Back In The Groove Beware The Bootleg...

Beware The Bootleg...

When buying LPs, one of the things the vinyl aficionado needs to be wary of is the bootleg version. A cursory scan of albums listed in online music database Discogs (it now contains over 11.6 million releases) will reveal LPs it categorises as 'unofficial'. Back in the '70s, bootleg records were usually privately pressed live albums, a prime example being Live, The Best Of Tour '72, which featured Pink Floyd's then work-in-progress The Dark Side Of The Moon, surreptitiously recorded at the Rainbow Theatre, London that year. It is said to have sold 120,000 copies before Dark Side... was released officially.


While there might not be the same quantity of vinyl sales in recent years, the market has still supported facsimiles of the official releases. And although people will pay more for premium product, they are also on the look out for a bargain.


'Sadly you can obtain reissues dirt cheap from countries where copyrights expire,' says Jay Millar of Sundazed 'because they cut every corner, including paying royalties. What's worse, these LPs are often cut from CD copies of the album and sound on a par with a YouTube video. Ugh! Don't fall for those records, you'll only regret it.'


Mark Powell of Esoteric Records has this to say. 'The reason we took so long to do vinyl reissues of certain albums was because the market was flooded with vinyl bootlegs from companies that didn't have licences and were dubbing the albums from vinyl.

'Wholesalers and retailers were saying, "we can get some of this stuff cheaper". But in the last few years a lot those companies have dropped out of the market because people have realised that the audio quality isn't very good.'