Back in the ’60s, the three buzz words among record collectors were – Great White Wonder. This bootleg album of unreleased Bob Dylan material was, and still is, the stuff of record collecting legends.
But as Business Insider (BI) notes in its report on the state of vinyl records industry, with the CD boom in the late ’80s and ’90s, industry analysts and most consumers thought that the vinyl records, and bootleg albums along with them, were a thing of the past.
But RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) reported that as of this year, vinyl is officially back, and as BI points out, some of the vinyl records are “selling for thousands of dollars.” So it was no surprise that bootleg albums are back in full swing too.
Ian Shirley, editor of the Rare Record Price Guide told BI that “there are more bootlegs around today than any other time in the last 20 years.” But also adds that it is not a mass-market, “it’s not like with every record there’s going to be a bootleg.”
Discogs (a crowdsourced database of music info and a vinyl marketplace) spokesperson Aub Driver noted that “completing a collection usually means finding a bootlegged recording of a live concert, even if that recording isn’t sanctioned by the artist.”
On the other hand, some artists, and Tim Friedman, the owner of Culture Clash Records in Toledo, mention, Chance The Rapper, “are picking up on the interest in records and pressing their albums onto vinyl to sell direct-to-consumer, although the demand has started to shift from unofficial concert recordings to studio work that can be played on a turntable.” But he also added that if he’s listened to a bootleg, confirmed that it’s high quality, and the customer is aware it isn’t an official release, he’ll consider selling it, as he would at the same time “spread the artists’ music.”