Has the Bootleg Gone Legit?

With the news that Clear Channel Communications will be selling live CDs recorded at the shows of the Allman Brothers Band and releasing them for sale immediately after the show, I wonder what this means for the increasingly hard to justify concert bootleg? I have always maintained that bootlegs have never existed to harm the artist, that they in fact were created by real fans intended for other real fans. When I bought my bootlegs of “Destroyer” “Blueberry Hill” and the “Copenhagen Warm-ups” by Led Zeppelin, I already owned every legit recording they had put out. Far from hurting the band, a good bootleg only reinforces a fan’s allegiance. I have no problem with and actually wish more bands like Pearl Jam would release more legit live recordings of shows as they are excellent souvenirs of a concert (certainly better than a T-Shirt). I also think that those bands with an official tapers policy (like those trend setters The Grateful Dead) probably have less concerns with bootlegs than most since the demand is getting met and theoretically, no one is making money off the back of the band. Let’s face it, live bootleg recordings (and I would even argue boots of unreleased studio material) just goes to show that the demand is out there. The technology exits so that fans will never have to endure questionable audio and moronic crowd comments ever again. But would bootlegs from somebody like Clear Channel or the BIG 5 actually satiate fans or further piss them off? It’s one thing for the band to be directly connecting with the fan, but that same fan often sees a red flag whenever “the man” as they were known in the sixties gets involved.
I guess I am just nostalgic for the days when I used to crack open the latest edition of Hot Wacks and search for the latest and greatest boots by Zep, Deep Purple, Van Halen and Frank Zappa, and then begin the hunt in a fun cat and mouse game with the local “independent” record stores who carried select “import” records. Good times, good times.
For a great book on the “golden age” of bootlegs, check out “The Great White Wonders: A History of Rock Bootlegs” by Clinton Heylin. A Bargain Bin Book Review should be posted in a couple of weeks. Buy it if you see it.