The Dead = original Long Tail band?

There is an interesting post on the Long Tail blog that discusses the current trend of bands giving away their recorded works for free on MySpace pages, etc while banking on gigs to earn money.

Anderson's argument is that recording and distribution costs have fallen to virtually nothing so bands feel justified charging nothing for their recorded works while charging for the experience of seeing them live.

The somewhat amusing thing is that he suggests that this is something new in the industry while any Deadhead worth their salt would recognize the business model to share important features with the Dead's very own -- if one could go so far as to call the Dead's incessant touring and taping policy as a 'business model.' One astute commenter named Elvis pointed out the similarities.

But there are differences, in the Dead's heyday recording and distribution costs were not next-to-nothing. Nor was there an internet where the Dead could facilitate the trading of concert recordings. It all arose seemingly spontaneously from the Dead's, or at least Jerry's, insistence that once the music left their fingertips/mouths it no longer belonged to them. It's hard to call that a business model but it worked. Surprisingly well.

There's nothing like the Grateful Dead. And, it seems there won't be anytime soon. MySpace or no MySpace...

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