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As the Grateful Dead began to produce and market their archival recordings in the early 1990s, distinctive “languages of liveness” were used to advertise and aestheticize the band’s earliest vault recordings. Produced by Dan Healy, the releases that appeared on the From the Vault series were promoted and evaluated within a discourse that emphasized the superior sonic qualities and technical features of the multitrack recordings. In 1993, the band and tape archivist Dick Latvala introduced a series of compact disc releases called Dick’s Picks that featured live performances that had been recorded using 2-track technologies. Whereas the recordings featured on the From the Vault series more closely resemble the sound and aesthetic of the band’s professionally produced, major-label live releases, the compact discs included as part of the DickWithin the community and the culture of the Grateful Dead, live recordings have been valued not just for the sounds and stories they transmit but also for their materiality. Live recordings became the primary method by which the Grateful Dead would continue to promote the band’s legacy of liveness following the death of Jerry Garcia in 1995. By the turn of the millennium, a growing digital library of live recordings featuring the music of the Dead was readily accessible on the World Wide Web. But even as fans all over the world gained access to thousands of live recordings online, the Grateful Dead and their business partners continued to market and promote an “official” version of recorded liveness by producing a multitude of physical releases in a variety of (increasingly obsolete) formats.’s Picks series were shaped by the discourse of liveness that had come to be associated with fan-produced tapes.

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