Direct-to-fan is not a fad. From a factual point of view, direct-to-fan started off in January 1966 with the Grateful Dead and really took off in October 1984. From the early beginning, the Grateful Dead had been devoting themselves to the fans, providing them with food, accommodation, care and music. Moreover, the band would always encourage them in recording their concerts.
In the early 80’s, the number of “tapers” (fans who record concerts and share the tapes) grows exponentially. In October 1984, they have their own reserved space, right behind the sound engineer’s mixing desk, and are sometimes provided with a direct cable, thus generating the traffic of some exceptional quality recordings.
At the same time, the Grateful Dead decide to leave the system. They step away from the music industry. Nothing will be released between 1981 and 1986. The band is one of the first in the rock world to retain ownership of their master recordings and editorial rights.
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