Live Bootlegs

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I’ve been adding a bunch of live bootlegs lately and I’m wondering if there’s any consensus around a couple issues related to that.

For reference, the current style guide is here.

  1. adding “event” to the naming scheme.

Some sets take place not just at a known venue, but as part of a festival or other named event. Woodstock, Newport Folk Festival, etc. I’ve been including that in the title, and I’ve seen other editors do the same, even though it’s not in the standard. I think it’d be reasonable to add [Event] or [Festival] as an optional field after the date but before the venue.

1b) For yearly festivals, we’ll include the year in the title of the event entity generally. Because the year is included immediately prior in the date, I don’t think it’s necessary to include the year again in the event part.

Does anyone object to including the event in the name scheme for unnamed live bootlegs?

Here’s an example: 2006-08-10: Athens Popfest, 40 Watt, Athens, GA, USA

  1. Release status

Sometimes the border between “official” and “bootleg” gets fuzzy. Here’s a spectrum, from most unofficial shading into more official:

a) Fans tape from the audience without permission and circulate the recordings among themselves
b) A fan asks for, and receives, explicit permission to tape a specific show, circulates recordings
c) Internet archive maintains a live music archive which accepts recordings from bands who have given blanket permission for shows to be available on that website, but permission is not given for individual shows/recordings
d) A known taper receives permission to tape a specific show and post it publicly on their site (e.g. everything on
e) An major organization tapes a show and makes available the recording with permission and cooperation of the artist (e.g. NPR’s live in concert series, which is mostly videos now but in the past they posted the MP3s for download alongside)

All of these are bootlegs with the possible exception of case e. I’ve been waffling back and forth on that one. Functionally, they’re not much different than the rest, but the high profile of an organization like NPR and the level of artist permission/cooperation involved makes me wonder if “official” is more appropriate.

And if it is “official”, what should I make of the cases where NPR originally posted the MP3 for download, but has since removed the link, sometimes saying that it was removed at the request of the label. Does that change it back to bootleg?

Is there a need for some kind of semi-official release status? This could cover a lot of the situations discussed in this thread as well: Clarifying “Release” in a streaming world

  1. Release type.

For a live concert recording, circulated among fans or posted on a site like IA’s live music archive, is the primary type “Album” or “Other”. I keep going back and forth on that.

in favor of Album: If the artist took the same content, put it on a CD and sold it, that’s obviously (?) a live album. If someone took the same content, gave it a name, put it on CDs and sold it illegally, that would be a bootleg live album - we have a lot of releases that fit that description.

in favor of Other: on the other hand, most live albums are actually edited versions of the actual concert recording. And given the way that we define Album/single/EP largely in terms of their intent and relationship to the overall market for music, a full concert recording that circulates among fans is pretty distinct from most of the releases considered to be an “Album”

I really can’t decide on this one, and would love to hear other people’s thoughts.

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Firstly, I think if the band has given permission, it’s not a ‘bootleg’, in musicbrainz terminology, even if it’s just some guy taping a show on whatever scale.

[quote=“arturus, post:1, topic:183016”]
And if it is “official”, what should I make of the cases where NPR originally posted the MP3 for download, but has since removed the link, sometimes saying that it was removed at the request of the label. Does that change it back to bootleg?
[/quote]We document the original release in MB. Which was official.
If later on someone starts circulating those same tracks (with some changes that would make you want to make a new release and not just use the original entry), it would then be a bootleg, but it should have a later release date to reflect that, we’re not changing the original.
My thinking is along similar lines of downloading a rip of a popular CD release online - MusicBrainz still only documents the CD release, we don’t make a new bootleg ‘digital media’ release to reflect all the copies of the original CD release.

[quote=“arturus, post:1, topic:183016”]
Is there a need for some kind of semi-official release status?
[/quote]I don’t think so? Either something’s being released illegally/without permission, or it isn’t. I’m not sure if we have to blur that line. There’ll always be some fringe cases but I think it’s pretty clear at the moment.
You can always leave the field blank if you really don’t know which way to go.

Personally if something’s album length, I just mark it as album, as opposed to just a couple of tracks floating around which seems more like ‘other’. But the other thing is that I wouldn’t be afraid to leave these fields blank as well, if you’re not sure. Just ‘live’ works pretty well. But I do think that ‘album’ + ‘live’ is usually a pretty safe bet for recordings that contain a whole set/concert.

I’m not a bootleg ‘expert’ so will be interesting to see if others agree with my points!

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Looks fine to me. Although it’s not in the official styleguide, I don’t see how adding more and relevant information is a bad thing.

BTW I have just noticed that there were no more guidelines to include the concert/event/tour name, when it exists… (._.?)

Strange, no? @reosarevok

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I don’t know for sure, but I think that guideline was expunged when we eliminated the requirement to use the title format for bootlegs with known titles.

I don’t necessarily see it as a requirement but it should still be allowed and shown in examples.
It was cool and easy to know that this set of recordings in from that concert or tour…

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I don’t think event that was ever in the official guidelines for bootleg naming, so nothing’s changed there. I think we’ve got reasonable consensus for it, so it probably would be fine to update guidelines to include that.

I’m not sure if the name of the tour is appropriate in general to include. I’ve been focusing on getting the bootlegs for The Mountain Goats cleaned up, and while a lot of their tours do have names they’re not really important and very rarely have anything to do with anything. I’ll believe it’s different depending on the artist.

Do you have some examples of where the concert itself has a name?

For a point of comparison, I looked at a bootleg sharing site. Of the most recent 25, all include a date and location, one includes a festival name, one has a name for the bootleg itself, and none include the name of the tour.

I think most of the time, the names are being given afterwards, but for almost all Japanese concert videos I know they each have a name.
Some recurrent concerts are maybe even given a name before the show, like the X JAPAN christmas concerts or the HAMASAKI Ayumi new year countdown concerts…

On the other hand, I think you’re right for the tour names, maybe they don’t belong to the recording comments, indeed.