Sharing Works: 100,000 concert recordings for free

etree band logosWe just hit a milestone: 100,000 free concert recordings from over 5,200 bands!

A fun trip through the history:

The Grateful DeadThe Grateful Dead started a tradition in the 60’s to allow taping of their concerts and sharing those tapes as long as no one made any money. Key: no one made any money.

A generation of deadheads became fantastic archivists. The songs were annotated, the loss in quality through copying was minimized. New tapers were brought into the fold.

Other bands, and their fans, started to join in: taping became one of the ways to participate in a community around a band’s music.

When music went digital, they wanted to put an end to generational loss through copying by passing on uncompressed files. They even developed a way to compress these files losslessly saving file size without losing quality: shn then flac formats, I believe, were developed by the tapers.

etree logoThe Internet made digital music trading possible, but the files were big. The ETree community started a database of shows to help facilitate accurate transfer. John Gilmore and John Perry Barlow translated the Dead’s taper permission to the Internet generation.

The Internet Archive offered to the ETree community to provide “unlimited storage, unlimited bandwidth, forever, for free” in an email in 2002. The reply came back:  “We don’t believe you. But if you could, that would be our dream.” We decided to give it a try.    But posting concerts on a website was different from tape trading so we decided to ask for some sort of permission from the taper friendly bands. ETree volunteers started to ask for email confirmation and these were then put in each band’s collection page.

About 1-3 bands sign up and 30 concerts are uploaded every day ever since! Volunteer administrator Tyler Huff has been keeping a milestone post going.

These concerts have been downloaded or listened to almost 800,000,000 times. The Grateful Dead collection alone is over 65,000,000 for the over 8,000 concert recordings on the site.

The total data space for the live music archive is now 112,000,000,000,000 Bytes (112TB), and the Grateful Dead collection is 12TBytes.

This is working for the Internet Archive because our mission is to make the cultural works of humankind available to all. It is also showing that we can share and be happy about it.

Thank you to all the 5,200 bands that have participated. Thank you to the over 5,800 people that have uploaded shows. Thank you to the fabulous admins Tyler Huff, John Dailey, Dave Mallick, Diana Hamilton, Peter Hedeman, Brad LeBlanc, Marc Pujol, Tom Horton, Mark Goldey and Tom Anderson. Thank you to the Grateful Dead and those that created and supported this tradition such as John Gilmore, John Perry Barlow, Geoff Sears, and Matt Vernon. Thank you to the Archive staff such as Jon Aizen, Parker Thompson, Tracey Jaquith, Alexis Rossi, and Jeff Kaplan.

Support Live Music!  Please go out to see a band or join one.

5 thoughts on “Sharing Works: 100,000 concert recordings for free

  1. Pingback: Sharing Works: 100,000 concert recordings for free | Library Stuff

  2. Pingback: 100.000 concerti scaricabili di oltre 5200 gruppi e tante informazioni su Internet Archive | Informiamocifacendo's Blog

  3. Nemo

    Awesome! While you’re on it, for future authorisations, would it be a lot of additional effort to ask not a generic disclaimer but rather release under a public CC license (better if free)? It would be the “cherry on the cake”, as we say in Italian.

  4. Pingback: More Music on the Archive | Internet Archive Blogs

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