A guide 4 Bootlegs (Boots)


1. Introduction / thanx
2. About the term "Bootleg" (PART I/II) 3. Legality of Bootlegs/Copyright Infringement/Act 4. Ethical aspects (collectors point of view) 5. A technical guide (incl. Grading/Rating Systems) 6. F.A.Q. - Frequently Ask Questions 7. MP3 - Some thoughts + ascpects 8. Links, sources + informations

1. Introduction / thanx:

What do U expect from A Guide 4 Boots?

Well, this comprehensive guide (over 118K phat - text only!) takes a closer
look in2 the subject boots (short 4 bootlegs) - from the legal point and
ethical aspects, some collector's point of view, a definition of what a
boot, a taper, recorder, or bootlegger is, a peek in2 the technic (vinyl/CD,
soundboard/audience recording) - up 2 rules for buying and collecting/
trading cassette tapes and CDR's.

We want 2 take a closer look on this interesting subject.

What kind of material is on a boot? Everything like:


    Finally - upcoming in the last years - there are also VCD (VideoCD's) and
    CD-ROM's with PC-Stuff like videos and/or live performances (in AVI, MPEG,
    MOV etc. format) or more or less interactive parts (with pix, samples or
    MP3) on the market available.

    This special "collection" of informations was taken 2gether over the
    last decade, sorry that we can't give U all the credits 4 the input -
    thank U all!

    Prince is 1 of the most "bootlegged" Artist - (beside The Beatles, The
    Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, U2 and others).

    U all know the story about the famous Black Album (1987) - and
    mayB U own some Prince CD's on a label called Sabotage, Moonraker,
    or Optimum?


    We decided NOT 2 offer linx to or emails from special dealers
    or shops becuz we do NOT want 2 encourage any1 2 buy a boot.
    Get the official stuff - and read how 2 identify an unauthorized record.

    Anyway, U also find some interesting thoughts about MP3.

    A last note: We xcluded video boots! Yes they R alive..!

    In addition we will have too put VERY CLEAR that we are not selling
    or trading anything, the only aim is to provide fellow collectors a guide
    to the term "bootlegs". Here we go - starting with a lil statistics:

    Taken from: The Guardian - Article by David Pallister © 1999
    Heavy sellers: Led Zeppelin top bootleg list

    (By David Pallister, August 18, 1999)

    Eric Clapton may still be God, Elvis the King, and Springsteen the Boss. But
    the oldies who top one of the more dubious musical league tables are the princes
    of heavy rock Led Zeppelin. On the 30th anniversary of their eponymous debut
    album, the band has overtaken the Beatles for having the highest number of
    bootleg titles seized by the British Phonographic Industry's anti-piracy unit.
    With 384 Led Zep titles now in the BPI's library of 10,000 CDs, they have soared
    clear of the Beatles' 320 and the Rolling Stones' 317.
    Bob Dylan slides in fourth at 301.

    The new-found popularity of the group's bone-crunching sounds came about because
    of recent BPI sucesses in tracking down and prosecuting pirates. An additional 130
    titles have been discovered in the past year after two raids on Zeppelin fans.
    One man from Sheffield was fined 1,200 and ordered to pay 8,000 in costs. Another
    in Oxford, charged with conspiracy to defraud, received a 15 month prison sentence.
    The anti-piracy unit found he had 63,000 illegal CDs of different artists.
    Derek Varnals, the BPI's technical adviser, said yesterday that the unit's work had
    considerably reduced the number of bootlegs but the UK industry was still worth an
    estimated 13.65m.
    With increasing BPI vigilance, most bootleggers avoid the record collectors' fairs
    where they used to sell their goods. Now they are turning to mail order and the

    Bootleg TOP 10:
    01. Led Zeppelin (384)
    02. The Beatles (320)
    03. The Rolling Stones (317)
    04. Bob Dylan (301)
    05. Prince (270)
    06. Bruce Springsteen (232)
    07. U2 (224)
    08. Eric Clapton (194)
    09. Pink Floyd (188)
    10. Jimi Hendrix (170)

    INTERMISSION: A word from a bootlegger!


    2. About the term "Bootleg":

    PART I:

    What is a bootleg?

    "A bootleg is generally an illegally made album and/or recordings that
    have not been released by an artist's main record label. They could be live
    recordings, studio outtakes, rehearsals or just jams. Most bootlegs consist
    of concert material. There are hundreds of Prince bootlegs in circulation.
    The source for these might be CD's that are put out by various bootleg labels,
    tapes made by tapers at concerts, or tapes that one way or another "escaped"
    from the recording studio. Bootlegging is where people go into concerts,
    record the concert, then go and press the music onto a CD and, in turn, sell
    this CD for monetary profit.

    What is a pirate record?

    There is another type of bootlegging, which is pretty different. There are
    people or companies that are making copies of legitimate releases and selling
    them as if they were legitimate. This however, is called pirating, and not
    really bootlegging.
    This type of pirating is what record companies are much most concerned with.

    If bootlegging is illegal, then how come some stores sell them?

    This used to be an easy question to answer. Yes. From the record
    comapany's point of view, boots are illegal. By having that recording,
    you are in theory depriving the artist and recording company of their
    rightful earnings.
    But, in the real world, like everything else in life, it gets complicated.
    The word "theory" seems to not to have any meaning in every day life. Many bands
    allow the taping of their shows. The most famous of bands to allow taping is the
    Greatful Dead. Other bands "look the other way" when it comes to bootlegs.
    However, most of these bands that allow taping distinguish between taping for
    personal use and trading, and taping to press onto CDs and sell them. In the most
    famous case, the Greatful Dead had a store busted for selling boot Dead CDs.

    In reality, if you are simply trading tapes, no matter what artist or where the
    original material came from, you are not likely to be bothered. However, if you
    make it a business... well, who knows. There's plenty of places to buy boot CDs,
    so it's your perogative I guess.

    If you still have moral problems with bootlegs, there is a very simple answer.
    DON'T DO IT. Also, you won't find any bootlegs in Tower Records or any stores like
    that. You'll have to go to smaller stores. They carry them. But, I didn't answer
    the question yet. To my knowledge, it's not illegal to produce them in some countries
    currently; Italy, Germany, and Luxemburgh. Thus, they produce the music there, and
    then export it to the United States somehow, where you can buy them. Boots are no
    longer legal to produce in Australia. However, recently these laws are changing in
    some of the above mentioned countries, such as Italy."

     PART II:

    The term "bootleg" - a definition:

    "The term "bootleg" is a recording of a "performance" by a band or artists, either
    live or in the studio that is not otherwise available to the general public.
    This is NOT the same as home-taping or "piracy", where people dub recordings and
    re-sell them. Piracy is illegal and totally unjustified.
    It should be made clear that like piracy, bootlegs are ALSO illegal, and that the
    band or artists receives no royalties from the sale of these recordings. Stores have
    been shut down and fined hundreds of thousands of dollars for selling these CDs!

    As we already mentioned, piracy is both illegal and unjustified. Bootlegging is also
    illegal, but we feel that it is not an "immoral" or "unjust" business. One can argue
    that since in most cases the band has no commercial interest in any of these recordings,
    they are not really losing money. There are valid points to be made both for and
    against this, but in general, we feel that it is a valid argument. There are specific
    instances, however, where this is NOT the case, such as bootlegs which contain material
    that is commercially available. Purchasing this type of bootleg, (unless you already
    own all of the commercially available material) in our humble opinion, is blatantly
    ripping off the band, and we would strongly discourage it...."


    3. Legality of Bootlegs -
    Copyright Infringement / Copyright Act:

    Aren't Bootlegs Illegal?

    "This is a fair question and has been asked a great many times. I don't
    claim to be an expert, and I am not a lawyer, but I have looked into it
    a bit in an attempt to keep from breaking the law. The US Code, Title 17,
    Section 1101 specifically addresses this issue. Here's what I've been able
    to figure out about the United States' position:

    It is not illegal to own bootlegs.

    Just like fireworks in many states, you can own all the bootlegs you want as
    long as you don't sell or perform them. So far I know of only one
    case in which a personal bootleg collection was seized and in that case the
    owner did, in fact, intend to set up a business of selling them through mail-
    US Code does not forbid owning any recording, even if it infringes on the
    rights of the copyright-holder. It is not illegal to record a performance
    with the permission of the performer!
    US Code specifically exempts recordings made with the permission of the artist.
    Does your favorite band allow taping? Ask them and find out. If so, it is not
    infringing or illegal to record-, and distribute a recording of, a show. If not,
    you're on shaky ground. Most record labels do not allow the recording of their
    live shows. This is stipulated on the tickets. However, this is not a legal
    requirement. It is a one-sided contract and may or may not be binding. They do
    this because giving you permission exempts you from any control on the use of
    that recording. If they say you can record, you can do whatever you want with
    that recording, even selling it! For this reason, most record labels and
    management companies will not give you permission even if the artist wants
    taping to be allowed. Some venues don't allow recording. This is usually enforced
    by the security guards outside. However, it is not illegal to record shows,
    just not allowed by some venues. You are on private property and they can allow
    or forbid anything they want. If you are caught with a recorder, most venues will
    take it (or the tape) from you and let you have it back after the show. They
    really cannot keep or break a recorder, but some will do this anyway.
    It is illegal to make bootlegs for sale. Selling bootlegs violates US Code
    in many ways and is specifically prohibited if the permission from the performer
    was not obtained. Making a run of bootleg CDs to sell to record stores or through
    mail order is very much illegal and is likely to get you arrested in the
    US. Making a run of tapes for sale is also illegal. Even trading a tape
    for two blanks or some stamps or a couple of dollars is illegal! However,
    making a just few tapes from a private collection and trading them at cost to
    other collectors is probably not going to get you arrested. Just know that it is
    a violation of US Code and it could land you in jail.

    It is illegal to sell bootlegs!

    This usually applies to stores and mail-order houses, but applies equally to
    private individuals. Many small, non-chain record stores sell bootleg CDs as
    "imports" and a few others sell bootleg tapes, too. These stores have been
    raided in the past for selling bootleg CDs and closed down, but not too often.
    These raids are usually more of a show of force, an example, or an excuse to
    shut down the store than anything else.

      It is not illegal to make bootlegs for sale in Italy!

    In Italy, any unpublished material can be published by any company as long as
    a fair royalty is put aside for the originating artist. It is this loophole
    that allows like KTS and Rarities and Few to stay in business producing bootleg
    CDs. They put some small royalty in a bank account for the band to take and
    make their CDs with impunity. The only trouble is, almost all record contracts
    forbid a band to publish on another label so bands almost never see that money.
    Germany may have similar laws. US Customs will seize shipments of bootleg
    CD's on their way into the US. Italian mail order houses usually ship only a few
    CDs at a time to make their orders less likely to be inspected and seized by US
    Customs, but there is still a fair chance that they will be seized. This is one
    of the things that makes boot CDs expensive in the US. The other is ridiculous
    price-hiking by the stores and distributors in the name of "risk". However, US
    Customs usually doesn't care about travelers who bring back a few boots from
    the Continent in their luggage for personal use. Some bands and clubs allow
    taping. Currently only the Grateful Dead, Metallica, and the Black Crowes,
    among other smaller bands, have specifically allowed taping at their shows.
    Many bands don't mind taping and will give you permission if asked privately.
    However, their management will probably not give permission because almost all
    record labels frown on taping. Ask the band members themselves for permission.
    They own the copyright anyway! Most small venues (clubs and bars) implicitly
    allow taping by not disallowing it, searching people on the way in, or not
    watching for red lights in the audience during the shows. Many small bands,
    in fact, are flattered by tapers and even don't mind video taping!

     On Copyright Infringement

    Note that copyright infringement per se is not a crime. It is a Civil wrong,
    and carries civil liability. This is an important distinction, and it makes
    all the difference.

    Consider these cases:

    1. Regardless of your position on the issue, possessing drugs is a crime.
      It is legally classified as a felony, in fact, and merely doing it makes
      you fair game for arrest by any passing police officer.
    2. Within reason, fighting is not a crime. If you and I get in a fist
      fight in the privacy of our own homes and do not disturb anyone else and
      do not want to hold each other liable, we have not committed a crime.
      We cannot be arrested. Only when a participant claims to have been wronged
      can legal action be taken.
    Recording a live performance without permission is not a crime in the
    sense of example number 1. You can do it all day long, right in front
    of a police officer, and you cannot be arrested for it, unless there is
    some local law restricting it.

    Legal action can only be taken when a party claims to have been wronged
    by the action. This means that there is no problem with taping unless
    the band, their management, their agents, their record company, the
    venue, or someone else reasonably involved wants to press charges.
    This is unlikely to happen unless you are really selling bootlegs or
    something else that would make their pressing charges worthwhile.

    There is also a moral side to the issue. Even if they don't want to
    press charges, what if a band doesn't want inferior or embarrassing
    recordings of their music to circulate? A true fan may consider
    unauthorized taping of a performance as morally wrong, and not
    respecting the creative contributions of the performers. Plus, they
    do have a legal property interest in performance. It belongs to them
    unless they specifically give it to you.

    You should decide if sneaking a device into a venue to record a
    performance without permission is worth the moral and legal risk.
    Sneaking a recording per se may not be illegal. Sometimes sneaking
    is done just to avoid questions from fellow concertgoers and security
    personnel unaware of the legality of the recording. Sometimes, though,
    it is done specifically to circumvent the legal claims of the artists,
    and this is wrong and illegal.

    The bottom line is that the sort of taping that most people do is, if
    not explicitly permitted, at least is not likely to be punished. Most
    bands and labels don't care about fans making and trading tapes, they
    just don't want to see other companies stealing their royalties.
    That's what I know of the current legal situation for tapers in the US.
    Please don't take this as law or as a recommendation either way since I
    have no citations and no legal training. I am just trying, like you, to
    figure out bootleg law.

    I have gotten my hands on some real US legal texts regarding this issue:

    United States Code, Title 17, "the Copyright Act"

    Section 1101(b)
    This section specifically addresses "Unauthorized fixation and trafficking in sound recordings
    and music videos". Here is the section in full and my comments:
     1101. Unauthorized fixation and trafficking in sound recordings and music videos 
         (a) Unauthorized Acts. - Anyone who, without the consent of the performer or 
         performers involved - 
              (1) fixes the sounds or sounds and images of a live musical performance 
              in a copy or phonorecord, or reproduces copies or phonorecords of such 
              a performance from an unauthorized fixation, 
              (2) transmits or otherwise communicates to the public the sounds or 
              sounds and images of a live musical performance, or 
              (3) distributes or offers to distribute, sells or offers to sell, rents 
              or offers to rent, or traffics in any copy or phonorecord fixed as 
              described in paragraph (1), regardless of whether the fixations occurred 
              in the United States, shall be subject to the remedies provided in 
              sections 502 through 505, to the same extent as an infringer of
         (b) Definition. - As used in this section, the term "traffic in" means 
         transport, transfer, or otherwise dispose of, to another, as consideration 
         for anything of value, or make or obtain control of with intent to transport, 
         transfer, or dispose of. 
         (c) Applicability. - This section shall apply to any act or acts that occur 
         on or after the date of the enactment of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act. 
         (d) State Law Not Preempted. - Nothing in this section may be construed to 
         annul or limit any rights or remedies under the common law or statutes of 
         any State. 

    My comments and interpretation:

    "without the consent of the performer or performers involved":

    This means that the performer, not their management, record label, venue, or
    local authorities, owns all rights to a specific musical performance and may
    give consent to record and distribute recordings of the performance. This
    consent removes any and all restrictions on the distribution of that recording!

    "fixes the sounds or sounds and images of a live musical performance in a
    copy or phonorecord":

    This is the definition of a taper, recorder, or bootlegger. Whatever you
    want to call it, this means you.

    "or reproduces copies or phonorecords of such a performance from an
    unauthorized fixation":

    This means that even if you didn't record a performance personally,
    copying that recording is included here as well.

    "transmits or otherwise communicates to the public":

    So you can't put MP3 copies of your tapes up on a web site for all to download.

    "traffics in any copy or phonorecord":

    The term "traffic in" is defined below.

    "the term "traffic in" means ... transfer ... as consideration for anything
    of value"

    This part is really interesting. This means that you are not considered
    to be trafficking in phonorecords if you are not asking for anything of value.
    What is anything of value? Well, certainly money is valuable.
    The RIAA successfully prosecuted a "two-for-one" tape trader, so blank tapes are
    valuable. However, they have not gone after "one-for-one" traders who either
    copy their recordings to someone else's tapes for nothing or trade a copy for
    another copy. So are one-for-one trades specifically legal? The RIAA may think so,
    and this section seems to indicate that they are.

    Section 114(b)

    Section 114(b) of the U.S. Copyright Act seems to indicate that it is legal to
    distribute non-copyrighted recordings of copyrighted "sounds" for non-
    commercial purposes.

    "The exclusive rights of the owner of copyright in a sound recording under clauses (1) and (2) of section 106 do not extend to the making or duplication of another sound recording that consists entirely of an independent fixation of other sounds, even though such sounds imitate or simulate those in the copyrighted sound recording."

    This sure sounds like it means that if I record a band playing a song, I can
    distribute it all I like as long as it's not commercially distributed!
    Is a live performance an "imitation" of a sound or an entirely new sound?
    Are sounds copyrighted immediately upon their creation? This jibes with the
    actions of the RIAA, which has only acted against those who profit from live
    recordings. Section 114(b) also specifically allows non-commercial
    distribution of radio broadcasts.

    Section 110(4)
    Section 110(4) also seems to allow the sharing of performances of copyrighted works.
    "... the following are not infringements of copyright: ... performance of a nondramatic literary or musical work otherwise than in a transmission to the public, without any purpose of direct or indirect commercial advantage and without payment of any fee or other compensation for the performance to any of its performers, promoters, or organizers, if - (A) there is no direct or indirect admission charge ..."
    Section 201(b)
    Section 201(b) refers to the ownership of a copyright.
    "(b) Works Made for Hire. - In the case of a work made for hire, the employer or other person for whom the work was prepared is considered the author for purposes of this title, and, unless the parties have expressly agreed otherwise in a written instrument signed by them, owns all of the rights comprised in the copyright."

    Is a live musical performance a work for hire? If a musical performance is
    a copyrightable work, and if the attendees together contribute money to pay
    an artist to perform, do those attendees own the copyright on that performance?
    If it is not a copyrightable work, as speculated above, then this doesn't
    matter. If so, do the attendees or the promoters own the performance. If the
    promoters own it, do they give up their rights to it by specifically allowing
    it to be performed publicly? Or do they sell rights to it to paying ticketholders?
    All of this sounds like it may allow performances to be considered property of

    Section 107 (the "fair use" clause)
    The Fair Use clause is also somewhat interesting relating to distribution of samples of music on the 'Net.


    4. Ethical aspects (collectors point of view):

    Are bootlegs ethical? - Nope.

    Some open letters (edited):

    A point of view (by Anonymous):

    "I understand the law... that the sale and distribution for profit of
    unsanctioned or unauthorized recordings is illegal.... Why, I believe in
    sharing my enthusiasm with an artist with others that also share this
    enthusiasm. Actually live recordings allow me and my fellow music
    enthusiasts to make an even greater connection to the artists because we
    can listen and understand so much more material. Just because a record
    company doesn't think a recording will be commercially successful, doesn't
    mean that the fans wouldn't be ravenous to hear it.

    On the RIAA [Recording Industry Association of America]
    stance that bootlegs take away money from the artists; yes and no.
    If the artist or the record company would sell the material, this would be an
    unneeded response. The people that trade and collect live recordings are true
    fans, they already have all the official releases. But, they still want more!

    I personally own over 1500 regular releases! At least 10% of my collection are
    import releases that cost significantly more than a standard US release. I have
    always and will always buy all the regular releases for two reasons. One, the
    quality is better in both sound and packaging. Two, I want to support the artists
    so that they will continue to put out new material.

    Have you ever noticed that some artists are not as troubled by "bootlegs" as others?
    For example, Frank Zappa (and his estate) have released so much material for his
    fans that there is no need for "bootlegs". If you satisfy demands, there wouldn't
    be this "problem" that you and your fellow Lawyers have mis-invisioned.

    The historical significance of live recordings are just as important. Take the Yard-
    birds for example. At one point in their existence three of the greatest guitarists
    of all time were on stage at once; namely Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, and Jeff Beck.
    According to the hypocrisy, fans do not have the right to hear live performances of
    this line-up. Now is this truly fair? It's akin to having friends over to watch a
    pay per view boxing match. You only paid for one connection, but you may have several
    people watching the event that didn't pay. If this is illegal, say good-bye to your
    Friday nights with the "guys"!

    Please quit attacking traders like a pack of deranged pit bulls! Just because you want
    to justify those huge hourly bills or retainers doesn't mean you have to attack us
    "little people". I can think of dollars being better spent on other things. Go after
    the PIRATES, not the traders."

    Date: 1995

    "As a long-time fan... I've been consistently surprized by how much discussion
    focuses on bootlegs.

    I know some people just love to collect things, and I often feel with... collectors
    that they might just as well be collecting stamps as boots. Some people I know have
    boots in their collection that they haven't even listened to!!!

    I admit to having a couple in my collection, but really, doesn't an artist have the
    right to control his output? An artist decides what he/she wants to put before the
    public. It's not up to us to raid their stash.

    If, for example, I was able to get my hands on some discarded chapters of a novel by
    a living author, would I have the right to copy and distribute them? If I could get
    my hands on a book that a writer had finished but decide was not good enough to
    publish, would it be a fair thing to print a shit-load of copies and sell them?

    I don't believe it would. Because I think song writing is as valid an artform as any
    other; I think song-writers/performers deserve the same rights as other artists.

    Prince is often very frustrating for his listeners - leaving good songs off albums,
    ... but then, that's down to him isn't it? You can't go up to a Picasso painting and
    say, "Pablo had this great little stick figure in here which he studily painted out -
    let's just stick it back, shall we?". The whole thing troubles me.

    Firstly I do think there are series ethical problems...

    Date: 1995

    "An artist decides what he/she wants to put before the public. It's not up
    to us to raid their stash. But a tape of a live show is something he already
    HAS put before the public! It's out there for us; why should we not listen
    to it? Of course studio outtakes do not come under this logic."

    Date: 1995

    "I don't think anybody has suggested altering the existing Prince studio
    albums in a way that they would be damaged or defaced. These are very
    different media and I don't think your analogy holds up.
    But many of us do listen to and love listening to everything we get. I do
    agree that the phenomenon of collecting boots and not listening to them is
    puzzling. You also mention that you don't like the level of discussion on
    RMD because it sounds like a swap meet. You may believe that there are ethical
    problems and that the swap meets around here are getting pretty corrupt, and
    that is valid. I personally don't think it's so clear cut, especially when we
    are dealing with live material. My advice is for you to make sure that the
    kinds of threads you prefer flourish by starting them yourself as often as
    possible! I always feel like I want to give Prince some royalties every time
    I get a bootleg. Anybody know how much WB pays him per CD sold? Maybe I'll
    start mailing him twice that amount every time I get a boot."

    Date: 1995

    "Yes, it is unethical. I've never understood all the rationalization to
    pretend that buying bootlegs it's not unethical.
    Yes, you may send me those boots you have to get them off your hands and
    assuage your guilt.
    No, you won't respond to the above line. Rather you will keep those boots
    you have and continue to enjoy them inspite of what arguments are presented
    in response to your question. But perhaps you'll be able to feel a little
    better knowing that at least you know it's wrong.
    Yes, you will acquire more boots in the future.
    I'm ready to cross that ethical line yet again for reasons quite obvious to
    any Prince fan."

    Date: 1996

    "My feelings about bootlegs are very ambivalent - as I think Prince's
    himself probably are. He may feel flattered by the attention (still one
    of the most bootlegged artist, after all these years), but annoyed by the
    loss of creative control...
    I confess to being bad in wanting these things. I'll just have to live
    with it...
    I'll just add that, whatever bootlegs I may buy, they are not 'replacements'
    for official product, but additions. I read the Pareles article after I
    wrote this, and he makes several good points on the beneficial aspects of
    bootlegging, to the music industry in general and to artists."


    5. A technical guide (incl. Grading/Rating Systems)

    So what is a "bootleg" really? Technically, a bootleg is simply a
    recording, on any format, of material not officially released by an
    artist's recording company. Bootlegs are often recordings of live
    performances, but they can be illicit releases of professionally-recorded
    material, such as demo tapes.

    The term, "bootleg", has extreme negative connotations because some
    bootleggers run for-profit enterprises at the expense of the artist
    and recording company. These people range from "two-for-one" tape traders
    with live recordings all the way to semi-legitimate Italian CD companies
    releasing pirated professionally-recorded material. For-profit bootlegs can
    (and do) harm the artists that we all love.
    While some artists actively promote live-show recording, the bootleg industry
    has hurt many artists, even causing some to lose recording contracts and stop
    playing altogether.
    When you record a show, you should keep the legal implications in mind.
    Does the artist allow recording? Does their record company? Does the venue?
    Even though there is no criminal law in the United States, or any other country
    that I know of, that specifically forbids recording a live performance, private
    parties can disallow it (or anything else, for that matter) on their property.
    Plus, US Copyright Code ("civil law") does forbid recording without permission.
    This means an artist can sue you and win if you record without their permission.
    Another question you should ask yourself is why you want a recording of the
    performance. Do you want a souvenir, like a setlist or ticket stub? Do you want
    to trade recordings of the music with other fans? Or do you want to profit from
    the artist's work? There is a law in most countries against profiting from the
    creative work of others, called copyright. Therefore, you may not sell
    live recordings to others in any format for any reason without specific permission.

    The term, "bootleg", is widely used and understood, but it is not really appropriate
    for most live recordings. Illegal recordings are usually called bootlegs, but not
    all recordings are illegal. For this reason, many people prefer other terms:


    Many fans who record live performances to collect and enjoy like to call them-
    selves "Tapers". This comes from the fact that, until recently, analog (or digital)
    tape was the only portable means of recording a performance. Today, many tapers use
    Digital Audio Tape (DAT) or MiniDisk (MD). They often make and trade
    copies of their recordings on Compact Disc-Recordable (CD-R), which is
    playable in any normal CD player. However, they still call themselves tapers and
    sometimes even call the recordings tapes, even if they are on other media.

    Live/Rare Recordings/Recorder:

    This is the term I always preferred since it specifically refers to the hobby.
    Music fans often desire live and rare recordings to add to their collections.
    They usually buy every commercial release, too, and seriously collect anything
    related to a specific musical act. This term is not widely used anymore.


    A bootlegger is a person who illegally creates a product for sale. Bootleggers
    are usually counterfeiters, pirates, or producers of controlled substances.
    Now, most people, myself included, always called live recordings "bootlegs" or
    "boots". However, since we don't want to be associated with the bootleggers
    described above, it is probably best to stop using this term.

    Taken from/please check out: More Music: Safe Trading Guide. Thanx 2 More Music!


    Most arguments that arise between people trading online are disputes over
    grading. It is advisable to grade your records carefully, including remarks
    on any damage in the description.

    Light is important when examining records, the best light to use is a single
    bright source (Not The Sun, it is too bright). Use a clear light bulb (one
    where you can see the element), hold the record so that the reflection of the
    light is hidden by the label, then tilt it gently so the light catches in the
    grooves Finally, move the record slowly back and forth, watching for the light
    catching on scratches or grime. This will reveal most damage.
    In the UK most people use Record Collector's grading system. Unfortunately
    they refuse to allow it's reproduction it online.
    For that reason we wrote our own, which is similar, though slightly stricter.
    Feel free to use this system, to reproduce it on your website and to modify it
    for your own needs. If you find it easier just to link to it the address is:


    Convention is that you grade the cover first, then the record, giving two gradings
    thus, EX/EX-With double albums grade the Cover, followed by record 1 then record 2.
    Important inserts should be graded after the Cover and before the record(s).

    Play Grading.

    Some people do actually listen to the records they sell and note any flaws in
    the sound. This is only really practical for very rare items.

    Condition and Value

    You have an Item with a high book value but it is not in mint condition, how do
    you arrive at a price?

    Here is a rough guide:

    M and EX+ 100%
    EX 80-90%
    EX- 60-75%
    VG 40-60%
    G 30-40%
    F 15-30%
    POOR Less than 10%

    MORE MUSIC Record Grading System

    Below is a synopsis of our grading system. Systems like this can only act as a
    guide and damage should, where possible be desrcibed in detail:


    M (MINT): The record is as new. The cover and any inserts should be in
    perfect condition. Many Dealers do not use this classification as A record is
    unlikely to arrive through the post in truly mint condition.

    EX+ (EXCELLENT PLUS): The record is near-mint, there is no damage or visible
    surface marking. Under Bright Light you may see fine lines on the record, caused
    by rubbing on the paper sleeve. Reserve this grade for records where you have
    difficulty spotting anything wrong. The Cover and inserts are undamaged.

    EX (EXCELLENT): The record may show some signs of having been played,
    possibly with light surface marks or fingerprints but there is no appreciable
    lessening in sound quality. The cover and packaging might have slight wear and/or

    EX- (EXCELLENT MINUS): There may be fairly visible surface markings under bright
    light but the sound quality if the record is not adversely affected. The Cover and
    inserts may have noticeable light creasing or "foxing" due to dampness but they are
    all present and intact.

    VG (VERY GOOD): The record has obviously been played a lot, but displays no major
    deterioration in sound quality despite surface marks and some light scratches. Also
    Use this grading where the record has suffered perhaps one more visible scratch, but
    is otherwise in EX or better condition. The cover may be creased a little and/or frayed
    at the opening. You should itemize any more serious damage such as tears.

    Buying or selling anything in less than VG condition is not recommended, if you sell
    records in worse condition, expect some to get returned, even though your
    descriptions were fair!

    G (GOOD): The record has been played so much that the sound quality has been
    affected noticeably, perhaps with some distortion and clicks due to scratches. The
    main place to use this classification is for picture discs, where the sound deteriorates
    more quickly with use. The cover and inserts may be folded, have minor tears and/or
    splits at the edges, they have not been looked after.

    F (FAIR): The record is still just playable, but has not looked after there is a
    lot surface noise, it may even jump. The cover and contents will be torn, stained and/or
    defaced, possibly with chunks missing.

    N/A POOR: The record will no longer play properly due to the damage. The Cover
    will be folded torn and probably incomplete.

    N/A BAD Gee, You gotta be desperate to complete your collection to buy this
    one! It WILL be unplayable, and if you get the cover, treat it as a bonus!

    Grading of CD's:

    CDs are harder to grade, sometimes CDs that appear mint will not play, other CDs
    that look wrecked may play fine!
    To further complicate the issue damaged CDs may play fine on one player and not on
    another! For this reason it is not advisable to mail CDs that have scratches on them.
    Use EX or EX+ for CDs with no visible marks.
    The surface of a CD will mark very easily, one wipe will produce fine lines, describe
    a CD in this condition as EX-CDs in card sleeves often show more visible surface
    rubbing, describe these as VG.
    Hold the CD up to the light, older discs have a tendency to decay..If you can see any
    pin-pricks of light through the disc it is probably starting to decay and should not
    be sold Cover damage to inlays and Digipacks is graded as for records, the Boxes are
    not graded as they can be replaced.

    Other Grading Systems:


    g (good)
    EX-/VG+ (exellent minus/very good plus)
    vg (very good)
    exc (exellent)
    EX+ (exellent plus)

    a (audience)
    sb (soundboard)

    Sound quality:

    Value from 1 to 10, 10 being best -- you can use +/-)

    Package quality:

    Value from 1 to 10, 10 being best -- you can use +/-)

    Rating (Example):

    Music: 8 - Sound: 8


    ex - excellent
    vg - very good
    go - good
    fa - fair
    po - poor

    Listing (example):

    Booleg title
    Label   : ..........    Cat # : XXX-XXX
    Released: ..........    Format: # CD
    Source  : day mount year, Live at arena, city, country
    Type    : Soundboard/Audience/FM/TV/Video Recording
    Music: 1-10 (10=best, 1=worst)
    Sound: 1-10 
    Disc 1 
    Track title (x:xx) 
    Total time: mm:ss
    Disc 2 
    Track title (x:xx) 
    Total time: mm:ss
    Recommendation: ...

    Other systems/taken from Musicexp.com

    GRADING SYSTEM (for item quality):

    SEALED: Item is in unopened in its original shrinkwrap with no visable damage

    MINT: Item is in perfect condition, showing no signs of having been played
    and no cover wear

    VG (VERY GOOD): Item is in very good condition, may have some very slight
    surface wear, or minor wear on cover, but plays without any noticable surface noise
    or skipping

    GOOD: Item has evident sigs of use (cover wear, scratches, seam splits on
    cover, etc. It should play without too excessive surface noise of skipping.

    CUT-OUT: This term is used for items that the manufacturer has had returned
    unsold, these are then re-distributed at a lower price with packaging marked with a
    drill hole, sawcut, cut corner, etc. to prevent retailers from selling them at
    full price.

    Another rating system (for sound quality):

    A+A-B+B B-"/"=(better/worse)

    The Grading System:

    A+, A and A- are great shows that will definitely be worth your time.
    B+, B and B- are good but with some problems: ex. static noise, bad
    recording, crowd noise, etc. Those are still usually pretty good and listenable shows.
    Ask if you have any doubts or anything, some might be better than others. Anything lower
    is for shows that are not so good. The grades with "/"s mean that in some parts the sound
    is better/worse.

    A+ = Recorded by a friend on Dat / Soundboard
    A = great sounding recording by unknown means
    A- = good recording some static

    Edited from House of Music: The Vinyl Grading Terminology (1996). Thanx 2 House of Music.

    Vinyl Grading Terminology

    Grade Scale with definitions of each grade:

    Q2: How can I grade my own vinyl based on these grades? 
    A2: Below is the grade scale and what you should look for when assessing a grade 
    for each record you have.
    MINT or M : Perfect! A mint record should look like it has just left the manufacturer,
    with NO flaws what so ever. It should look as though it had never been handled. 
    No scuffs or scratches, blotches or stains. No stickers address labels, writing on 
    the covers or labels. No tears or seam splits. No wear to the cover or record period!
    Age of the record has nothing to do with it. A MINT record from 1949 should look like
    a MINT record from 1996. The number one complaint from collectors about grading over 
    the years, have been the deteriorating standards that dealers and private sellers have 
    had when grading. It is only natural for most people to turn to the "MINT" grade and 
    read "highest prices" listed in price guides. Since most price guides have a high and
    low price range, the assumed grade most often is NOT mint, but near mint (NM).
    *** Okay, but how can I honestly grade a record MINT??? *** MINT COVERS: Simply put, 
    a mint cover should appear to have never had a record inside it. No wear to the corners
    or any marks on the face or back of the cover. EP jackets (for 7 inch extended plays)
    and 45 single picture sleeves also apply to this rule. The record inside can cause an 
    impression (a round shape in the face of the cover/sleeve) Many dealers or sellers 
    feel that the artwork (the ink) has to be worn or starting to rub off, before there is 
    any ring wear. NOPE!! Mint means perfect and nothing else! 
    **NOTE: Anytime a person calls anything MINT you should expect a perfect, visually 
    flawless item. We should actually use the term PERFECT rather than the term MINT. 
    Probably no one would ever use this grade. PERFECT is to say that man (who is not 
    perfect) can produce a perfect item. No way! MINT is already abused in the open 
    market and many people would be disappointed when they find some flaw to cause it
    to be an overgrade. My feelings are NOTHING is perfect and to call anything MINT 
    is purely "Hype". 
    ***2ND SPECIAL NOTE: It has been brought to my attention that because stickers may 
    involve promo and special track listings that were applied from the factory, it is 
    still not a standard practice. Promo stickers and large white programming labels 
    (on the bottom of the covers) are considered a turn off. Therefore even these
    stickers would lower the grade from a MINT status to perhaps only EX. Stickers
    that show special announcements, such as "Featuring the hit song...etc.", were 
    not applied to all the commercial releases. Some earlier copies may not have the
    sticker since the song in question had not even charted yet. It was to advertise
    the whole LP and draw attention to the buyer. Some stickers are worth money!
    That means they actually have value. Most companies applied the stickers to the
    shrink-wrap and thus, one should save these items, but if applied to the covers, 
    NM is the best way to grade these covers. If you wish to place value on the sticker 
    (most are anywhere from 50 cents to $2.00) then do so but make mention of the 
    sticker being on the cover to potential buyers! Many people want sticker free covers!
    MINT VINYL: This should be very simple to define (said with tongue in cheek). A mint 
    record should look perfect, as described earlier. Any defect from the factory pressing,
    such as bubbles or pits in the vinyl are not acceptable! Even if they do not cause 
    any problem when played. It should, as we said, be a perfect pressing. Records were 
    ALL packaged by hand and the simple placing of the record into a paper sleeve can 
    caused minor scuffs. Probably very insignificant, but they are flaws never the less.
    For this reason, it is impossible to call a sealed record mint. Thus any sealed 
    record that is sold, should be sold only with the guarantee that it is assumed to be
    unplayed. Unplayed records will always play better the 1st time unless. of course 
    there was a factory flaw. A sealed record cannot be inspected for flaws in the vinyl's
    grooves, so it not wise to call a sealed record MINT. Sealed records have sold for 
    more than the high end of price guides. 
    Ifyou are selling sealed records, be advised that many collectors shy away from them.
    A sight unseen record (through mail order) is hard to sell. A sealed record is even
    harder to sell. If you sell a sealed record and the customer finds flaws (such as 
    paper scuffs or defected vinyl) you won't be able to claim that the damage was caused
    by them, or that they swapped a good pressing with a bad pressing. If you sell 
    sealed records, you will have problems with some people, so be alert to those claims 
    of overgrading sealed items!
    NEAR MINT or NM: Sometimes dealers use M- (Mint Minus)grade. You may need to ask the
    dealer if he/she uses the M- grade the same way as NM. They should mean the same
    thing. However many people have used several confusing grades all based around the 
    Mint grade. We define NM and M- as being almost mint. This grade should be, for the 
    most part, the most widely used grade for records that appear virtually flawless. 
    Virtually flawless records are not perfect. As we mentioned above, no record truly 
    will be perfect, cover or disc. A very minor scuff and very little else can appear 
    on the vinyl. This will most likely have occurred during packaging, or removing the
    record from the inner sleeve but obviously it had been handled with extreme care.
    It should play without any noise over the flaw. The flaw should be very hard to see. 
    If a scuff covers more than a few tracks yet can be seen, it will not be NM, however 
    it may come very close. You should always use strong judgment when evaluating the 
    vinyl's condition. Any blemish no matter how small, prevents records from being MINT
    (Or our PERFECT grade).
    NEAR MINT COVERS: The cover should look as close to perfect with only minor signs 
    of wear and/or age. Minor impressions to the cover (due to the outer edge of the 
    vinyl resting inside) may be acceptable, however the artwork should be as close 
    to perfect as can be.
    EXCELLENT or EX or VG++: This is truly NOT a Goldmine defined grade, however it 
    is becoming more and more mainstream among collectors and sellers. It is also a
    very conservative grade for those who don't want to grade NM, for fear they may
    overgrade the record and cover (buyers are very picky remember!). In which case
    it is a very acceptable grade yet should not command the highest price based on 
    NM value. To put it simply, when collectable records are concerned there are only
    2 collecting grades. NM being "Collectors Condition" and everything less than NM
    is not. We are not saying EX records won't have any value, they just should not
    be sold for the highest end of book value. EX records will play just like NM or 
    MINT, meaning no audible noise will be heard during the play. They should sound 
    as good or better than they look. Many very rare (collectable) items can command 
    very close to NM value, simply because NM copies may not even exist.
    EX (VG++) VINYL: An excellent (or VG++) condition for vinyl will allow minor 
    scuffs which are visible but only slightly. There may be more than a few, so be
    careful not to call a record that has wear to more than 15% of the surface -EX.
    The wear should be minimal and of course should play mint! Any scratches that 
    can be felt with your fingernail can NOT be called scuffs. Scuffs lay on top of
    the grooves. 
    If there any break in the grooves that can be felt, they ARE scratches. 
    And most often, they will be heard when played (soft clicks or even loud pops).
    Once again, "No scratches can make this grade"! Only a few minor paper scuffs 
    and that's about it. The play should be close to perfect as well! 
    EX(VG++) COVER: Artwork should still be as close to perfect as can be. Some 
    impression to the cover (minor outer ring wear) but no ink wear! Some slight
    creases to the corners, but not wrinkled and obtrusive to the eye. The corners 
    can show white (where the artwork pasted slick was) meaning, slight wear. No 
    seam splits or writing on the cover or taped repairs can make this grade. If 
    you don't think a cover is NM than call it EX or less. There will be obvious 
    reactions to the EX grade but if you use the EX grade and price a bit lower, 
    your risk of overgrading will be reduced dramatically. You will also make more 
    people happy, rather than trying to call it NM.
    VERY GOOD PLUS or VG+: What does this mean? Some people will call a less than 
    NM record VG+ and skip the EX grade. Goldmine defines it as Excellent (EX), yet
    commands only 50% of the value (for most records). It can easily be defined as 
    2 ways. VG+ should be the next grade below a NM value when grading 45 singles.
    EX can be used for EP's. 45 singles have only 2 songs and EP's (7" by the way)
    can have 3, 4, 6 or 8 (seldomly found) songs on the record. With 45 singles one
    side may be NM and the other side may not. If the flip side is not NM but 
    still plays well (or great, no noise), VG+ is a conservative grade. Very few 
    45's should be called EX unless they are of rarities. This means you can allow
    a valuable item to be worth a bit more than just calling it VG+. Perhaps the 
    buyer will think a VG+ is EX and you can under sell yourself. Use careful 
    judgment when buying and selling them with this grade! 
    VG+ VINYL: Now for LP's (the big ones G). VG+ will show wear, surface scuffs,
    (or spiral scuffs that came from turntable platters or jukeboxes for 45 singles
    )and some very light scratches. Surface scuffs are caused from blunt (not sharp)
    objects. Often the minor scuffs are caused from inner sleeves. The vinyl should
    still have a great luster, but the flaws will be noticeable to the naked eye.
    Sometimes holding the record up to a very bright light you will see many tiny 
    lines across the surface. If the flaws don't cause any surface noise the vinyl
    can still make the VG+ grade. Most (but not all) VG+ records should still play 
    like a NM record. Because the vinyl has more than 15% (yet less than 30%) wear 
    to the surface it can make this grade. Remember, the record still should look as
    though it was handled with extreme care. Sometimes people find records that 
    have no scuffs that are visible, yet a careless needle scratch causes a break in
    the grooves. Play the record. Any obtrusive clicks or pops, which cause the 
    song to be less than enjoyable, may not even be VG+! Be cautious! Scratches are 
    not acceptable to a serious collector in any way. If you call a record 95% NM 
    but note the record as having 1 track with a bad scratch, many will only consider 
    it as VG (explained next). You should seldom call a record "A Strong VG, plays 
    mostly VG+". Remember the more conservative you are about the visual and audio 
    part of the grade, the better chance you will not have complaints from those who
    buy from you. Be honest. If you were buying that record, what grade would you 
    say it was? There are many serious collectors in this market and they won't
    hesitate to call your grading lousy if you put a VG+ grade on a record that plays
    less than great. 
    VG+ COVERS: Now that we defined the EX grade, a few extra flaws will make this
    grade. A virtually clean cover but may have small writing on it. (Magic marker 
    in big letters will not cut it. They are an eye sore so be wary of overgrading).
    The artwork should look clean with slightly more aging. The back of the cover 
    usually gives away the age of the cover. Flat white paper will be somewhat
    yellow yet no stains or mildew from water damage. Some minor wear to the seams 
    or spine, but no tears or holes popping through. The corners will be slightly 
    dog eared yet no crackly bends defacing the artwork. In essence, a VG+ cover 
    should have no more than 3 flaws mentioned. If all apply, it is less than VG+.
    (see next grade below)
    VERY GOOD or VG: This grade has become the much lesser demanded item. A lot of 
    people feel that a VG record is a record that is good enough. They are not
    really going to look very good, but they should STILL play very good. there 
    will almost always be some surface noise when they are played. The Dynamics 
    should still be excellent, overpowering the surface noise. A VG record will 
    appear to have been well played but still have some luster. The vinyl may be 
    faded, slightly grayish, because of surface scuffs, which often happens to 
    records that are played and left out of jackets. Still they should appear to 
    have been handled as carefully as they could have been. Records that get 
    continuous playing time will always start to deteriorate. Records that get less
    play are easily evident since they almost always look as though they were played 
    only a few times and then packed away for decades. More and more surface scuffs
    and scratches, and audible sound defects WILL be heard. They should not 
    overpower the dynamics of the music. With VG records, the surface noise will be
     minor crackle or a slight hiss, but should only be heard in between tracks or 
    in low musical passages.
    With Jazz and Classical recordings, the music can become very low to the point 
    where no music is even heard. If any crackle, tics, clicks or pops are heard, 
    these records will have very little value to a serious collector! Classical and
    Jazz is seldom wanted if they are in less than VG+ condition. It is wise to 
    play these records (as you should all records) when evaluating grades. Some 
    classical records may look VG+ or even NM, however play less than perfect. Beware
    of overgrading these. They are difficult to grade and conservative grading is 
    a must with them. and equally as important. Most dealers truly will not have a 
    lot of time to play every single LP they sell. It is just impossible. However 
    when records have questionable flaws, the record should be tested at least where
    the flaw occurs in the playing surface. Visually noting the flaw may not be good 
    enough. If the record skips, you will have made a mistake and the value would 
    thus be much less. A Classical LP in VG condition often will only be worth 10% of 
    the NM book value. If they are even wanted at all.
    VG COVERS: VG covers will look worn, used. There may be some seam splitting (but
    not completely separated!). There will be some ring wear, where the ink has
    begun to wear off, giving the cover a look of snow falling. If the artwork looks
    snowy all over, it is less than VG condition. There may be some writing on the 
    cover (still, no Large letters in magic marker). It will look aged and more 
    yellowish due to contaminants in the air (sometimes looking like cigarette smoke). 
    Still it should be decent. If damaged beyond any formidable beauty, it will not
    make this grade. VG should at least still have some attractive life to it, and 
    not have taped seams or water damage to it. If you decide to tape repair a cover, 
    to prevent further damage, use clear acid free, scotch tape and place it on so
    that it is not obtrusive to the eye. If only a small split, only tape the split. 
    Don't run tape across the entire spine or seams. Too much tape means too little 
    interest. Use as little as possible. If the split is minor, it is best to just 
    leave it alone. Note the flaw and go from there with the grade. Place the record 
    in a polyvinyl jacket and then behind the cover (outside of jacket but behind it).  
    GOOD or G (including the G+ and VG- grades)
    A good record will look very well played, dull, grayish and possibly abused. 
    However a Good record should still play. It will have distracting surface noise,
    such as crackle that is continuous or some hiss. Will also have some loss of 
    dynamics caused from grooves being worn. It should play without any skips or any
    obtrusively loud pops or repeated clicks caused by deep scratches. If you can't
    enjoy the record, it is no longer even good. Good means that it will play with
    some form of decency, so one can still enjoy the music even though you can still 
    hear noise caused from the wear. NOTE: Rock and Roll records generally play loud.
    G condition records for them will be the most likely thing that will still sell
    well. Jazz and Classical and easy listening in G condition are almost worthless 
    to a collector, since the musical passages often get very low and surface noise 
    is too distracting to the listener. Also check on 45 singles for the length of
    time. Records that play longer than 3 minutes, may not be as dynamic and thus 
    any wear will be heard more than the music (overpower the dynamics). 
    Use conservative judgment when grading these types of singles.
    GOOD COVER: A Good cover will have just about everything wrong with it. It will
    have seam splits (possibly taped and repaired, but only with scotch tape. No 
    duct tape or masking tape repairs). These are big turn offs. May have magic 
    marker writing on the cover but still if they are in huge letters, it is a big 
    turn off. In essence, the cover will look virtually trashed, but some artwork 
    will still be noticed. If the artwork is worn, it is POOR and the cover is
    worthless. Huge tears or gouges in the cover will also make the cover POOR. 
    Be careful about sealed records that have been water damaged. Mildew still can 
    get inside and cause great damage to the cover and the disc. Use common sense 
    and you will save yourself from an overgrade.
    ***NOTE: Sealed records that have water damage should be opened. Otherwise you
    will be in trouble later on when the cardboard starts to deteriorate inside 
    the shrink-wrap. Attempt to dry the covers using a hair dryer (be sure to remove
    the record first!) 
    G+ and VG-: This is separate from the above. Many records that appear in VG 
    condition often play less than very good. Goldmine defines them as better than 
    Good, but less than Very Good. The value should not increase more than the value
    of a Good record. Meaning they all should be priced somewhere within the same 
    guideline (most often it is 10 to 15% for Good, and only 15% for Good Plus (G+)
    and Very Good Minus (VG-). With a G+ record, it will look just as the described
    condition for Good, yet may play better than it looks. Dynamics are usually good 
    enough to overpower the surface noise. Same for VG-. However VG- and G+ are of 
    the same value. It is more of a visually and audibly combined grade. There should
    be no large price increase for these records. Price them like G records and you
    should not have a problem.
    FAIR, POOR: The easiest way to define this is if it does not meet the lowest 
    grade above (GOOD), it is trash. It is worthless. Unless it is so rare, it won't
     be sellable at all. It is OK to throw them away or give them to someone who just 
    wants to have them. It won't be playable for the most part, and so they are not 
    much good hanging onto them. Very few poor records are collectable. Some rare 
    colored vinyl or picture discs are OK, and can still be nice to have, but they
    won't be good enough to play again.
    Many people will buy reissues of past oldies. The era in which the vinyl
    is pressed makes a big difference to the way it will last and how it will sound
    for years to come. Original 50's and early 60's used quality materials to 
    produce LP's. Smaller labels used less than great vinyl. A good pressing is often 
    identified by it's thickness. Also the depth of the grooves. These will generally
    be better for the person who seeks quality originals. There is still the question
    as to the use of styrene. These are more brittle and damaged easily when played 
    on poor equipment. Finding good playing styrene can only be found by playing them.
    Some styrene will play better than others. Styrene was used in all decades (late 
    50's up to the late 80's). Recycled
    vinyl was used in the mid 70's up to the late 80's as well. Poor vinyl meant less
    playing time for these items. Finding them NM is a problem. Many issues can be 
    found, brand new, with hairline cracks and grayish discoloring. They may play nice
    but are unless you find them flawless and play perfect, don't overgrade them!
    Beware of imports from countries such as Taiwan and Korea. Although the vinyl 
    appears thick (almost too thick), the sound mastering and plate mastering are 
    inferior. They sound as bad as bootlegs, since they were mass produced using less
    than superior technology. They also were placed in paper sleeves that looked
    cheesy. Some may sound better than others, but beyond that, they are not very 
    collectable. They are more of a conversation piece rather than a valid piece of
    sound recording. Collectors often just pick them up for the novelty factor, not
    because they expect them to play good.  
    Quick rundown in abbreviated Grading System:
    EX or VG++
    G (with minor exceptions to G+ and VG-)
    F and P (Trash)
    GRADES THAT DON'T EXISTS: Be wary of these grades!
    M+ : They are trying to say the record is better than MINT! No such animal. 
    If you see this grade, avoid the record like the plague. Mint is the highest
    grade anything can ever be. And 99 out of 100 times the record won't even be
    mint! Man is not perfect! So how can a man-made product be better than perfect? 
    Answer: Impossible.
    NM- : Near Mint Minus. Just another way of trying to get top book value for 
    a record that is less than NM. If a seller uses this grade, ask what it means
    (thoroughly) as opposed to the NM or M- grade. It's your dollar and if they
    are selling it as less than NM yet for top dollar, you may be out of luck 
    trying to convince them that it was an overgrade on their part. If a record 
    is slightly less than NM, then use EX or VG++.
    EX+: If you read the above the same rule holds true here. No such thing as EX+.
    It is just another confusing grade that does not have any defined level of 
    agreement among collectors. People who use this grade don't want to lose
    money on their collectibles. By upping the grade, means upping the price. Just
    be fair. Use conservative grades When you grade a record, put yourself in the 
    shoes of the potential buyer. Would you want to get a record with this grade
    and discover some overlooked flaws? If you sell a record for big $$$ be prepared
    for criticism. People will examine the record with more than just a quick
    glance once they receive it. Overgrading will only make you look bad. And too
    many unhappy customers means very few repeats (or perhaps no customers in the 
    long run).
    VG+++: Come on, 2 plus marks are enough! No such animal! 
    G++ : Ok so I use it once in a blue moon. But at least I describe the way the 
    record plays, to a tee! The price does not go up. The grade is just a good
    selling point. Realistically though it does not exist. Use it seldomly, if ever.

    6. F.A.Q. - Frequently Ask Questions:

    Q: What Is a Bootleg?

    A: A bootleg is a recording that was issued for profit (on a
    non-tape medium) without the artists or the appropriate record company's
    permission. But over the years, a bootleg has been almost anything
    illegitimate and illegal. Originally, to bootlegwas to smuggle things
    by hiding them in the legs of your boots - the same hiding place
    has been used for liquor bottles during periods of probation and for
    smuggling tape recorders past security to record live concerts.
    Many people distinguish between bootleg recordsand pirate
    or counterfeit records, in that a bootleg contains unique material
    and does not try to look legitimate, wheras a pirate or counterfeit issue
    copies officially released material and tries to look like a legit release.
    (The distinction between officially released and unreleased material is
    clear, but the difference in trying to look legitimate is not.)

    A bootleg is a CD, LP, audio tape, or video tape of illegitimate origin.
    This officially unreleased material can be from a live performance
    (either recorded by a fan in the audience or a soundboard from the
    mixing deck), studio outtakes; that the artist believed to be unsuitable
    for official release, rehearsal; material, the soundtrack from a
    television performance, or even a copy of a radio show.
    Because these recordings are gained illicitly, the manufacture and sale of
    bootleg recordings is illegal in most countries. The artist receives no
    royalties from the sale of bootlegs.

    In the past several years, new laws in the U.S., Canada, and Europe have
    forced bootleg manufacturers further underground. The law is currently changing
    in Singapore. Distributors and retailers world-wide have been subjected to
    crackdowns, arrests, and prosecution. Jail time is not an impossibility along
    with heavy fines. Still, bootlegging continues as the demand is there.

    Q: Are Bootlegs Illegal?

    A: Most of them are. Some are/were legal because they were made in
    countries that have, or had at the time, very fuzzy or loopholey legislation
    (Italy and Japan spring to mind). It's usually illegal to export these to other
    countries, and to import and sell them.

    Q: Is it legal to buy bootlegs?

    A: No. It's not illegal to buy bootlegs - but it's illegal to manufacture
    them, and illegal to dealing them (which is why you shouldn't post your
    sources to USENET).

    Q: Is a bootleg a pirate recording?

    A: No. A pirate recording is an exact copy, including the artwork, of an
    officially released sound recording or video.

    Q: Legal or not - aren't they unethical?

    A: You decide. Of course bootleggers take output control away from
    the artist (or record company), and their product (generally) does not generate
    royalties. Some of them are cheap rip-off jobs issued only for a quick profit;
    some of them are labours of love that bootleggers are losing money on.
    Many people hate them, and many people love them, for various reasons. On these
    pages, we suspend judgement  (although the occasional scornful sarcasm or
    appreciative wink may be detectable between the lines) - you be the judge.
    Certainly, no one is SELLING bootlegs around here. This is pure
    for a special brand of hard-core fanatics.

    Q: Why do people collect bootlegs?

    A: Most fans are satisfied with official record company releases.
    However, there are a good number of more dedicated fans who want everything
    an artist has ever done. These individuals own every official release and most
    likely, the foreign official releases as well (known as imports).
    By collecting bootlegs, these fans may be documenting every show they've ever
    attended; they may be collecting all alternate takes of a favorite song; or they
    may just be seeking out the best shows from each tour. Many boot collectors
    believe that these live recordings are preserving an important part of the
    world's musical heritage. Boots are also fun to listen to. If you were at a
    particular concert, you can relive the experience. If you weren't at a show,
    but get the boot, you can still experience it. It is also true that certain
    artists perform better "in concert" than in the studio, so "live"
    recordings showcase the artist at their best.

    Q: Do bootlegs put Record Companies/Artists out of business?

    A: Most people who do Prince bootlegs do so because they like Prince.
    They don't do it for the money. Yes and no. If, say, Prince planned to release
    an album and a bootlegger got hold of a tape of the album and released it before he
    did, it could of course cause him very serious financial damage if such
    a bootleg was sufficiently distributed. On the other hand, the kind of bootlegs
    that offer unreleased or deleted material, that the artist does not plan to
    release, are complements to, not replacement of, the official collection, and
    usually not supported by a large enough market base to threaten anyone.
    This is hardly a water-tight defense, though, because who can tell what material
    an artist plans to release in the future?
    Of course, in some countries the market is flooded by counterfeit copies of pop
    albums passed off as the real thing - that's the ultimate threat, but it's some-
    thing completely different.

    Q: How does Prince feel about bootlegs?

    A: What was his first step into the bootleg market? Maybe you can see
    the withdrawing of the Black Album in 1987 as THE beginning. This album (finally
    official released in 1994) sold over 250,000 bootleg copies (CD + vinyl) -
    without counting tape duplications - and is one of the most famous bootlegs
    up to date! Another point is the known existing of countless unreleased Prince
    material (hundreds of finished studio (out)takes and concert live recordings) -
    that makes a boot of such rare material desireable and attractive!

    Crystal Ball, 1998 (official release)

    Prince once said (ask why he still hadn't released a live album and about the
    mass of unathorized live boots):

    "I've never released an official live album. The bootlegs - some of these
    guys are making more off my music than I am ... I understand a fan's need:
    I wanted every note James Brown ever sung. But a live album is such definitive
    statement. I will play my old stuff again, maybe 'When doves cry' will sound
    right for once. Sometimes I get a better idea for a song, but it's already

    O(+> vs. Bootleggers?!

    Prince about Napster and MP3-exchange (Source: MusicTarget.com, August 3, 2000):

    "Prince speaks out on file-exchange through the internet

    According to Prince, the current Napster versus music companies battle
    Napster is about the government protecting record companies.
    And anybody who steals from the record companies is going to get shut down.
    Although some people think Prince is siding with the major record labels in
    their fight against illegal downloads, he has said that he is not pro or
    contra Napster, but that his interest in the issue is that musicians should
    have the right to control their art, not the record companies."

    Interview with Larry King (Aired December 10, 1999):


    "Well, there's three things I wanted to get out of my system, mainly "The
    Crystal Ball Project," which was a reissue of a lot of the bootlegs that
    have been coming out all over the world. I am probably one of the most
    bootlegged artists out there. I wanted to clean that up and get the real
    good mixes out, let people hear what they're really supposed to sound like
    if ever given the chance to complete them."

    KING: What can an artist do about bootlegging?

    THE ARTIST: "What - the best thing you can do is go back and get those
    mixes again and fix them up the way you always saw them completed, and
    then, you know, reissue them."

    KING: Does the listener know if they buy one of these in Germany that
    this isn't what you intended?

    THE ARTIST: "A lot of my so-called fans do, and they actually thrive off
    the fact that it's stolen property, you know."

    Prince made his point very clear - in the years 1998 and 1999:

    Please read the Open letter 2 all website operators"!

    Q: What About These Tapes?

    A: I don't mind the grapevine. What I mind is guys who rip me off and make
    a profit from it. It depends on what the intent is. If the intent is to rip me off,
    then I hate it. If the intent is to find out what's going on, then I think it's
    fabulous. Some fans are trading tapes instead of buying bootlegs. People have
    taped shows from the audience, people have taped bootleg albums, and sometimes
    soundboard tapes have leaked out, and copies of these tapes circulate among fans
    (some people call these tapes boots too - we don't do that here).
    Tape-trading is cheaper and less illegal than buying bootlegs.

    Q: Why are there sometimes Re-Issues of Bootlegs?

    A: It's a Jungle Out There! When your product is illegal in the first
    place, you can't of course copright it, and you can't take legal action if someone
    copy it. So people copy. (Besides, bootlegging is often a small-time venture, and
    supply rarely meets public demand. There is a market for re-issues.)
    In the vinyl age, this was very common; in the CD age, it is the rule.

    Q: What does a bootleg cost?

    A:Bootlegs are generally manufactured in runs of less than 1000 units
    and because of their relative scarcity, they cost more than official releases.
    Also, they are rarely available anywhere but the largest cities (NY, London,
    Tokyo, etc). As of early 1999, standard prices in New York City were $25 for
    a single disc and $50 to $60 for a double CD. Some Japanese boots can cost
    considerably more when purchased in New York (up to $125 for a double CD,
    into the multiple hundreds for "boxed sets"). Starting in the
    spring of 1998, CDR copies of older releases with poor reproductions on the
    artwork became available in New York. At first, they were priced the same as
    the original issue. Near the end of 1998, CDR copies were priced slightly
    lower than CDs. Approximately $18 to $20 fora single and $35 to $40 for a
    double. Prices in the New York City area are higher in stores than at record
    shows. Very few of these vendors accept credit cards, so make sure you have
    cash. At record shows, you may be able to negotiate a lower price if you
    are purchasing multiple CDs. This will not work in the New York stores.
    Sound quality has no bearing on the cost from these sources.

    As of January 1999, prices in England and Japan are as follows. In England,
    dealers acknowledge the differences in sound quality and charge accordingly.
    A lesser quality boot where the tracks were taken from scratchy old acetates
    costs around 9.99. A good quality single CD is approximately 12 and a
    double CD is about 20-24. Japanese releases are priced much higher than
    this due to their scarcity in England. In Japan, the price of bootlegs
    varies widely. A single CD is about 2500 to 3500. A double CD on average
    is 4500 to 6500, but can go as high as 8900 to 11,000. Box sets can
    cost in the neighborhood of 35,000 or more.

    Here's a handy currency converter.
    The costs listed above were still accurate as of April 2000.

    There are MANY bootlegs. Some are very common. Some are very rare.

    Still, here's a another general guide:

    $ 8.00 - $30.00 - Pre-1980 U.S.
    $10.00 - Current U.S.
    $20.00 - $25.00 - Current European
    $25.00 - Current CD
    $30.00 - $100.00 Out of print CD, depending on title.

    Pre-'80 titles generally have paper insert covers, and consist of
    material which is very often available in much better quality on bootlegs
    of a more recent vintage. Some collectors (like me!) go for the "old
    ones". European titles are not necessarily of better quality (although
    many of them ARE), but are harder to find, and cost more when you can
    find them. CD's are a worthwhile purchase ONLY if they're mastered
    from TAPE. Some are mastered from old vinyl bootlegs, and sound terrible!

    Q: Why should I pay good money for bootlegs when I can trade tapes?

    A: A tape taken from a bootleg will never be as clear as the bootleg
    itself. If you're on a tight budget, however...

    Q: How is the quality of a boot?

    A: Quality varies widely on these recordings, from barely listenable
    to sound approaching that of an official release. Prior to 1989, bootleg
    recordings were predominantly issued on vinyl records. From 1989-1997,
    CDs pressed in plants were the rule. Staring in 1998, more and more CD-R's
    (CD-R stands for Compact Disc Recordable - they are compact discs that
    can be recorded on by an individual or by a professional recording house via a
    laser burner - usually a CD-R(W) within a PC or part of stereo component system.)
    began showing up at record fairs and in stores. Sometimes, the CD-R will be a
    copy of a previously released title, other times, new shows or recently
    discovered outtakes will be issued in the CD-R format. It is common to see
    people selling shows on audio tape at record fairs and flea markets.

    Q: What's the difference between a soundboard recording and an audience
    recording? Radio shows?

    A: A soundboard recording comes directly from the artist's
    mixing board at a concert. The sound quality often approaches that of an
    officially released live recording. In many instances, an official release
    may be edited, so if you can find a soundboard of the show the official re-
    lease was taken from, you'll have a truer picture of the actual performance.

    An audience recording is exactly what the name implies; a fan in the
    audience taped the show. In the 1960s and 1970s, this was done on reel to
    reel tape recorders. In the 1980s, it was predominantly cassette recorders.
    In the 1990s, with the improvement in audio technology, the majority of
    shows are recorded on DAT (Digital Audio Tape). Over time, the
    quality of audience recordings has improved. It is unlikely that you will
    find a great sounding audience recording from the 1960s or 1970s simply
    because the technology wasn't there (there are some exceptions). Although
    poor quality audience shows are still being recorded and issued, the
    overall quality has improved with the advent of DAT. The biggest drawback
    of audience recordings is audience noise. Although the taper themselves may
    have remained quiet, there may have been a "screamer", "talker",
    "whistler", or "clapper" sitting nearby. Since 1995,
    the quality of audience recordings has improved a good deal. Many audience
    recordings have NO audience noise and some are so good it takes some very
    careful listening to tell that it is not a soundboard. A very basic rule of
    thumb is crowd noise, if any exists on a soundboard, will be distant.
    With an audience tape, the audience noise will be more distinct. You might
    hear a piece of a conversation between songs, for example. It should be
    noted that some boot collectors have a prejudice against audience recordings
    and will collect only soundboards. However, they are passing up some of the
    best shows and recordings available.

    Sometimes, FM radio stations will broadcast a concert or other event.
    They can be "simulcast" meaning it is being broadcast "live"
    or the show can be pre-recorded. Pre-recorded shows prior to 1993 or so were
    issued on vinyl records or on reel-to-reel tape. Since the mid-90s, these
    shows are issued on CD. Since 1998, these shows have been almost exclusively
    issued on CDR. Radio shows are acquired by fans by taping it off the air or
    by getting a copy of the actual record, reel-to-reel tape, or CD that was
    issued to radio stations. They often contain commercials. Purchasing the
    actual media that was sent to stations can be very expensive. They generally
    cost double the price of a bootleg at a minimum.

    Q: Where can I get bootlegs?

    A: Since selling bootlegs is illegal, most shops that carry them do
    not want to be recognized in a public document like this FAQ. NEVER EVER
    post the name, address, or phone number of a store that carries bootlegs
    anywhere on the internet or on a ISP message board.
    In general, privately owned shops are a better bet than large chains.
    College towns are excellent hunting grounds. Record fairs are also an
    excellent source. Some dealers will do mail order, but it is hard to verify
    track listings and sound quality when ordering by mail.

    In the past several years, bootlegs have also become available on the
    Internet. However, some dealers are disreputable. For example, collectors
    have reported long delays in getting their order (many months); much
    difficulty in obtaining a refund when a CD is no longer available; the
    dealeris selling CD-R copies as "originals" and not informing
    the consumer and charging the same or more than the original price; poor
    manufacturing standards; or the dealer has only one show but sells it as
    multiple cities, i.e. the dealer only has a concert from Boise in her
    possession, but also sells it as Las Vegas, New York, Los Angeles etc.
    to unsuspecting collectors. Before purchasing ANYTHING from a dealer you
    find on the web or see an ad for on a bulletin board or a newsgroup, ask
    around on newsgroups or bulletin boards. For example, your message can say
    "I'm thinking of purchasing CDs from XYZ Studios in Nevada. Has
    anyone here ever dealt with them before? Any problems? Are they reputable?"
    Also, ask your like-minded friends for reputable sources on the Internet.

    Bootlegs have become increasingly available on the various online auction sites.
    If you choose to go this route, be mindful that bootlegs (like countless other
    items) often sell for vastly inflated prices due to bidding wars and uneducated
    Another way to get boots is through trading. With many older titles, the only
    way to obtain a copymay be through trading with another collector.

    Q: Are there any rules for buying and collecting bootlegs?

    A: By reading this F.A.Q., you already are on your way to being a
    savvy consumer of bootlegs. But, here are a few other things to keep in mind:

    Rule #1: Listen before you buy.
    Whether you are going to the shops or a record fair, bring a portable CD
    player with you. Most shops won't let you use the store stereo and many dealers
    at shows don't have CD players available. If a vendor won't let you listen,
    you have two choices - find another source that will or take a chance and buy
    the bootleg.

    Rule #2: Consult a bootleg discography!

    This point cannot be stressed enough! Create a list of your "wants"
    along with some notes - exact title, date, sound rating, plus alternate titles
    for the same show, along with ratings. Take this with you when you go shopping.
    By doing your "homework" your chances of buying a really good or
    great boot over a poor one increase significantly.
    Use the discography in conjunction with the "essentials list"
    especially if you are new to collecting.

    Rule #3: Ask questions!

    The store owner or record fair vendor probably won't be of much help (likely,
    they will tell you "they're all soundboards" or "it's great quality").
    But if you see someone else browsing the Prince section ask him or her for
    recommendations. Ask if they have heard anything about a particular show that
    you may be interested in. Ask questions on the USENET's newsgroups!

    Rule #4: It happens to everyone, so accept the fact that at some point you
    will purchase a poor quality recording or a show you already own that has been
    reissued with a new title.

    Q: What about trading for shows?

    A: Most trading encompasses the exhange of audio tapes or CDR's, although some
    people do trade DATs (Digital Audio Tape). Be aware that some shows of
    extremely good quality may only be available through trading as they were
    never issued as a bootleg or the bootleg is out of print. By the early
    part of 2000, CDR's have become the preferred trading format.
    Trading cassette tapes is rapidly going the way of the dinosaur due to
    the dropping cost of CDR units and blanks for home use.

    There are three types of trades. The first is the "even exchange" where
    each person copies a show or shows and sends the same number of tapes or
    CDR's to the other person. The second and third types involve "blank" tapes
    or CDRs. If you're a newbie trader you will probably start off with one of
    the two blank"; trade methods: two-for-one and one-for-one.
    With "two-for-one blank trades", you send the person DOUBLE the amount of
    blank tapes or CDR's needed. They keep the extras for their time and trouble.
    Each person pays postage. The best method for a newbie is the "one-for-one
    You send a person blank tapes or CDR's and postage and they copy the
    shows you requested and mail them back to you. Ask around on various mailing lists,
    newsgroups and message boards for such a trade. There are LOTS of fans out there
    that enjoy sharing the music and are willing to help a newbie out as someone
    once gave them a hand. If a person offers to do this for you, be considerate.
    Don't ask for 10 or 15 shows from their list. Ask for three or four - if they
    offer to copy more for you, fine. After you get the shows back, drop them a note
    to say thanks and let them know what you thought of the shows. It's nice to get
    feedback. Once you have a few shows in your collection, you can start exchanging
    one show for another and building your collection from there.

    Q: Are there any "rules" for trading cassette tapes?

    A:Here are some general guidelines to follow when trading cassette copies
    of shows:

    Never use high speed dubbing: Yes, it's much faster, but the quality just
    isn't there. You need to copy your tapes in "real time"

    You need a good cassette deck: Do not use a boombox with two decks or an
    inexpensive bookshelf system. The motor often runs the tape at a speed that is
    slightly off and you have no control over the input levels. If you are thinking
    of getting into trading, you need to acquire a decent dual-well tape deck that
    is part of a stereo component system. If you are starting out and all you have
    is a boombox or inexpensive bookshelf system, let the other person know. If it
    is an experienced trader, they may not want a copy of what you have to offer,
    but they might be willing to do a blank trade instead.

    Dolby: If you're trading cassette tapes, ASK the person you're trading
    with if they want Dolby "on" or "off". Most current tape
    formulations allow for very low noise, so Dolby isn't really necessary. Also,
    it tends to mute high frequencies. The best advice is not to use it.

    Erasure Prevention  Tabs: The tabs on top of cassette tapes can
    easily be popped out to prevent accidental erasure of the tape. The best advice
    is to remove them when you are done recording. There is nothing worse than
    throwing a tape into the deck, hitting record, and then realizing you just
    taped over your only copy of a show. If you need to record over a tape, it's
    easy enough to cover the hole with a small piece of tape. Make sure you only
    cover the part where the tab was. Better quality tapes have a hole next to the
    tab that is used by cassette decks that set the tape bias automatically.
    Cheaper tapes will not have this hole.

    Tape length: Use 90-minute tapes as often as you can. Use 100s or 110s
    only when absolutely necessary. The longer the tape, the thinner the tape is.
    It all has to fit inside the cassette, so they make it thinner. Not only do
    longer tapes put more strain on the tape deck motor; they can break or jam
    easier. Be aware that tapes are not exactly "90" minutes long.
    They are always a bit longer - it averages about two minutes per side for TDK
    or Maxell brand tapes. The "extra" tape varies a bit from batch to batch.

    What type of tape should be used? The standard among tape traders seems
    to be the Maxell XLII or the TDK equivalent, the TDK-SA. Some traders prefer
    one step up in quality, the Maxell XL-IIS or TDK-SA-X. When setting up a trade,
    ASK what type of tape you should use. If you have a preference, let the other
    person know. Some traders are very, very picky about the brand / type of tape
    used, so it is best to clarify this before hand. Your tape deck may work better
    with one brand over another. If you don't notice a difference in sound quality,
    use whichever tape costs less. Large chain stores like Target, KMart, Walgreens,
    and even Sam Goody often have sales on blank tapes. Note that the high quality
    Maxell XL-IIS and TDK-SA-X weigh a bit more than the other cassette tapes and
    some car stereos have trouble ejecting them. Car stereos are also notorious for
    "eating" tapes. You may want to make a copy on lesser quality tape for
    use in your car or even your Walkman.

    Q: Are there any "rules" for trading CDR's?

    A: First off, if you are doing a "blank" trade with someone who will
    be making a CDR copy for you, ask if they need COMPUTER CDR's or AUDIO ONLY
    as there are major differences between the two. If they have a CDR burner
    in a stereo system, they CANNOT use computer CDRs. Note that there is a
    difference between CONSUMER DECKS and PROFESSIONAL DECKS and the type of CDR they
    use as well. Make sure you find this out before sending off your blanks. Note that
    audio only CDRs are more expensive than computer CDRs. Also, if you know nothing
    about this medium, ask which brand the person prefers. Also, CD players manufactured
    before 1993 often have difficulty in playing CDRs.

    Copying discs on computer-based CDR burners: Error rates often appear on
    discs copied at 2x or 4x speed based on the buffer size set up for the software.
    It is often best to copy discs at 1x to avoid this problem, or if you know how to
    do it, increase the size of the buffer under-run file. You may not notice errors on
    playback (especially if you try it on your computer), but these errors often show
    up on high-end CD players. So, ask your trading buddy what copying speed is
    acceptable to them.

    Avoid the "two second"; gap! When copying a live concert on CDR, ALWAYS
    use the "disc at once"; or "DAO"; feature. This feature eliminates the two second
    gap between tracks as the laser does not shut off between tracks. Any other mode
    will create a two-second gap between tracks.

    Q: Q: Is there tape / CDR trading etiquette?

    A: Keep your list up to date and as complete as possible. Your tape
    trading list should catalog your shows by artist, date, venue, title of the CD
    or LP (give the title too if you have a tape copy), generation, source,
    rating, and length. The first four are self-explanatory. Generation is
    how many copies is it away from the "master" recording and only
    applies to cassette tapes. Lower generations are more desirable. The more
    generations removed, the more "noise" is on the tape and the sound
    quality begins to break down. If you don't know, say you don't know. If
    someone made your tape from his or her CD, say "copy from CD".
    (Note: "generation" does not apply to CDR or DAT, as there is no
    degradation in quality when copies are made. Call it a CDR or DAT copy.
    This is their great advantage. This is also one of the main reasons why
    CDRs have become the preferred trading format). If you tape something from
    radio yourself, you have a FM Master. Source is whether it is a
    soundboard or audience recording. Rating is the overall rating on
    sound quality. Some rating or grading systems uses a scale of one to six,
    with one being the worst and six the best. The designation "SB" (Soundboard);
    indicates it is a soundboard. If it says "three" it indicates the
    source was an audience tape.
    Be wary of someone who is making you a copy of a CD in their collection and
    tells you it is A+ or Excellent and the bootography only gives it a two or
    three. Length is easy, just state how long that entry is in minutes,
    i.e. 50 min, 116 min, 135 min. for cassette tapes. For CDs and CDRs, single,
    double, or 5 CDs is a sufficient description. Note that a person may have an
    incomplete copy of an available show. If you're guessing on any part of an
    entry, put a "?" next to your guess....

    Decide with your trading partner the "rules of the trade".
    Always make sure your trading partner is doing the same thing you are and
    you both are clear on how many tapes or CDRs will be exchanged.
    Decide on how they will be packaged for mailing. Bubble envelopes or small
    cardboard boxes are key - never use a regular 5x7 or 8x10 manila envelope.
    The post office isn't exactly gentle in handling mail. For cassette tapes:
    Always make sure the tape is wound to the beginning. Decide on whether you
    will ship with or without the plastic cases. If you are shipping WITHOUT the
    plastic cases, pull the "j-card" out of the case with the tape.
    The j-card will protect the exposed tape. Put two cassettes together so they
    fit together and wrap with a rubber band. Put the tapes in a plastic bag to
    protect them from water. Ask how the other person wants their tapes labeled.
    Some people are great on a computer and are creating their own j-cards with
    photos. Not everyone has this talent. Some people don't want handwritten
    j-cards. If you have poor handwriting, enclose a typewritten set list with
    all details from your "trading list".
    For CRD's: Agree on whether you will ship with or without jewel cases
    and with or without copies of the original artwork (with home scanners and
    cheap color printers, the exchange of artwork has become quite popular.
    Ask your trading buddy if they want or need it). If you ship without jewel
    cases (this lowers the shipping cost significantly especially when mailing
    to an address outside the U.S.), place them in cardboard or paper sleeves
    and place the CDRs between two sheets of heavy cardboard to protect them
    before putting them in a bubble envelope.

    If you are exchanging shows, decide on how long the trade will take to complete.
    Three weeks for a trade of four to eight shows is fair. If it will take you
    longer for some reason, let the other person know as soon as possible.
    Tape decks break, computers crash and family or job crises arise. Don't let the
    other person wonder.

    What happens if the tapes or CDR's don't arrive as promised?
    There are some bad traders out there who never hold up their end of the bargain.
    The great majority of traders do not fall into this category. Before you run to your
    nearest message board or mailing list to bad mouth and warn everyone off this
    trader, write them and ask for an update. Packages do get lost or damaged in the
    mail. People get ill or have emergencies. Their job may require lots of overtime
    all of a sudden. An unexpected project may have been assigned at school. Give the
    person the benefit of the doubt. If they don't answer you after three or four
    polite inquiries, go ahead and send a message to a forum but keep YOUR dignity.
    Rather than calling them names, simply say, "I set up a trade with ABC.
    They never fulfilled their end of the bargain even though I sent my CDRs within
    X weeks. I wrote several times and he/she hasn't responded. You may want to
    consider this if you are thinking about setting up a trade with this individual."


    7. MP3 - Some thoughts + ascpects:

    The history, the future of MP3 and the music industry

    by Adam Powell:

    "MP3 is changing the face of music. Unsigned artists are using the audio
    format to distribute their music, bootleggers are (according to some)
    ruining the music industry, the music industry is hustling to get their
    own audio formats out the door, and the rest of us are making mixes and
    streaming our own broadcasts."
    "The arrival of the MP3 format is sending shock waves through the music
    industry. We'll look at why the development of such a powerful format is
    causing so many changes in the distribution of media and what the results
    of these changes could be. But first, let's take a look at the history of
    this troublesome little format.

    Read the the full tutorial:

    Adam Powell's MP3 Package: Legal and ethical issues, The music revolution


    8. Links, sources + informations:

  • IWA (International Webcasting Association:

    "Digital Millennium Copyright Act: More Music Licensing Royalties for Webcasters"

  • Bootlegs.com: Live Recording Tips + Getting Started In Live
    Taping Equipment Basics

  • G2P - Guide 2 Prince

  • Stylecipation - Sabotage Collection

  • Paisley Park Vault.com


  • rec.music.marketplace.vinyl
  • rec.music.marketplace.cd
  • rec.music.artists
  • rec.music.cd
  • rec.music.collecting.cd
  • rec.music.collecting.misc
  • rec.music.collecting.vinyl
  • alt.collecting.records
  • alt.music.bootlegs

    *) Free Usenet (newsgroup) service via browser: Deja.com

    Please also check out our sections MENU 1: SHOPS - especially the link 2
    TRADING SAFELY ON THE INTERNET and SEARCH: Societies of Composers,
    Authors and Publishers
    from the top frame!

    THE END - thanx 4 Ur time!