Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Black Wednesday

Today is a sad day for Deadheads everywhere. For some unknown reason, Grateful Dead SBD recordings are no longer available on The Archive. I've been reading the Forum on The Archive, and there is alot of anger and disbelief there right now, as you can imagine. Not knowing the motive for this action myself, I'm withholding my judgement and reaction until I learn more.

If in fact The Dead are pulling these SBD recordings for their own commercial gain (i.e. to boost DP and Download Series sales), then shame on them. That would be very much against the spirit of they have always been about. Considering the popularity of The Archive, I think The Dead need to explain themselves. If there is a legitimate reason for this action, then let's hear it. As of this moment, there is no explanation on The Dead's website I will be writing them myselves to see if I can get an answer. I encourage you to do the same.

If you haven't done so yet, sign the petition! Let your self be heard!

"I wanna find out what's wrong with me and my baby" - Caution (Do Not Stop On Tracks)

Edited - 9:16PM 11/23/05


At 9:02 AM, Blogger Ben said...

My e-mail to those affiliated with The Grateful Dead:

I was extremely disappointed to discover today the removal of Grateful Dead recordings from The Live Music Archive. I was a faithful Deadhead in the late 80's and early 90's, and just last year rediscovered my love for the band once again. One of the things that has fed my renewed interest in The Dead has been The Archive. The Grateful Dead collection on The Archive represented the most extensive historical collection of live music in the world, and was a wonderful resource to keep the music and spirit of The Dead alive and available for everyone to hear.

I would like to understand better why this has happened. I know that right now, you are receiving alot of flak over this, but I'm going to hold off on any judgement about this until I learn more about the motives behind this. The spirit of The Grateful Dead was always that the music should be available to anyone and everyone, free of commercial limitations or gain.

Please explain what is happening here, I fear that the loss of this wonderful resource will sour the spirit and soul of The Grateful Dead forever more.



PS - If you have not seen the Forum on The Archive, you need to read it to see for yourself the negativity that this action has created.

At 12:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, do you have a number for who we can call?

I so pissed at myself for not downloading more shows but I have quite a few. This is just so wrong to do, seemed we had a happy medium of free SBDs and releases coming out.

Also what number did you send to? Can you email me, might forget to check back here.

danielbnelson @

At 2:36 PM, Blogger B said...

i hope that they are simply going to host the shows on a different website.

we'll see if any more information comes our way i guess, right?


At 4:17 PM, Anonymous Stewart said...

First words on the Dead's site: "Bring the music back". Ironic indeed. Thanks Ben for the heads up; what a depressing turn of events. By acting so suddenly and without explanation the Dead look particularly bad here (hard to fault -- seems like it was out of their hands). I'm going to miss it a ton -- it hasn't even sunk in yet :-(

At 5:47 PM, Anonymous Helen said...

I really could cry and not for my own selfish reasons but because no matter what anyone says, I don't believe that Jerry would be happy about this. Once he played it, he was done with it. "They may as well have it. We're done with it", I believe are almost exactly his words. Thanks for the shout-out and please keep us posted.
As you said, a very sad day.

At 7:07 PM, Blogger Helen said...

Here's the petition. Pass it on my friend!
More Peace.........
(also sent to daniel's e-mail address posted in your comment section)

At 9:18 PM, Blogger Ben said...

Thanks Helen for the link to the petition. I think the petition is a tad harsh, but the overall gist is right on target.

I feel like someone kicked my dog today :(

At 1:00 PM, Blogger Mark said...

"So here is our resolution. You want to change the rules as you go along, so will we. We don’t care anymore; We’ve lost all respect for this organization. Between the utter disgust of your decisions with Jerry’s guitars, and now taking away our access to the music we care about most, we refuse to support any aspect of GDM until we see change. No more CD’s, no more tickets, no more merchandise. We ask all deadheads to join us in this protest."

While I was disgusted with the way the guitar deal played out, I'm afraid I can't sign something like this. As you said Ben, best to wait for more info.

As you also said: to see for yourself the negativity that this action has created.

This petition is a sterling example of that negativity.

And I'm not willing to eschew thirty-plus years of good memories even over what may well prove to be the avarice of a few current members of the Dead organization.

I think we can all rise above that, if for nothing else than the sake of Jerry's memory.

At 2:56 PM, Blogger Mark said...

Ben - FWIW - Your letter is rational and reasonable and well-written. Pity you didn't get to write the petition. Of course, there's nothing that says two petitions aren't allowed!

Consider it, and I will probably sign yours.

At 3:09 PM, Blogger xian said...

I just posted this comment over on Mark's website. I think it's relevant here as well:
The Dead were an unusual band and the fans feel a sense of ownership over the music, but I find some of these frothing-at-the-mouth respones to be nothing short of disgraceful and embarassing for all of us Heads.

When people write about "taking away our access to the music we care about most," this is simply not true. At worst the organization has prevented us from the easiest, laziest way of obtaining pristine digital copies of Dead shows.

We are still entirely capable of trading among ourselves, much as we always have done. Remember when getting new Dead music involved interacting with other human beings and not simply pointing your browser at a web server?

It's not the end of the world, people.

Mark, even your more mild suggestion ("If, in fact, the Dead's organization has pulled the files in order to use them for financial gain, I would like to urge that everyone write to the organization, in Jerry's name, asking that they reverse the decision") puzzles me.

Aren't Dick's Picks and the multitrack Vault releases used for financial gain? Is it truly immoral for the band to gain financially from their vast output of work? I don't remember Jerry ever suggesting the band shouldn't be compensated.

In a sense I understand the wave of responses. Deadheads love what they love and they want it that way. On the other hand, I feel like the audience I used to love being a part of has turned into a selfish ravening beast concerned only with feeding its merciless jones for unlimited free music.

At 3:23 PM, Blogger Mark said...

Xian - About this:

"Mark, even your more mild suggestion ("If, in fact, the Dead's organization has pulled the files in order to use them for financial gain, I would like to urge that everyone write to the organization, in Jerry's name, asking that they reverse the decision") puzzles me."

I was trying to propose a more rational means of petitioning the organization than the petition to which Ben linked. I am actually in agreement with you. Given a choice, I would rather purchase pristine, professionally produced Dick's Picks. But that's just me.

At 11:02 AM, Blogger Ben said...

xian - The more I think about this, the more I am torn. I respect The Dead's right to control their music. What I am frustrated about most is the complete lack of communication by The Archive and The Dead organization about this issue. If they would just come clean, be honest and upfront about the motives behind this decision, I'm sure that everyone would be handling this much better.

As I stated on Mark's blog, I signed the petition to make a point. I don't agree with everything that it says, but it carries the essential message that alot of Deadheads are unhappy with what's happening here.

At 12:32 PM, Anonymous jonathan said...

I'm not sure what this is going to mean for my blog, either. Used to be, you could just go and grab the show I'm reviewing. Not so much, now.

I guess I can wait and see what happens with the SBDs, but who knows if we'll ever find out?

At 1:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ben

i found this site while searching for info about the LMA deal.

The truth is LMA was as surprised as this as anyone, but it's not like it wasn't expected. we have always known that it was a gray area in having LMA host the GD collection and now that gray area has been clearly defined in B&W.
I expect an announcement soon from GDP laying out the "new policy" which will be based on the precident set by ABB, no electronic file sharing.
people should praise LMA for allowing the collection to be hosted as long as it was, not blaming them for taking away something they never really had permission to host in the first place.


At 3:23 PM, Blogger Ben said...

Obie - Thanks for sharing, especially with the possibility that there are certain things that we may not be able to electronically share anymore :(

I'm looking forward to what The Dead orginization has to say about this. If they have a problem with electronic file sharing, they need to explain why. No sharing of SBDs is one thing, but why should they have a problem with AUDs?


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