A word about audience recordings…

Big time tapers with their mics raised above the crowd at a Gov't Mule show

Please, never pay for audience recordings. Audience recordings are always FREE.

I think that audio recordings of live shows are where it’s at.

Good quality recordings of live shows are great for the artist in terms of viral marketing and great for the fans. Many artists embrace audience recordings and encourage the sharing of live recordings as long as they are shared for free. But there is always the risk that once the recordings are out there, someone could burn them to discs and start selling them on eBay or something. It is this risk that makes many artists hesitant to come right out and publicly state that they allow or even encourage taping of their live shows. And it is this risk that makes some artists come out against audience recordings all together.

Every time a pirate sells a show, the artists who preformed the show thinks twice about allowing audience recordings. Every time a pirate sells a show, it puts the tradition of sharing live music for free at risk.

If you enjoy these recordings and want the tradition to continue, then please support the artists by buying their albums, going to their shows, and reporting the illegal sale of taped shows whenever you see them.

Please, never pay for audience recordings.


6 Responses to “A word about audience recordings…”

  1. March 27, 2009 at 2:24 am

    Good to get this out, T&Jam. I think sometimes, artists can also be a little reluctant to have a audience tapes because they worry that a performance might be sub-par. That’s natural from their point of view, but as fans of live music, we know that so much more is added that trumps any other slight imperfection.

    As far as reporting illegal tapings go, a couple of things to aid fans:
    – if you can’t tell for absolute sure that it’s the artist themself selling the tape, it’s probably illegal. An artist with a website or myspace is probably not using eBay to sell their work.

    – the taping community seriously frowns on selling tapes. If you’re seeing something for sale, it’s probably a bootleg, that is, not being sold by the original taper. In addition to contacting the artist (who may not want to take the time to shut the sale down), you can try finding the original taper, who will be able to use digital fingerprints to identify the recording as theirs. Searching torrent sites, such as bt.etree.org or archive.org might lead you to that person, or just telling another taper, who can then reach out to the community, can probably do it, too.

  2. March 27, 2009 at 3:35 am


    Tapers do not allow the selling of recordings, period.

    Nobody, not the original taper or anybody else, should be selling an audience recording.

    Also, if you see an audience recording for sale someplace like eBay, the easiest thing is to report the pirate to eBay (or to craig’s list or where ever the item is being offered for sale).

  3. 3 osb
    March 27, 2009 at 7:02 am

    Great post, Lisa! And, thanks again for sharing!

  4. 4 AH
    March 28, 2009 at 3:55 am

    Glad you made that post about tapers, Lisa.
    Think some people who don’t take the time to find out have misconceptions.
    In one fan base that enjoys the work of several tapers, people are encouraged to let the them know how much they are appreciated . . pick up a dinner tab, buy them a beer, watch their stuff if they need to get rid of the beer, or just drop by and say thanks.
    Now that Taylor has acknowledged the value of live performance recordings we need to get him to send that letter to Archive !!!

  5. 5 AH
    March 28, 2009 at 4:12 am

    Just remembered something .. saw your question about VBR but didn’t have time to respond then . . and so of course forgot.
    On Archive it is common to see 4 available formats and VBR is the one I usually download. I really don’t notice any significant difference from the FLACs and it requires no special programs to play or convert . . not to mention the download time.

    Example of the file sizes for a song from Archive
    Flac 23 MB
    VBR MP3 6.37 MB
    Ogg Vorbis 3.5 MB
    64Kbps MP3 2.02 MB

    Even if understand it myself I’m awful at trying to explain technical stuff so found a pretty clear description for you.

    Thanks again for the Roxy show btw.

    VBR stands for Variable Bit Rate. MPEG 1, layer 3 files (.mp3 files) are encoded with a specified bit rate, usually 128 kbps (thousand bits per second) or, sometimes 160 or 192 kbps. Greater bit rates generally mean better sound quality and a closer representation of the original sound. With variable bit rate MP3s, the encoder automatically detects which bit rate is most appropriate for the sound being encoded, live. This means that when there is little sound to be heard, the encoder encodes the MP3 with a low bit rate (as low as 16 kbps or less), but when there is very complex sound to be heard, the encoder uses a much higher bit rate (up to 320 kbps) to attain better sound reproduction.

  6. March 28, 2009 at 5:53 am

    Thanks for the info, AH!

    Right now what I’m doing is when I convert my files to mp3s I use the highest bit rate I can, mostly 320 kbps. (I figure if I’m going to offer a lossy format it better be the best quality I can offer…)

    If I ever get around to figuring out Archive, I’ll consider the VBR option, too.

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