David Gans has a response to the shutdown of Archive.org’s live Grateful Dead archives. Not only does he offer up the unsuprising moans of fan “entitlement” and accusations of greed on the part of Joe Deadhead, he actually claims to “not have a dog in the fight”. I guess when you’ve had unfettered access to the Dead’s live vaults for the last 20 years, that’s an easy crutch to lean on.
But it doesn’t fly for an instant. Let’s take a look at his statements that leave little doubt that he supports this move. He writes:
“A couple of weeks ago there was another round of layoffs at GDP”
Well, boo-freaking-hoo! You mean they actually had to lay people off at an business that supports a band that hasn’t really existed for about 10 years? What a joke. The suprising thing is that those people who got laid off didn’t bother looking for other jobs once the money (i.e. Garcia) kicked the bucket. Talk about a sense of entitlement. Welcome to the real world, Ram Rod.
“They are doing this in order to protect their download business,” is another cry I’ve heard. Well, yeah, and in what universe is that an unreasonable position?
The universe in which a band that built up a huge amount of goodwill with it’s fans by not only allowing, but encouraging taping and trading. The universe in which the tape trader culture and the “every show is different” mythology was the driving force behind making the Grateful Dead one of the top-grossing live acts in history year after year.
So now that I’ve played by the rules, never charging to make a copy and never paying for a live tape, supported the band by buying their shitty studio albums, and always, ALWAYS showing up to the show with a ticket in hand (90% of them bought throught GDTS), they want to pull the rug out of from under me? I’m sorry that technology progressed to the point where it wasn’t a complete pain in the ass to get access to good quality recordings, but I’m not the one who changed the rules late in the game.
“I don’t really have a dog in this fight. I have a job on the periphery of the Grateful Dead organization, but I am not privy to their decision-making process and I don’t depend on them for my income. I help to promote their official releases by playing them on the radio, obviously, but I also play a lot of unreleased music (and I’ve gotten some of that unreleased music from archive.org).”
It’s real easy to say you don’t have a dog in the fight when your personal collection is already complete. I wonder how he’d feel if the Grateful Dead Hour was dependent upon downloading shows from archive.org. Perhaps a bit differently.
Finally, Gans writes:
“There’s a petition online directed at GDM and promising a boycott. “Now it appears doing the right thing for the fans, has given way to greed.”
I think it is worthwhile to ask ourselves if there isn’t some greed on the other side of the equation.”
Greed eh? Where would that be manifested eh David? Would it be in all the Dick’s Picks recordings I own? How about all the tickets I bought to shows where Jerry was smacked out of his head and couldn’t play worth a shit? For a band that considers itself to be so forward-thinking and liberal, they sure do act just like the man when it comes to the brave new world of digital music.