These might be made from private recordings not meant to be widely shared, or from master recordings stolen or copied from an artist's home, a recording studio or the offices of a record label, or they may be copied from promotional material issued to music publishers or radio stations, but not for commercial release.A theme of early rock bootlegs was to copy deleted records, such as old singles and B-sides, onto a single LP, as a cheaper alternative to obtaining all the original recordings.As a soundboard recording is intended to supplement the natural acoustics of a gig, a bootleg may have an inappropriate mix of instruments, unless the gig is so large that everything needs to be amplified and sent to the desk.
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Strictly speaking, these were unlicensed recordings, but because the work required to clear all the copyrights and publishing of every track for an official release was considered to be prohibitively expensive, the bootlegs became popular.
Some bootlegs, however, did lead to official releases.
With the advent of the cassette and CD-R, however, some bootlegs are traded privately with no attempt to be manufactured professionally.
This is even more evident with the ability to share bootlegs via the Internet.
Many artists and live venues prohibit this form of recording, but from the 1970s onwards the increased availability of portable technology made such bootlegging easier, and the general quality of these recordings has improved over time as consumer equipment becomes sophisticated.