Differentiating types of bootlegs?


I was reading an article on bootlegs, and came across this passage:

[quote]The terminology in this twilight zone of collectable music often gets mixed up, not only through lack of knowledge, but also for political or reasons of deliberate obscurity. For this article, we’ll stick to the definitions as outlined in what was, at it’s time, the “bible” of bootleg collecting, the “Hot Wacks Book”:

A “bootleg” consists of unreleased material recorded at concerts, studio outtakes and radio or TV broadcasts.

A “pirate” album consists of released material without attempting to make the LP look like an original.

A “counterfeit” album is an exact copy of an officially released album.[/quote]

Musicbrainz currently lumps these three categories into a single status “bootleg”, but there are clearly qualitative differences between the three.

Is this something that Musicbrainz should track? What are folks’ opinions on this categorization?


The line between those types can often be extremely blurry. I’ve seen bootleg releases containing both live recordings and unreleased demos/outtakes/etc. I’ve seen pirated releases with the issuer’s logo replacing those of the originals (in fact, this is/was common practice). Considering these cases, it seems best to have a general catch-all status for all unauthorized releases (similar to Discogs’ “unofficial release” designation).


I’ve always drawn the distinction of if the artist (publisher/other authorized party) releases it, then it is official.

I don’t think we should break it down further because we get in the murky area of “good” (e.g. fan made live concert recordings that the artist doesn’t care about or actively encourages) and “bad” (knock-offs with the logos changed) bootlegs.

Going by the terminology you quote, if you want to change the bootleg label into something like an “unofficial” or “unsanctioned” release, then that is another matter.