A couple of weeks ago, when I last blogged about this topic, I talked about how I planned to catalog my Duran merchandise. I decided that this would not only help me just keep organized but would also be good if I ever wanted to add to my collection. After all, I wouldn’t want to miss something awesome that I don’t have while getting something that I already have. I’m sure that some of you are thinking: How could that happen? Does she have *that* much stuff? It isn’t really that. You see I had a collection as a kid that did not survive past a significant family move minus a few precious items, including some I gave to a friend for safe keeping. So, sometimes, when I look at various memorabilia, I am not sure if I have it now, I had it then or if I just remember seeing it. This is why cataloging seemed like a good idea. The next question, however, is where to start?
I opted to begin this process by picking a spot in my office/Duran room next to my closet, figuring that I would just circle the room until I finished. This area next to my closet holds CDs, specifically bootlegs. Many of these bootlegs are recordings of concerts but some of them contain demos and remixes of album tracks. The live recordings are in chronological order and the demos/remixes are next to the albums associated with them. When I first got back into the Duran fandom, I tried to collect as many bootlegs as possible. If I couldn’t be at shows in the past, I could, at least, listen to them, right? That being said, there is a special place in my heart for those live shows that I attended, personally. I would listen especially for moments that I knew were extra special, whether it was a great performance of a song or a cool introduction. As far as demos/remixes go, I wanted to hear anything and everything. I wanted the complete picture of the Duran musical history. To say that I was obsessed would be an understatement.
Now, I know that bootlegs are somewhat controversial. After all, the band did not release them. They didn’t necessarily want those demos out there. Recording live without their permission feels a little like stealing work. Of course, at this point, it would be very difficult for any artist to limit videos and recordings because of the cameras on cell phones, etc. YouTube is filled with lots of examples of recordings of every artist you can imagine. When I focused on collecting bootlegs, they were done through trades. I didn’t want to make any money off of the band and no one that I traded with did either. It was about listening to more of the band and feeding the energy of live shows. (I know of other fans who did try to sell them. I was not down with that.)
These days I’m not as excited about bootlegs as I once was. I would still love getting copies of shows that I was at but I don’t feel it necessary to chase these the way I once did in order to get as many shows as I could. It isn’t because my opinions of bootlegs changed. I still think the band could and should sell recordings of their shows and make some good money there or could include them in VIP packages. I do not believe that the existence of bootlegs hurt their bottom dollar in any way as my concert going did not stop or lessen because of listening to bootlegs. In fact, I might say the exact opposite. They only got me more excited to go to shows.
What are your thoughts about bootlegs? Do you love them? Hate them? Do you collect them or not?