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Ongoing History Daily: The era of the bootleg, part 2

Last time, we talked about the concept of music piracy in the days before the MP3 came along.  It was the era of the bootleg record and CD.  People will somehow gain access to material that was never supposed to be released and released it anyway.  Quality varied, but there are some bootlegs that sound absolutely awesome and are treasured by collectors.  Ever wonder who started all this? 

The sale and trading of unauthorized recordings go back to 1900 when Lionel Mapleson, the librarian at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, started making surreptitious recordings from a secret perch 40 feet above the stage.  He would then share these recordings with, uh, like-minded music fans. 

File sharing and music piracy–or in the case of Lionel Mapleson, wax cylinder sharing–has been around longer than just about anyone realizes.

You can find Ongoing History Daily: The era of the bootleg, part 1 here.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ 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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One thought on “Ongoing History Daily: The era of the bootleg, part 2

  • Hello Alan,

    I am a long time fan of your radio, blog and pod cast but this is my first time writing.

    This morning I was looking at a recent list of Tool’s 2023 tour dates. I was wondering if you know why Tool is choosing not to tour in Canada or if you can find out and share it with the many Canadian Tool fans?

    Thanks for all your amazing and informative reporting, By the way my wife would also like you to mention the recent Placebo tour dates in hopes to promote them and broaden their fan base.

    All the best to you and Merry Christmas,

    Michael Filice


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