Deadheads can still trade shows for free

The Grateful Dead have dropped a plan to stop concert recordings being made available for free over the internet.

Legions of fans protested after the group asked website archive.org to stop making many concert recordings available for free download, reports the BBC.

Many fans saw the move as a betrayal, as the band are renowned for always encouraging fans to record their concerts and subsequently trade tapes and CDs for free.

Bass player Phil Lesh said he wanted all of the band’s music to be available “for those who want it”.

The Grateful Dead became one of rock’s most successful touring acts by playing improvisational concerts that varied wildly from night to night.

When the plan to block the downloads was announced, fans – known as Deadheads – threatened to stop buying merchandise in protest.

An online petition attracted thousands of signatures.

Bassist Lesh responded by posting an apologetic message on his own website, saying he did not know that the band had asked the website to remove the recordings.

“I do feel that the music is The Grateful Dead‘s legacy and I hope that one way or another all of it is available for those who want it,” he wrote.

Grateful Dead spokesman Dennis McNally said the band was concerned that trading music over the internet did not create the same sense of community as trading tapes in person.

“There was a consensus to address this issue and it got addressed,” he said.

“We are confronting an entirely new set of circumstances with moving new music around, and we are struggling with it like a lot of others.”

The band largely retired from performing following the death of founder and leader Jerry Garcia in 1995, with remaining members renaming themselves The Dead in 2003.