Grateful Dead Revives Free Downloads of Its Concerts
What a short, strange trip it was.
After the Grateful Dead halted free downloads of its ubiquitously circulating concerts from a nonprofit website last week, surviving members of the psychedelic jam band changed their minds late Wednesday amid protest from some of their biggest fans.
Internet Archive, a site that catalogs content on websites, reposted recordings of Grateful Dead concerts for download after band members decided to make them available again.
Band spokesman Dennis McNally said Wednesday that members gave their approval after a backlash from fans, who for decades have freely taped and traded the band’s live performances. “The Grateful Dead remains as it always has, in favor of tape trading,” McNally said.
An online petition protesting the decision to stop the downloads had collected more than 5,200 signatures as of late Wednesday.
“The Internet archive has been a resource that is important to all of us,” states the petition, which also threatened a boycott of Grateful Dead recordings and merchandise.
“Between the music and interviews in the archive, we are able to experience the Grateful Dead fully,” the petition says.
McNally said the band appreciated the strong fan response “but also hope that people will calm down a little bit” after Wednesday’s decision.
Band members consented to making audience recordings available for download again, although live recordings made directly from concert soundboards, which are the legal property of the Grateful Dead and had been removed from the website, should be made available only for listening, McNally said.
The soundboard recordings are “very much part of their legacy, and their rights need to be protected,” he said.