What are artists doing?

What are artists doing about distribution of their unreleased material? The Grateful Dead, famous for their live shows and relentless touring, encouraged fans to record their concerts. But others, like the Beatles, have tried to stop bootlegging at every turn.

Some artists have turned to “official bootlegging” to discourage illegal distribution by releasing the material themselves. These official bootlegs are often cheaper (prices range from $15 to $30) and better quality than the fan-recorded versions. The Doors for example have nine exclusive CDs of concerts, rehearsals and interviews on their Web site with more on the way. The Doors Live in Detroit boasts 22 previously unreleased tracks on a two-disc set for $29.98.
“It’s a way to relive the concerts – there we are in Boston, Detroit and New York City. The idea was just to make the concerts available to fans, and it’s growing.”
-Ray Manzarek, The Doors

In addition to the Doors, the official Web sites for the Grateful Dead and Jimi Hendrix have tried to curb bootlegging by releasing concerts online or exclusive mail-order CDs. Pearl Jam and Phish, bootlegged heavily for their live shows, recently released CDs from their tours. Pearl Jam released 72 double-CDs from their 2000 American and European tours.