Jesse Jarnow’s Wired article The Invisible Hit Parade: How Unofficial Recordings Have Flowered in the 21st Century is such a delight:
Like every other part of the music world, taping has changed utterly in the digital age. Once dismissed as mere bootlegging, the surrounding attitudes, economies, and technologies have evolved. It’s been a long haul since Dean Benedetti recorded Charlie Parker’s solos on a wire recorder. In the ’60s and ’70s aspiring preservationists snuck reel-to-reel recorders into venues under battlefield conditions, scaling down to professional quality handheld cassette decks and eventually to DATs.
I’m particularly fond of the values that serious tapers feel pretty strongly about:
To serious tapers, “phone recordings” are synonymous with incomplete, inconsistent, and rarely enjoyable documentation.
“Put in a little effort if you’re going to do it,” says Pier-Hocking, who would love to see more serious tapers. “If you need to secure a spot, get down to the venue early. Don’t be a jerk to others. Don’t do something that’s going to affect other people’s enjoyment of the music.” He emails me one night after a Neil Young show, still stewing at the video recordist who gave Eric and his wife guff about blocking his camera’s view, and then proceeded to not even record complete songs anyway.