realizes that there obvious ethical arguments with regard totrading
of unlicensed recordings (aka bootlegs). Due to this fact we hereby
do not endorse nor do we encourage people to trade concerts without
the consent of the performing artist. However we feel that the
trading of concerts is an interesting topic and one that fans
would be interested in reading about.
Having been intrigued and
attracted to music that is commercially unavailable, many fans
of the Beastie Boys have begun to collect bootleg concert recordings.
Currently the trend within trading circles is composed primarily
of cd-r trading; however, this was not always the case. Prior
to 1998, nearly every bootleg recording was copied from collector
to collector on audio cassette tapes. Despite the changes in blank
media, there have been many consistent aspects of the hobby and
will be discussed in further detail.
As someone just starting out, one needs to set personal collecting
goals - for example, many fans prefer the Beastie Boys post-Ill
Communication recordings while other fans may decide to focus
their sights on collecting Beastie Boys concerts dating from 1994
to the present. A more specific goal would be to collect as many
recordings from the 1998 Hello Nasty tour as humanly possible.
Obviously as one's interest grows in the hobby, goals will shift
or change. Having an idea of what you want to specifically search
out is important because scanning through potential traders can
The harsh reality of concert collecting
is that it is difficult to start from the very bottom and build
your way up. Fortunately for beginners or "newbies,"
as they are sometimes called, there are some established collectors
who will happily duplicate their videos or cd-rs in exchange for
blanks and postage. This transaction provides those without even
one recording a foundation upon which to build. For better or
for worse, there seems to be a movement away from these starter
programs for beginners; instead, many collectors are simply charging
a flat fee of $5 to $10 per disc for their time and cost of postage.
Depending on your financial status, some newbies actually prefer
to buy a handful of shows to jumpstart their collection and to
improve their chances for securing upcoming trades.
Many collectors of Beastie Boys bootlegs have traditionally fallen
into the trap of only looking for fellow fans to trade with. The
problem with this is that after a while it becomes a situation
where just the same old shows are being passed back and forth.
To solve the problem and put some new life into the mix, collectors
should venture outside of the Beastie Boys message boards and
newsgroups. Take a lesson from the early gold prospectors of the
1870s: it is easy to find trace amounts of gold in places that
everyone knows about, but to make the big score one needs to lay
claim to an entirely new untapped area. In the realm of concert
trading, gold is analogous to finding a concert recording which
has not previously been discovered. With an undiscovered recording
in hand, a smart collector can turn a small collection to an larger,
more diverse collection within a week's time - time spent searching
for the undiscovered prize is well worth the potential payoff.
The best places to start
your search online are also the most frequently visited. Both
the Trade and the Tape Trader Network serve the purpose of matching
up traders with similar interests in music. The downside to these
two websites is that many people, whom you may wish to trade with
, are either too busy to reply or simply not interested in what
you have to offer. Frustrated collectors often have to offer other
items in an attempt to lure an unwilling person into a trade.
Few collectors listed within those trading sites will accept your
money in exchange for copies of their bootlegs; however, you may
find success in offering to "trade" them a new DVD in
exchange for the recording you want.
The hesitation and unwillingness for some collectors to sell
recordings is that it seems morally wrong to them to accept money
for bootlegs. This may seem utterly confusing and ridiculous to
an outsider who cannot understand how a person could accept a
$20 store bought DVD in trade, but would turn down the same amount
in cash. It is the paradox of the trading community - it just
has to be accepted. In many trading circles it is considered an
insult to make an offer to purchase a rare recording, even if
you are offering as much as $100.00 for it. More likely than not,
the person with the recording will suspect you are working for
the RIAA as an anti-bootlegging agent and will cut off all correspondence
with you. It may sound crazy, but paranoia abounds within the
That paranoia is exactly what
makes contacting and trading with strangers difficult and challenging.
One of the unwritten laws of trading states that the person who
initially contacted the other trader should send his/her half
of the trade first. The first thought that goes through everyone's
mind is "What if I send the money and the other person never
sends the recordings?" It happens to every collector and
sooner or later it will happen to you - getting ripped off is
unfortunately part of the trading experience. It seemed as though
the bigger problem was when compact disc blanks were $8 each,
and now that they are less than twenty-five cents apiece, people
do not seem to get as upset about the occasional dead-beat trader.
Also there are those who make up their own rules when it comes
to setting up a prospective trade. At one time all trades were
considered even and one disc was exchanged for another - then
the tide changed direction and many people began requesting at
least two discs in trade for every one disc that they would supply.
With the advent of 100CD-R spindles for $5.00, traders decided
that sending two discs for one was not an issue worth fighting
about and caved in to the greedy traders. Another side-effect
of buying CD-R blanks in bulk was that concert traders ceased
sending compact disc jewel cases through the mail, and instead
went to just sending compact discs. This method saved everyone
money on postage, and reduced the global amount of broken jewel
Wealthy concert traders will
always want to send their half of the trade as expensively as
possible, whereas college students will try to get by as cheaply
as they can. Postage and shipping decisions should be agreed upon
prior to securing the trade. Both traders should contact each
other as to how and when the packages are dropped into the mail.
Also, both traders should e-mail each other when they receive
their new compact discs or video tapes. A breakdown in communication
is the number one reason why trades go bad (or some traders are
simply just busy people and do not check their e-mail as often
as they should). When this occurs, a smart experienced trader
will remain patient and polite - if accusations and obscenities
start flying, a person is less likely to ever receive the recordings
If there's something wrong with the recordings, it is only right
that the person who copied them make good on the trade. Well,
what could go wrong? Perhaps the most annoying problem with trading
CD-Rs is that beginners will burn their copies in the "track
at once" mode. This will result in two to three second gaps
in between the tracks. This is not real noticeable on a studio
mixed recording, yet when it comes to concerts the gaps have driven
more than one person into temporary insanity. To eliminate this
altogether, the rule is always copy concert recordings using the
"disc at once" mode.
With CD-R drives now writing
discs at unthinkably fast speeds, digital flaws can occur from
time to time. No one wants to get flawed recordings in the mail,
so it is a good idea to always double check the discs you make
before you send them off. If everyone looked out for one another,
cd-r trading communities would thrive like the old tape trading
circles did ten years ago. Back then the biggest concern was that
a lazy tape trader would stick it to you by "high speed"
dubbing the cassettes he was supposed to send. High speed dubbing
often resulted in distorted vocals and lead to domestic violence.
Video tape trading has not changed a great deal over the last
decade. To successfully duplicate a concert on VHS tape, a person
must have two stereo HI-FI VCRs or a machine that is built specifically
for copying. Video tapes rarely get broken in transit, but they
do tend to cost more to mail. International video tape trading
remains difficult due to compatibility issues between North American
NTSC decks and European PAL machines but as more and more people
are discovering the benefits of trading VCDs (video compact discs),
problems with trading video footage abroad may someday be resolved.
DVD burners are creeping into the homes of concert traders; however
since there is no agreement upon standard for DVD burning, compatibility
issues between all the various brands have discouraged sales.