Moving Day for Dead Music

The Marin Independent Journal reports a milestone occurrence: Grateful Dead Productions in effect is no more.

THE MUSICAL legacy of the Grateful Dead – some 13,000 live audio and video recordings spanning the band’s 30-year concert career – left Marin County in a temperature-controlled truck and is now being stored in a huge Warner Brothers Music vault in Southern California.

The transfer of the priceless “vault” recordings – from a Novato warehouse to a Fort Knox-like facility in Burbank – is a physical manifestation of a milestone deal that effectively dissolves Marin-based Grateful Dead Productions and turns over the Hall of Fame band’s business operations to Rhino Entertainment, a subsidiary of giant Warner Music Group.

“It’s sad to see it go,” Grateful Dead tape archivist David Lemieux said of the vault collection. “But it couldn’t be in better hands.”

Learning the news made my head swim a bit, but the initially swirling thoughts have settled. Rhino is responsible for reviving many works by classic artists and its compilations and remasterred classic recordings tend to be really well done. I imagine the label will treat the Dead’s intellectual property — the songs and performances many of us have loved for decades — with care, respect and love. Hope so…

Still, I can’t escape the notion that all this change, even change for the good, can feel overwhelming at times.

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