New York (December 2, 2005)–Even a decade after it disbanded, the Grateful Dead remains one of rock’s most popular acts. During the band’s decades of touring, it allowed fans to freely record its shows and trade concerts with each other. Now, in the Internet age, thousands of concerts were available for free download at archive.org until recently, when the band requested that the site change all its downloadable concerts to audio streams or risk a lawsuit (see Grateful Dead Recording Ban Raises Fans’ Ire). Now, in the face of a fan backlash, petitons and worldwide bad press, the band changed its stance Wednesday.
Depending on which band rumor sites you wish to believe (if any), the download-removal demand was divisive even within the band itself, with various members and lyricists reportedly having been seen in ‘heated discussions’ on the topic. Regardless of the veracity of such claims, the fact remains that archive.org has been allowed to repost audience-recorded concerts as downloads, while board tapes will remain as streams only.
Band spokesman Dennis McNally told Wired magazine that the backlash from fans had changed the band’s collective mind: “The Grateful Dead remains as it always has-in favor of tape trading,” McNally said. The board tapes, however, remain “very much part of their legacy, and their rights need to be protected.” Perhaps not coincidentally, the band sells concert recordings from board tapes in its archives at itunes.com and its own store, gdstore.com.
Grateful Dead Store
Live Music Archive