Page by: Author / Chronologer  Craig Pinkerton




What exactly is a bootleg?
A bootleg album, cassette, or CD is one that has been created completely from material that is not commercially available.  The material might be from an interview, radio broadcast, recording from a live concert, studio outtake tapes etc. etc.  The bootlegger will take this material and affix it to a record album to be pressed in very small quantities.  Sometimes as many as a thousand ... sometimes as few as a hundred or less. For more detail, be sure to look at the section "What is a bootleg?

Where can I buy a bootleg? 
Well, to start with you can't look up "Bootleggers" in the yellow pages. Remember, bootlegging is an illegal activity. And, while they are not illegal to own ... and a gray area as to whether they are illegal to sell ... they are definitely illegal to manufacture. All of the bootlegs on this site are private collection items, and are absolutely not for sale. Also, keep in mind that all of the vinyl albums on this site, and most of the CDs, are out of print. The manufacturers are long out of business. There are no more manufacturers of new bootleg vinyl albums. While there are glass mastered CDs being produced by a few manufacturers, some have opted for the much less desirable (but easy to produce) burnt CDrs. Of course, none of these manufacturers are available for contact for obvious reasons. As we continue into the new millennium, the simplicity of creating a professional looking bootleg CD at home (right down to "printed to the disc" graphics) has increased to the point where it is available to tens of millions of individuals. Coupled with the ease of accessing the world market through eBay and similar sites, this has created the new phenomena of the "Homemade Bootleg Pirate". While these packages might look slick, the only monetary value associated with them is the $1 to $2 cost of the material to build them. They have no more resale appeal than the homemade cassette tapes of years past. Commercial bootlegs are illegal to manufacture in the first place, so a Manufacturer's complaint against counterfeits is dubious, at best. However, the crime is in selling these homemade items that have no intrinsic value to an unwary buyer who believes he / she is purchasing a true collectible. This is becoming an ever increasing perplexity that could eventually force a decision from among several equally unfavorable options. Also read our boot buyers warning.
For the collector looking to obtain a particular title, or the fan that desires that one little piece of history ...  finding an out of print LP or CD is like trying to find any other rarity, antique or collectible.  The best bet is to search out collectors and/or traders on the Internet. Start with our "Traders Section" for tape or CDr, or our "Buyers Guide" for vinyl or CD. Keep an eye on the auction sites, however, beware if you are seeking CDs. As you have just read, there is a plethora of homemade counterfeits. Use this site to compare photos of originals.  To search outside of the Internet, the place to start is your local independent record and/or music dealer.  You can usually forget about going to the big chain stores such as in your local mall, although sometimes an employee of one of these establishments is a collector and can possibly point you in the right direction.  Another thing to be on the lookout for are traveling record conventions.  These, while not near as common as they once were, still exist.  Your local independent store can usually find out the information of where and when for you, or at least tell you where to go to look. 

What is a matrix? 
A matrix is an engraved or inscribed die or stamp on a vinyl LP.  If you look at the runoff area of the album (where the sound groove runs out) somewhere in this flat surface area you will see numbers and/or letters stamped and/or carved into the vinyl.  This marking is used as an identification for the album. 

most vinyl record albums that were mass-produced used vinyl from various sources in the production of the album.  This included a lot of post-consumer products such as old record albums.  The problem with this vinyl is that it had many imperfections (such as a piece of paper from the label of an old record album) these imperfections caused pops in the new album.  Virgin vinyl is a term given to an album that was produced from virgin (all new ... no post-consumer) material.  One way to check your album is to hold it up to a good strong light source.  Virgin vinyl is translucent

Is it illegal to own bootlegs? 
No.  You do not have to worry about the record police coming to knock on your door!

Is it illegal to sell a bootleg? 
If you are a private citizen and have one or two bootlegs in your collection and are ready to put them on the collectors' market ... don't worry.  If you are thinking of going into business selling bootlegs, you had better consult an attorney! 

Is it illegal to manufacture a bootleg? 
In North America ... very much so! There is a multitude of differing laws in some parts of Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and South America. Most industrialized, capitalist countries have some type of law on the books regarding the copyrights of recorded music. However, some are lax and some are completely ineffectual

Who / what company made bootleg LPs? 
Bootleg albums came from many sources. There were good folks like "The West Coast USA" manufacturers "The East Coast USA" manufacturers ... Germany, Italy etc. that produced many titles. There were handfuls of small manufacturers who pressed only a few titles. There were many individuals who tried their hand at it once or twice. That is about as specific of information as can be commented on. 

How can I contact a CD boot manufacturer? 
You can't. We won't. Don't ask. 

Do you sell any of the bootlegs? 
Absolutely not! 
Other websites put down people that sell rather than trade unlicensed music.
Why do you seem to cater to the commercial (for sale) releases? is primarily a museum, reference, & info site dedicated to commercial Dylan boots.
We neither trade nor sell. We have no vested interest in any entity that participates in either of these activities.
We neither condone nor condemn selling of commercial boots.
We neither condone nor condemn CD-r trading. 
However, many traders like to point out that trading is more ethical, as no money changes hands in trading.
That is a fallacy. The money is spent on the blank CD-r. Time (which equates to money)
is spent burning the copy. When a trade is made, a profit of that time and material is realized.
The legal systems in virtually every country rightly views any such barter transaction as a profit gained. 
There are some traders and trading websites that try to put themselves on a 'higher moral ground' because they lean toward
trading CDrs rather than buying and selling commercial CDs. The two are equivalent. However you view one, you must also view the other.
The world operates on a barter system. You trade your time for the things that you want. Money is simply 
a convenience that allows your time to be distributed even to those who have no need of your barter.
For a deeper understanding of why it would be pointless to review anything short of commercial releases, be sure to read our section entitled Why do you only list commercial boots? in the traders section of this website.

What is TMQ? 
TMQ or TMOQ is the common abbreviation for the record Label/label Trademark of Quality. POPO (a sister Label) and TMQ began in earnest in early 1970, and was one of the first manufacturers of rock era bootleg record albums in the United States. They were also the most prolific, releasing hundreds of titles. Their main interest was Dylan, but they also released Beatles, Stones, Hendrix, and many more. By 1974, they had released 21 different Dylan titles. Collectors refer to this Label as TMQ-1. By 1975, the original people involved had 'retired', and the Label was continued by the second regime (known as TMQ-2). TMQ-2 continued to release the original Dylan titles, along with a handful of their own. The farm style pig logo was discarded during the switch in favor of the cigar smoking 'Pig Daddy'. A brief history of the TMOQ paper label can be seen here. During the 1980's, TMOQ reformed, and created new excitement in the world of bootlegs with incredible, slick looking packages that rivaled those produced by the major Labels. In the late '80s they were early pioneers in the fledgling bootleg CD market. Another interesting note: In the mid 80's, a top notch bootleg manufacturer by the name of Swingin' Pig began production in Germany. TMOQ-2's 'Pig Daddy' logo was adopted by this Label who put out some of the best bootleg records ever to be released.  In 2001, both pig logos resurfaced. This time, in Japan; when an unknown manufacturer began using them on a series of CD releases. In 2008, the label again appeared on CD release. It is as of yet unclear whether anyone associated with the early TMOQ regimes is involved in this release.

What artist has had the most bootlegs released on them? 
This is an impossible question to answer seeing that no one person could ever possibly know the totality of cassettes, albums, and CDs manufactured on all artists. With the advent of the CD-r, the once impossible task of cataloging becomes ludicrous.  Should I venture a hypothesis, though ... I think it would be safe to say that Led Zeppelin, Dylan, the Beatles, and the Stones would be in the top four. 

How do the legitimate record Labels view these bootlegs? 
This is a multifaceted question. How does a policeman view your driving over the speed limit? Of course it is illegal, but many times he will turn his head and look the other away. And don't think for a minute that he has never driven over the speed limit! So it is with the bootlegs. The official stance must be that it is illegal and will be prosecuted. The manufacturers collective agent for combating such activities in the United States is the Recording Industries Association of America, or RIAA. The European equivalent of the RIAA is the IFPI : International Federation of the Phonograph Industry. In Japan it's the RIAJ, or Record Industry Association of Japan. These are organizations responsible for seeking out (along with, of course, the injured record Label/ artist/ legal representation et al.) and eliminating unlicensed material. (Although, they are not legally empowered as an enforcement agency, and must use some type of local authorities for physical confiscation of items. At times, local authorities are not cooperative with their demands) However, the truth be known ... the actions and reactions of manufacturers and of the collective agents are woefully misguided when it comes to bootlegs. To start with ... the hypocrisy. Just as the policeman is not going to give himself a ticket, the "legitimate" music business is not going to squeal on itself on things like... say... quantity over production. Think about it... pressing a quantity of undocumented CDs would be just like printing free money... only there's no way to be caught. The bootleggers are not the problem in the big picture, they are merely the scapegoat. That is as far as I care to comment on such matters in this forum, but the reader can draw his or her own conclusions. There are obviously, however, mainly music fans employed by the record Labels. There are many of these employees who own bootleg records, and actively seek them out as collectibles. The truth of the matter is  ... the business of bootlegging is far more beneficial to an artist (and subsequently to their record Label) then it could ever be detrimental.  The record Labels will claim lost revenue because of the sale of a bootleg, when in fact, the Label has no intention or interest in releasing the material. They could not afford to release a piece with the potential of a few hundred sales. So the "lost revenue" discussion is a purely academic one. Some artists might decry the fact that the intellectual property has been manipulated outside of their control. As an industry insider, I have to snicker at this notion as it is juxtaposed to the "legal" manipulation afforded the artists' Record Label and publisher. What the bootlegs do to benefit the artist is to create an excitement in the music of that artist which will nearly always result in more sales of the legitimate product; hence more income for the record Label. What is a thorn in the side of the artist and their record Label is pirating and counterfeiting, and illegal swapping and downloading. Multiple millions of dollars are lost every year to these illegal activities. Unfortunately, bootlegs get the bad rap because they are automatically lumped into the same category as the counterfeiting and pirating. In fact, most lay individuals refer to all of these activities as "bootlegging".  Be sure to check out the section "What is a bootleg?"  for more detail of the vast differences in these three non-related activities. 

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