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It's not quite clear what a Bootleg is in the electronic music?
What's the difference between a Bootleg and a Mashup?

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Possibly better asked on English SE? –  Dr Mayhem Feb 19 '12 at 21:46
    
Dr Mayhem - you're probably right but I wasn't quite sure I was going to get an appropriate answer there :) –  tftd Feb 20 '12 at 19:19
    
What is the difference between vinyl and punk? Bootleg is about the legal status. Mashup is a music style. –  S Vilcans May 5 at 11:56

6 Answers 6

up vote 18 down vote accepted

For a long time, in popular music, a bootleg has been an unauthorised copy of some music. That would include unauthorised concert recordings, copies of masters stolen from record company archives, or just cassettes dubbed from commercial LPs. At various points in history, you'd find bootleg recordings as vinyl pressings, acetate pressings for DJs, as professional looking counterfeit cassettes, as obviously home-dubbed cassettes swapped by fans, or sold at markets. Later, of course, cassettes made way for recordable CDs.

As Wheat says, the term comes from smuggling and dealing in prohibited goods (for example, liquor was traded by bootleggers during America's prohibition years).

In around 2001, a scene emerged that became known as the "bootleg scene", or the "boot scene" -- in which people combined two well known records to produce a pleasing combination. For example Freelance Hellraiser combined an instrumental of The Strokes' Hard To Explain and the vocal from Christina Aguillera's Genie In A Bottle, to produce A Stroke of Genius.

These "boots" were distributed as MP3s on the Internet, and also pressed as limited release singles. Since they didn't have permission from any of the original copyright holders, these were bootlegs in the truest sense.

However, it's important to understand that an unauthorised recording of a Rolling Stones concert is also a bootleg in the truest sense.

When the record companies realised the popularity and commercial potential of the early 2000s mix-and-matching-records scene, some of them went on to produce authorised music in the same vein. For example, Richard X's combination of Adina Howerd's Freak Like Me and Gary Numan's Are "Friends" Electric was released as a single, with the vocals re-recorded by the Sugarbabes, and became a big hit. 2 Many DJs's "As Heard on Radio Soulwax Pt. II" -- a continuous mix -- was audited for copyright use, and released officially with great success.

Once everything was authorised and copyright-cleared, it was no longer appropriate to refer to these as bootlegs, so somebody coined the word mashup. Two (or more) recordings are mashed up together.

It's also important to note that this doesn't have to be an electronic process. While most creators of mashups do use computer software to align samples to each other, some do it all with vinyl source material, and turntable skills.

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The term "bootleg" has nothing to do with electronic music, per se.

The term "bootleg", in general, means objects that are duplicated, transported and sold illegally.

In the music industry, the term "bootleg" denotes something that is used in violation of copyright laws, especially something that is duplicated and sold for profit when the person selling it has no legal right to duplicate it or sell it.

The origin of the term "bootleg" refers to smuggling; that is, transporting contraband by hiding it on a person so that the police or other authorities do not see it. It comes from the practice of a smuggler who hides small objects by stuffing them into the top of their boot or strapping them to their leg, underneath their trousers, and then walking through customs inspections or police inspections hoping that the objects will not be detected.

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Both those answers are wrong. A bootleg in electronic music is a song made of mixing 2 or more songs together with various effects and buildups.

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The purpose of my answer was not to answer the question directly, but to provide additional background as to where the term "bootleg" originally came from. The original use of the term "bootleg", implying smuggling, is hundreds of years old and therefor predates recorded music. –  Wheat Williams Jun 20 '12 at 23:08

To sum up the answers: A "bootleg" mix, in the context you're likely referring, is a remix or mashup that is made without permission from the copyright-holders of the original music.

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A recording owned by the original artist of the song that is not been released. Copying or duplicating and distributing the unrelease version of the song without permission can be called bootleg and it is illegal.

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My experience from hearing the term tossed around on the BBC Essential mix and even around my dj friends, is that a mash up (or a boot-leg) is the ability to take a song (normally with no connection to the genre being mixed) on the fly during a set and mix it in without interrupting the flow or beat of the mix. Laidback Luke is a renowned mash up artist, and his live sets are incredibly dynamic due to how well he does mash ups. One recent mash up I heard was a Boards of Canada track mixed into a house set. The BoC track was incredibly ambient, but was supplemented by the dj with beats and a layered vocal track and was very enjoyable to hear.

All in all. Bootlegs and Mashups have many different terms, mostly historic, but, in reference to your exact question: "what a Bootleg is in the electronic music", it is what I described above.

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