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A note from Kurt, the founder of BTAT.
Joe, a soundman from the Blacksburg, VA area, has recently run into a rash of problems with newbie tapers who don't know what equipment they are expected to bring to be able to patch into the SBD and how to treat the soundman for best results. He has asked me to share the following with all of you in the hopes that it may reach at the eyes and consciousness of at least one newbie taper. I think it is representative of the problems and the concerns of most other soundmen across the country. Please bear in mind that no matter how taper-friendly a band is, if you act like a jerk and get on the bad side of the soundman, you are much less likely to get any cooperation from him and may even be told that they'll be no taping that night. Anyway, here it is, in Joe's own words: "I work for a sound company that provides club sound for two local clubs and a variety of road shows in the area. It seems every other show or so, someone asks me if its OK to tape the band. Some thoughts: I *will* ask the band if its OK, so don't try to lie and say it's cool with the band. That's not happened to me, but it has happened to co-workers. I can always use an extra tape. Always come prepared. A mono 1/4 inch to stereo adaptor is a must. Bring 1/4 inch adaptors, XLR adaptors, a 10+ foot cable (with a twistie/something to tie the slack up with), a power extension cord, and 3 prong to two prong adaptor. I'm not being paid to provide you with equipment. Please don't pester me. Catch me before the show, ask me quickly, and then wait for me to get some time to talk with you and get you set up. Just find a spot near the board and hang out for a while. The show may start before I can help you, but I've got my priorities to take care of. And please don't ask me to flip your tape if you've just using a cassette deck - I've got more important things to do." Editor's note: I can't say it often enough--get to the venue early, 2 hours before showtime if possible, and get set up way in advance of the show. In this way, you'll make life a lot easier for everyone concerned. One more thing: even if a band allows board access, tapers should not attempt to plug into the board without the assistance of the sound engineer. There are shows where naive tapers help themselves to the board thinking it will be OK and that always greatly upsets the engineer and normally ruins the chance for a board patch for everyone at that show. It takes the engineers a lot of time and effort to set things up (and the house sound, not tapes, is always their primary responsibility) and they don't need or want tapers plugging things in or out without their knowledge.
Many newer/smaller bands will allow taping if you arrive early and chat w/the band. You may find yourself promising the band a copy and getting their address/phone # in return. Audio, video and soundboard access are always possible, but in some cases the venue may have restrictions or fees, even after you get permission from the band. At some Los Angleles clubs, for instance, there is a $50 video fee and a $500 DAT SBD patch one (fees in your city may vary).
Just because a particular band is listed here, doesn't guarantee that you'll be allowed to tape them. All it takes is one bootleg CD from a recent taping-allowed show or one beer spilled into the soundboard of a recent BA-allowed show and the band will often quickly regret their decision to allow taping and disallow it from that moment on. It's also not entirely uncommon for you to show up at the venue of a concert of a band that allows taping, only to find that the security individual you encounter wasn't informed by his boss that it's OK to let folks in with their tape decks and mikes, thus denying you the access you deserve. In such a case, there are several things you can do: 1) insist on talking to the head of security, 2) try another entrance in the hopes of finding a better informed security employee, 3) stealth it, 4) leave your taping equipment in your car. Of course, the best thing to do is to contact the band a week or so before the concert and make sure they have contacted the venue and asked them to allow folks to bring their recording equipment in to the show. If you call the venue, ask for the head of security and confirm that the band has informed him that taping will be allowed and that the security employees have been or will be informed of this, you'll save yourself a lot of trouble later. This little act of initiative on your part can make all the difference in the world. Another related problem that you may encounter is a concert that is advertised as allowing taping, but prohibiting "professional equipment." In this case you are at the mercy of how and where the security personnel draw the line between "consumer" and "professional" equipment. Many times anything with XLR connections is deemed too "professional" to allow in. Those who have encountered this problem have told me that they can usually get past this hurdle by simply going in through a different gate where the security individual isn't quite as knit-picky. In addition, whatever the taping restriction might be, it seems to be slightly easier to get your equipment in if you are either in the first wave of fans getting in the door or the last. Finally, when a band has an official taping section and doesn't require taping tickets for you to be able to tape there (e.g., Phish), they often let folks bring their taping gear in until the taping section fills up, and at that point they inform the security not to let anyone else in with their mics and/or deck. Be ye forewarned: if you fail to arrive early, you will most likely be told that the taping section is now full and you'll have to take your taping gear back to your car.
I want to make it perfectly clear that in no way does this author or the people who have contributed to this list encourage or condone the bootlegging of the recordings of the artists mentioned above. When a band gives us their permission to tape their concerts, there is an implicit understanding that we will do so only for our own listening (and trading) pleasure and not try to profit from this by selling a copy of the recording afterwards. 95% of all tapers are honest audio hobbyists who are only looking to record a unique audio event for their own listening enjoyment (i.e., to relive the live concert experience) and have about as much in common with bootleggers as good doctors have with quacks. The great majority of us tapers agree that the selling of the music that a band allows us to tape for free is an extreme act of back-stabbing and is considered taboo. Let it be known that the purpose of this list is not to encourage or facilitate bootlegging in any way, shape or form; it is to inform and instruct audio hobbyists as to which bands have given us their permission to tape their live performances and what, if any conditions or restrictions such bands choose to place on our ability to tape them. It is also designed to help instruct newbie tapers as to some of the do's and don'ts of live taping, as well as to help band managers and record company executives consider some of the potential advantages and benefits of allowing their fans to tape them.
While selling the live recordings of a band without their permissionis heavily frowned upon by 95% of all tapers, trading the same live tapes is a different story and is encouraged by most tapers and bands (allowing taping) alike. There are several reasons why allowing taping and encouraging tape-trading can be advantageous to a band, the most important of which are outlined below. First, it tends to increase a band's fanbase, mostly because the majority of fans feel more allegiance or dedication to a band that freely gives something back to them without asking for anything in return (other than following certain guidlines or rules). Second, tape trading is one of the most effective modes of word-of-mouth advertising that exist and tends to increase the enthusiasm factor among fans and creates a sense of community among those who tape and trade tapes. Many tape traders have become interested in seeing a certain band in concert after enjoying a live recording of theirs from a tape trade. In turn, this renewed interest often causes tape traders to purchase the official CDs of a newly discovered band. Third, when a band allows taping, it will usually increase its take at the gate, in part because of the widening of its fanbase and in part because it will attract the interest of more tapers in the area, many of whom will choose to attend the concert of a newly discovered band if they know they'll be allowed to tape them.
I'll be the first to admit that my statement that 95% of all tapers won't bootleg is more my opinion and my guess than any kind of a scientific conclusion based on hard research and surveys. The truth is, there are some dishonest people in any human endeavor or field of human interest and it's not that easy to come up with an exact number or percentage of how many rip-off artists there are out there. It's true that when you allow taping, you also open yourself to an increased possibility that you will be bootlegged. But consider this: if you allow taping and encourage your fans to trade your live recordings among themselves, the most ardent ones (who would be a prime target for bootleggers to sell their wares to) will already have a copy of all the most sought-after shows. Therefore, the bootleggers will have fewer potential buyers to peddle their illegal wares to. Another point is that bootleggers tend to ignore laws and are not the kind of people who will wait until you allow taping before deciding to bootleg you. We don't close our banks because there are bank robbers out there and we certainly don't close our churches because there are some priests who are pedophiles; we do what we feel is right and take immediate action to weed out the small amount of bad that comes with the overwhelming amount of good.
Bootleggers are going to operate whether a band allows taping or not and, in my opinion, the way to combat them is not through disallowing taping but through legal channels. It certainly wouldn't hurt to impose tougher penalites against record store owners and managers who choose to buy this illegal merchandise.
If you know of any other groups allowing taping that we haven't listed here, please let us know so we can share it with all the others out there who might benefit from it. As I mentioned above, we are currently trying to complete the info on where each band resides, i.e., where they play the most concerts, thus where one is most likely to be able to catch them and tape them. Please help if you can. You are encouraged to share this list with any and all forums/newsgroups/lists that stand to benefit from it.
Finally, it goes without saying that the selling of this list and/or any of the information contained herein, is strictly forbidden.
In music there is peace, and in taping there is documentation of unique sound events.