Who doesn-t like live music? To me it is one of the purest forms of art. It used to be the only way you take it in was, well to go to a concert. That is unless you happened to find a mono cassette copy or got really lucky and scored a soundboard recording. Most bands know for their live creativity have an open taping policy. This is great for people who only get out a couple times a year to take in a show. With a good stereo or set of headphones, you can enjoy a concert while you relax at home.
Recording technology has come a long way. Just a couple of years ago, the only way to get your hands on live recordings was to network/trade with tapers/collectors or request blanks and postage (B&P) exchanges. Most taping policies do not allow recordings to be bought or sold. B&Ps are a great way to get started, friendly collectors (or people who accidentally burned two copies) would offer up shows. All you had to do was send blank media with a return mailer. This was how I got started with my collection.
I haven-t traded for almost 4 years now. You can see my collection at http://db.etree.org/mrmatt57. I still have most of these shows. If you want one, drop me a line, I-d be happy to do a trade or B&P.Collectors started of with analog recordings, then DATs/CDs, now it-s all lossless digital. Two popular formats are Shorten (shn) and Free Lossless Audio Codec (flac). Over the years flac has grown to be the defacto-standard. Unless you are streaming audio over the internet, live recordings should never be archived or stored in compressed codecs, like MP3.
Many websites are poping up hosting BitTorrents and archives of shows. The largest collection by far is archive.org. This is the same website that brought us the way back machine. Take a look, your favorite band just might be listed.Much of this is only possible because a dedicated few that make the journeys to the shows and lug around their equipment. Much thanks goes out to all the tapers!
Although music is the main reason most of us go to shows, the energy and visual experience of being there in person can not be understated. Nothing truly replaces physically being there. But there is something to be said about listening to a concert at 9am in the morning. I enjoy listening to shows with headphones. My favorite phones are Sennheiser HD580?s. It takes ample volume to bring you that true concert sound. If you find your headphones aren-t loud enough, pickup or build a cMoy pocket amp, you won-t regret it (disclaimer: not responsible for any hearing loss/damage). So, next time you are jonesing for a concert, check out the new digital world of live music.