The opinions on the subject of bootlegs are very different. Some demonize them, others collect them diligently as documentation of the live performances of their favorite band. And still others make a lot of money.
If even bootlegs, then others should not enrich it. This is to be exchanged among bootleg collectors is also a matter of course.
Often, the quality leaves much to be desired recording, but over the years, the recordings have become better and better.
I love bootlegs. I sincerely think that anyone who is an opposer of bootlegging must either be an idiot, or not fully understand it. By bootlegging, I mean of course free trading like DIME, bootleg blogs, etc.
Now, I will NEVER pay for a bootleg. NEVER. If the band doesn't get any money, I ain't paying!
I've been collecting boots since the late 80s. The vinyls were pretty expensive, mostly too expensive for me, so I traded tapes and borrowed LP's to record them onto tape. Later, early-mid nineties, bootleg CD's appeared that became a bit more affordable. Mid-late 90's internet became more important to do tape trades, later CD-R trades, and now mainly online trades.
It's a way of being a fan IMHO. I think it's very interesting to hear different versions of music that's so wellknown. It's almost impossible for a band to release everything because there's just a niche of fans interested in "everything". That's why I think it's great when bands allow bootlegs to a certain extent.
1. Selling bootlegs is bad. If you sell bootlegs, you make a profit of someone else's work. IMO this borders stealing.
2. Buying bootlegs is... not smart. But I'm aware that some people don't know about (internet) communities where bootlegs are freely shared, or maybe they think it's all too difficult, so they choose to pay a price just to save from this 'hassle'. IMO, this is not smart because A. you're paying for something that is available for free (possibly in better quality) and B. you're encouraging the sellers. See my point 1.
3. Bootlegs exist. People record shows and these recordings are being distributed. This is a given. I think that free distribution (trade or giveaway for free) is the only fair way. This way, the band doesn't get hurt - the recording being shared is something the band wouldn't profit from anyway (as they didn't release it themselves), and the more people share for free, the less there will be a market for selling bootlegs.
Now I can't speak for Andy of course, but I guess his take is in line with point 3: free distribution is OK. Not that he actively encourages it, but I'm sure he understands how fans value rare recordings that haven't been officially released. This appears so by the fact that he included some real *bootleg* footage (from 1992) on the "Footage" DVD, which shows me that Andy recognizes the value of this recording. Also, the liner notes in "Gods of Light" seem to hint at this opinion.
My impression has always been that Andy is rather hostile towards bootlegs. On the old Rajaz forum, the subject was actually banned from discussion because, the moderators said, they feared it would damage their relationship with CP. This is a pity. In my view, bootlegs can be good advertisments for the band as well as a valuable way of retaining interest in periods when there are no official releases. When a band sounds as good live as Camel does, they also help to reinforce reputation. For an important sector of fans (the die-hards) supressing bootlegs is almost equivelent to supressing enthusiasm. Look how well the official Genesis forum flourished when Bill McCormick put up a bootleg section with the message that it was OK to trade and collect. Look at how their die-hard online fanbase has all but disappeared since they shut it down. Come on Camel, connect with your fanbase and acclaim your own unoffficial live legacy! ;)
I do have sympathy and respect for CP wanting to maintain a high quality audio standard for their releases. Even so: a) A more liberal attitude towards unofficial recordings is better for their relationship with the fanbase b) Bands like Marillion, King Crimson, Queen etc have all successfully managed "archive club" releases which are bought and sold on the understanding that theyt are generally lower quality sources.
Realistically I don't think there is anything we can do about it Michael, just keep on producing and appreciating for our own enjoyment. In terms of the mainstream music market, 99.5% of bootlegs are not of standard professional quality. Those of us that really appreciate them are looking for other things rather than production values - authenticity, performance skills, reliving the concert experience etc. Something Clinton Haylin calls "the bootleg aesthetic" in his superb book "Great White Wonder". Either you buy into this "bootleg aesthetic" or you do not. It is commonplace for artists to distance themselves from the bootleg aesthetic because it is associated with a lowering of standards in their minds and often too in the minds of the general public. From our perspective, the world misses out on some great performances and musical arrangements, as well as that elusive 0.5% which does achieve professional production standards.
I'm not sure if Andy really is hostile towards bootlegs. I'm not saying he's not, I just don't know. Was this ever asked on the old Rajaz forum? Maybe David Minasian (who sometimes attended that forum, if I'm not mistaken) ever answered that question?
Well the mods stated that CP had requested that they do not discuss bootlegs, and there was a general impression on the forum that Andy and Susan did not like bootlegs. But that's all I really know, maybe I'll go back through some interviews and look for clues as a nice weekend project sometime soon :)
BOOTLEGS Thanks to all who have informed us of the many bootlegs that are presently circulating. Obviously, we're not too happy about this and to combat it, we are offering our own "official" CAMEL bootleg - Camel On The Road, 1972, a small collection of the band's repertoire from nearly 20 years ago featuring the original line-up. Our way of beating the bootleggers is to undercut them and offer it cheap!
True, just a part of the picture I posted cos it is relevant to the theme. Notice though that it uses the ambiguous term "circulating" rather than explicitly stating it is the act of selling which is being disapproved.
That may be because they weren't aware (at the time?) that there's also something like bootleg trading. I know that many people don't know about this concept and are under the assumption that only commercial bootlegs (silver pressed or vinyl) are the only existing bootlegs. While in reality, nowadays those bootlegs are very often sourced from internet downloads. (maybe even mp3! argh)
Maybe, though I would imagine Andy et al would be pretty familiar with the concept of tape trading which has been in progress all through their career. More likely I think that they just feel that uncontrolled material threatens both repuation and bottom line profits. A common and understandable attitude whatever the evidence we material-starved fans might believe to the contrary.