cassette tapes,” AP reports.

“And the arrival of Apple Computer Inc.’s iTunes online music store, and other similar sites, means free downloads can be seen as competition, said Marc Schiller, chief executive of Electricartists, which helps musicians market themselves online,” AP reports. “The band sells music on iTunes and exclusive shows through its Web site. ‘When the music was given away for free to trade, the band was making so much money touring that the music was not as valuable to them,’ Schiller said. ‘Apple iTunes has made digital downloads a business.'”

Full article here.

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12 Comments

  1. Grateful Dead? My favorite Dead joke is right — waaaaaaaay overrated. Even they admit a lot of their performances stink. (Maybe the clouds of burning plant material played a role.) Nothing but a “feel good” party band.

    Give me sophisticated charts and music that really pushed boundaries anyday.

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