What exactly is a bootleg?
A bootleg album, cassette, or CD
is one that has been created completely from material that is not
available. The material might be from an interview, radio
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
small quantities. Sometimes as many as a thousand ... sometimes
few as a hundred or less. For more detail, be sure to look at the
"What is a bootleg?"
Where can I buy a bootleg?
Well, to start with you can't look up
in the yellow pages. Remember, bootlegging is an illegal
And, while they are not illegal to own ... and a gray area as to
they are illegal to sell ... they are definitely illegal to
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
on this site, and most of the CDs, are out of
The manufacturers are long out of business. There are no more
of new bootleg vinyl albums. While there are glass mastered CDs
being produced by a few manufacturers, some have opted for the much
desirable (but easy to produce) burnt CDrs. Of
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
unfavorable options. Also read our boot buyers warning.
For the collector looking to obtain a
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.
best bet is to search out collectors and/or traders on the Internet.
with our "Traders Section" for tape or CDr, or our "Buyers
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.
search outside of the Internet, the place to start is your local
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
for are traveling record conventions. These, while not near as
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
on a vinyl LP. If you look at the runoff
of the album (where the sound groove runs out) somewhere in this flat
area you will see numbers and/or letters stamped and/or carved into the
vinyl. This marking is used as an identification for the
most vinyl record albums that were
used vinyl from various sources in the production of the album.
included a lot of post-consumer products such as old record
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
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)
One way to check your album is to hold it up to a good strong light
Virgin vinyl is translucent
Is it illegal to own bootlegs?
No. You do not have to worry about
record police coming to knock on your door!
Is it illegal to sell a bootleg?
If you are a private citizen and have one
two bootlegs in your collection and are ready to put them on the
market ... don't worry. If you are thinking of going into
selling bootlegs, you had better consult an attorney!
Is it illegal to manufacture a
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.
were good folks like "The West Coast USA"
"The East Coast USA" manufacturers ... Germany,
etc. that produced many titles. There were handfuls of small
who pressed only a few titles. There were many individuals who tried
hand at it once or twice. That is about as specific of information as
be commented on.
How can I contact a CD
You can't. We won't. Don't ask.
Do you sell any of the bootlegs?
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
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,
money changes hands in trading.
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
began in earnest in early 1970, and was one of
first manufacturers of rock era bootleg record albums in the United
They were also the most prolific, releasing hundreds of titles. Their
interest was Dylan, but they also released Beatles, Stones, Hendrix,
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
and the Label was continued by the second regime (known as TMQ-2). TMQ-2 continued to
release the original
along with a handful of their own. The farm
style pig logo was discarded during the switch in favor of the
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
in the fledgling bootleg CD market. Another
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,
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
This is an impossible question to answer
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
How do the legitimate record Labels
Return to Top
This is a multifaceted question. How does a
view your driving over the speed limit? Of course it is illegal, but
times he will turn his head and look the other away. And don't think
a minute that he has never driven over the speed limit! So it
with the bootlegs. The official stance must be that it is illegal and
be prosecuted. The manufacturers collective agent for combating such
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
(Although, they are not legally empowered as an
enforcement agency, and must use some type of local authorities for
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
on things like... say... quantity over production. Think about
pressing a quantity of undocumented CDs would
like printing free money... only there's no way to be caught. The
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,
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
of bootlegging is far more beneficial to an
(and subsequently to their record Label) then it could ever be
The record Labels will claim lost revenue because of the sale of a
when in fact, the Label has no intention or interest in releasing the
They could not afford to release a piece with the potential of a few
sales. So the "lost revenue" discussion is a purely academic one. Some
artists might decry the fact that the intellectual property has been
outside of their control. As an industry insider, I have to snicker at
this notion as it is juxtaposed to the "legal" manipulation afforded
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
result in more sales of the legitimate product; hence more income for
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
most lay individuals refer to all of these activities as
Be sure to check out the section "What is a bootleg?"
for more detail of the vast differences in these three non-related