Last time we talked about the concept of music piracy in the days before MP3s: the bootleg record and CD. People gained access to material that was never supposed to be released and released it anyway on both vinyl and CD. Quality varied, but there are some bootlegs that sound absolutely awesome and are treasured by collectors. Ever wonder who started all this? I’ll tell you.
The sale and trading of unauthorized recordings goes back to the year 1900 when Lionel Mapleson, the librarian at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, started making secret recordings from a hidden perch 40 feet above the stage. He would then share these recordings with like-minded music fans. File sharing–or in the case of Lionel Mapleson, wax cylinder sharing–has been around a lot longer than just about anyone realizes.