How many live albums does Pearl Jam have now? We’ve officially lost count.

Pearl Jam’s egalitarian attitudes have always extended to allowing fans to record their gigs. They’ve also been very generous with releasing “official bootlegs,” something that began in 2000. At last count, those discs have sold more than 13.5 million copies. This in addition to a series of official live albums. Outside of the Grateful Dead, no band has encouraged such incredible documentation of their live work.

Turns out that Pearl Jam was just getting started. This week, they released a digital collection of material from 186 gigs that includes 5,404 songs.

Digging into Deep (that’s what the drop is called), most of the material comes from 2000, 2003, 2008, and 2013, which resulted in the most-wanted bootlegs. And because things are all digital, fans can search through the database to find exactly the performances they want. You can even add your thoughts in the show descriptions.

And this is cool: If you enter your birthday, the site will send you a custom streamable playlist along with a graphic in Eddie’s own handwriting. Way better than the old CDs, huh?

Brilliant, really. If only every band was this fastidious in documenting its existence.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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