that's not exactly found sound

In the last year or so, cell phone bootleg video source material is showing up everywhere… and in LARGE publications.  Every day on, TMZ, and Rolling, they post fan videos of concerts.  How can they do that without clearing it?  Meaning, how can the air that stuff without the band’s permissions?  One would assume you would also have to pay the artists.  Rolling sells commercials and ads on their website.  The website that you go to for music news.

Maybe they have been cleared, and the artists paid, right?  It’s possible, but not likely.  For one, if the artist cleared and approved it, they would hand over better footage.  It would have better audio.  Allow me to be specific.  When G&R finally re-united, they started with that awesome secret club show on April Fools day in Hollywood.  For super obvious reasons, no cell phones were allowed.

Of course, people smuggled in phones and snuck some pics and videos.  Of course they did, I would have, too.  Since Guns didn’t have their own camera crew (or maybe they did)… they clearly want to control the information about what gets out.  The very reasons that Guns didn’t want cell phones in is because they didn’t want their reunion to be captured and shared on a grainy and shaky fan shot from 200 feet away.

Note, this is not a complaint.  I am a BIG music fan, and in the cassette age most of my music collection comprised of bootlegs.  Us bootleg fans are kind of music vigilantes.  We want live music from our favorite bands, and the record companies won’t give it to us.  They don’t like live music releases. Record companies feel that live releases dilute the demand for the studio created records, where all their profit it is.
Point being, I LOVE these leaks as a music fan.  I am under no delusion, though, that I have a right to this music, or that anyone owes it to me.  If I were these rock bands, I would be SO pissed.
Let me make a poor analogy.  Rolling Stone comes to me and asks me to write for them (fuck, I I WISH).  For this narrative, though, I say no.  I say it is my art and I want control and I am not publishing for ‘Big Paper’ and the ‘big paper lobby’.   I say no.  Then, I find snippets of my pieces in Rolling Stone.  Are they going to say it’s ‘found sound’?  ‘Found Sound’ is a legal discussion about saying no one owns the environment.  I could go outside and record birds chirping or cars driving by and make it a record.  No one owns that stuff.  In Italy, you can actually record live concerts.  When that music is being put out into the world, it is now public domain.

How about if I start tearing out pages of Rolling Stone and publish them under their own name.
Even when I was stealing music, I would never profit off of it.  Oh, I know this is still stealing, but it wasn't business.  if the record companies sold access to live catalogues, we would pay.  But, they don't, so we would steal.  Er... trade.  To me, that is the line we are crossing.

note, that is’t grainy below because of buffering.  It’s because its’ from a cell phone from a drunken pirate… and hero of the proletariat.

* funny side note about Axl's feeling on piracy like this.  He caused one of the biggest concert riots in history because someone was taking a picture of him.  Seriously.  That story is over here.

Here is some pirated footage that is up on
Let’s say Peter Travers was reviewing movies on their site.  Well, we don’t have to imagine, it is what he does.  Would he put up pirated cell phone clips of the movie?  No.  He would use the official trailers they gave us.
RS isn’t the only one who does it.  Everyone does; TMZ,, probably even CNN.  I use Rolling Stone as the example here because they are the standard bearer on contemporary music news.  Soon enough, someone is going to sue them for leaking this stuff.  Who has the balls to stand up to the biggest rock magazine in the world?  Who in the world would literally bit that hand that fed them?

Now that Prince is gone, there is literally only one guy left who refuses to pander to ANYONE.  Neil Young!
Go get ‘em, Shakey!

outtro thoughts
·       Perhaps you are thinking ‘how is this any different from what TMZ does?’  I am glad you asked, and I am of two minds of that.
Pro-TMZ  perspective – they aren’t stealing performances, or creative works of others for profit.
Anti-TMZ perspective – they ambush celebs and record them without permission.  Then, they play that back and sell commercials to it.  It feels a little unprincipled.  The reality is most of their stuff is staged by publicists… so no one is being victimized.


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