Friday, 17 May 2013

Is bootlegging piracy?

No, says Marshall (2004) and Kernfeld (2011).


Because bootlegs aren't copies of official recordings. There's no substitution.

Both authors also argue for positive promotional effects of bootlegs, where we return to a familiar theme on this blog which is recorded music now selling live music (even if it is recordings of live concerts).

This argument also calls into play the recent blog entry 'Does piracy offset legal sales of recorded music?'.

Check it out.

The recent wave of re-mastered albums, which come packaged with rarities (such as The Smashing Pumpkins), makes me wonder if artists actively hold onto rare gems for this reason. I imagine hardcore fans will purchase already-bootlegged copies of songs to hear them with good audio quality.

There's plenty of examples to suggest that this is indeed the case.

What do you think?

Speaking of audio quality, I can see a future blog entry on 'official bootlegs' on the (five!) horizons...

Marshall has written extensively on bootlegging, with one of his books listed in the 'References' section below.

Related infrequent Tweets @musicpiracyblog


Kernfeld, B. (2011). Pop Song Piracy: Disobedient Music Distribution Since 1929. The University of Chicago Press: Chicago. 

Marshall, L. (2004). The effects of piracy upon the music industry: a case study of bootlegging. Media, Culture and Society, 26(2), 163-181.

Marshall, L. (2005). Bootlegging: Romanticism and Copyright in the Music Industry. Sage: London

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