Sonic Artefacts: "Record Collecting" in the Digital Age



popular music, bootlegging, blogging, record collecting, fandom, copyright


This article examines fan practices of record collecting in the digital environment. It examines two forms of fan practice that suggest a shift from the secondary involvement (Shuker 2010) of physical record collecting to a tertiary form predicated on the collection and distribution of digital music files. The first digital era practice involves the collection of unofficially released recordings of live music performances as not-for-bootlegs created and circulated by and between fans. The second involves the collection of music originally encoded in out-of-print, rare or private press vinyl and cassette releases. The fans and collectors involved in creating, distributing and/or collecting these various forms of digitized music are characterized as active and informal cultural intermediaries, who curate, organize, archive, discuss and circulate recordings and information. Their activities also raise questions about cultural memory, the provision of ‘free labour’, and the contested nature of copyright. Keywords: popular music, bootlegging, blogging, record collecting, fandom, copyright

Author Biography

Chris Anderton, Southampton Solent University

Chris Anderton is a Senior Lecturer in Popular Music at Southampton Solent University, where he leads the BA Hons Music Promotion and BA Hons Music Management degrees. He is also co-executive producer of the annual SMILE Festival ( and director of the in-house work experience and promotion organisation Solent Music ( He completed his PhD on music festivals at Swansea University in 2007, while his current research work encompasses the recorded and live music industries, music festivals, music history, music culture, music marketing and the intersection of fan practices and intellectual property law. He is the lead author of Understanding the Music Industries (Sage 2013), and has published chapters and articles on music festivals, progressive rock, and bootlegging. He is currently under contract to write a book about British music festivals, and was awarded the title of Visiting Professor by the University of West London in 2015.



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