Creating a bootleg | 5 April 2005
Most of you probably know that the very first ABBA bootleg LP, Take A Chance On Us, appeared on the scene in 1988. That LP marked the beginning of an era where an increasing number of unreleased ABBA tracks were released on vinyl and (later) on CD. Also common knowledge is the fact that I was the one who created that LP.
Modern times, with fast internet access and CD burners in every pc, make it possible for everybody to create bootleg CDs. But in 1987 things were a bit different. Then you had to deal with many people and because of that obviously many risks were involved. No person was able to press LPs in the attic of their home. So you had to look for people with dubious connections in the record industry. These people had to know people in LP factories who would look the other way when lost hours were used to press illegal LPs.
Fortunately a friend of mine knew such a person. And so this friend of mine and I invested roughly € 1000 each in Take A Chance On Us, which turned out to be a good investment. I was the one with the ABBA knowledge and material. I used lots of music cassettes that circulated in the ABBA fan world and compiled an LP with interesting tracks; five songs on each side. And I also provided the bootleggers with the album sleeve, by literally cutting and pasting and drawing a 100% sized model of the sleeve.
The production of the LP (which involved creating a master disc, pre-press work for the sleeve, pressing the actual LPs, etc) took two to three months and the album was ready to be marketed in March 1988. The rest, so to speak, is history.
In 2005 things are quite different. You look for nice tracks on the internet, download them, polish the sound a bit, design booklet in Photoshop, and finally you start burning your CDs. Everything in you own home. Less effort, less time involved and a much lower investment to start with.
This of course is a good development, but sometimes I long for those old days. I miss the adventurous part of bootleg making and the strange people that worked in that scene. In 1987 I was a pioneer, now I'm just one of many …
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