Thursday, December 01, 2005

Deadheads Win Free Dead


From Rolling Stone:

Deadheads Win Free Dead

Fan protests prompt band to make live recordings available online again Throughout his prolific career, the late Grateful Dead guitarist and bandleader Jerry Garcia was fond of saying that once his band was done with a performance, the audience could have it.

That oft-repeated sentiment added fuel to the fire last week when Grateful Dead Merchandising (GDM) pulled all of the band's free live music downloads from the popular Live Music Archive (archive.org). Deadheads responded bitterly by circulating a petition calling for a boycott of the organization -- including CDs and pay music downloads -- until the decision was reversed. More than 5,000 fans signed the online petition. It was announced last night that the protest paid off: The decision was reversed. For the most part.

A November 30th statement posted on Live Music Archive reads: "We at archive.org now realize that our mistaken attempts to move quickly were based on what we thought the Grateful Dead wanted. For this we apologize to both the Grateful Dead and their community." While all of the band's live audience recordings -- and there are thousands -- are once again available for free download, soundboard recordings will now be available only in streaming format.
Archive.org notes that there could be future changes and thanked the Deadhead community for "helping guide this process."

The only comment being made by GDM at this time comes from Grateful Dead spokesperson Dennis McNally who told Rolling Stone, "At this point, all I've been asked to communicate is, 'Go look at the archive.org Web site.'"

Hours before the reversal, Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh offered apologetic remarks on his independent Web site, phillesh.com. "It was brought to my attention that the Grateful Dead shows were taken down from archive.org right before Thanksgiving," he noted. "I was not part of this decision-making process and was not notified that the shows were to be pulled."

Lesh has increasingly distanced himself from his former bandmates of late, due to sharp business differences. Still, he assured Deadheads that their "concerns have been heard and, I am sure, are being respectfully addressed."

BENJY EISEN(Posted Dec 01, 2005)

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