Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Relix reports shows likely to be back on Archive tonight!

The Dead's mp3 policy has always been about "live recordings made by fans." Relix reports that McNally has blamed "a great communication snafu" on the removal of downloadable Audience recordings. This announcement does not affect Sound Board recordings.


Grateful Dead Downloads Likely To Be Restored at

Complete recordings of Grateful Dead concerts should once again be available at the online Internet Archive (—perhaps as early as tonight.

According to Grateful Dead spokesman Dennis McNally, the removal on November 22 of all downloadable Dead recordings from was the result of “a great communication snafu.”

“It is my understanding that by the end of the day, the audience tapes will be restored to,” McNally said by phone.

Since 2003, the Internet Archive’s Grateful Dead page allowed fans to upload entire shows, which were then universally available for free download. Well-connected Deadheads have been using the Archive to bolster their collections of live Dead music ever since.

But on November 22, fans were shocked to find that access to the 1,172 recordings of Dead shows (and occasional rarities like rehearsal sessions) that had been previously available had been blocked. That included access to the “audience tapes”—recordings made the old-fashioned way, with two microphones and a tape deck in the special “taper section” at Dead concerts.
The Grateful Dead have long been known for their policy of allowing fans to record their concerts—even allowing Deadhead tapers to plug directly into the band’s mixing console (resulting in the high-quality “soundboard” recordings)—then disseminate the recordings freely. The band’s freewheeling taping policy has been widely credited for maintaining the band’s success, even during decades of lukewarm attention from critics and the mainstream commercial music industry.

So, the reaction to the move from Deadheads accustomed to unlimited access in both the virtual and real worlds has ranged from disappointed to furious to—well, grateful that the material had been available online for so long at all.

Online petitions have quickly appeared in the last week, asking the band to reconsider the policy, along with vibrant chatroom discourses at fan sites across the Internet.

Many fans decried the move as a betrayal of the Dead’s core values, some even announcing the end of the Grateful Dead—a band that has continued in spirit, and in modified touring versions, even after the 1995 death of guitarist Jerry Garcia.

After all, it was Garcia who famously said, “once we’re done with [the music], you can have it.”
Bassist Phil Lesh echoed that sentiment—quoting Garcia in an interview with Charlie Rose on CBS’s 60 Minutes in 2004: “Jerry put it the best, as he frequently did, ‘Let ‘em have it. When we play it, we’re done with it.”

But it turns out that the Grateful Dead, whose business model has been shifting in recent years from selling concert tickets to selling concert recordings—and increasingly to selling digital downloads of concert recordings—may not be done with it quite yet.
Reporting by Richard B. Simon


Anonymous Helen said...

Nope. Certainly not over yet. Thanks for the news!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005  

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