Rocky Mountain News reports that the Grateful Dead are “finalizing a deal” with Apple to put their entire collection of live performances available for purchase through the iTunes Music Store.
The Grateful Dead has a long history of allowing fans to make bootleg recordings of their concerts. Over the years, countless bootleg Dead concert recordings have made their way onto the Internet, available for download through peer-to-peer file sharing services and elsewhere. From Weir’s perspective, getting the Dead’s own recordings of their shows is a natural progression.
“What we wanna do is digitize our entire catalog, our entire collection of tapes … and make that stuff available,” said Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir. “I think I-Tunes [sic] is up to that.”
In fact, The Grateful Dead are already featured artists on the iTunes Music Store — eight studio albums are available for download and purchase, including classics like Terrapin Station, Blues for Allah and In the Dark, the 1987 album that sports the Dead’s only top 10 hit, “Touch of Grey.” Steve Jobs even played a Dead track when he introduced the second-generation iTunes Music Store during last October’s special music event in San Francisco. But thus far, the Dead’s live music — what the quintessential jam band is best known for — has been absent from the store.
Weir told the interviewer that the Dead has recorded all of its live shows since the late 60’s “just so we could listen back, see what it sounded like and make any changes.”
What’s more, said Weir jokingly, the iTunes Music Store’s current track price is a bargain for value-conscious consumers. “”At 99 cents a tune, it’s a pretty decent price, because most of our tunes are pretty long.”