Listen to the World’s Largest (Legal) Bootleg Music Collection

Tuesday March 21, 2017 Written by Jeffrey


For nearly a decade, Long Island native Dan Lynch has chronicled New York City’s music scene via pristine live audio recordings. Known as the NYCTaper, Lynch has uploaded over 150 shows every year since the site’s inception in 2007, and garners daily traffic from listeners worldwide. Inspired by a lineage of Grateful Dead tapers, Lynch was moved to launch the project after a poorly mixed version of his work surfaced on another blog. A Wilco set at Hammerstein Ballroom in ’07 provides early proof of Lynch’s penchant for capturing a warm, well-defined live sound.

While NYCTaper has become an invaluable resource for critics and fans alike, t remains largely a passion project for Lynch himself. A criminal defence and civil rights attorney by day, Lynch sustains his work at a non-commercial, non-profit organisation recording area performers with artist permission. Funds paid for any digital albums on Bandcamp are transferred directly to artists. Maintaining an enthusiastic, artist-first mentality has been key to the site’s success. Heavy traffic to the tapers’ bootleg of an Animal Collective show at Bowery Ballroom in 2009 wound up crashing their server, and Lynch has since been invited to record with household names in indie including The Mountain Goats and The National (recording below).

Lynch can more frequently be seen recording up-and-coming artists at DIY spaces across the city’s boroughs. With an open ear for the avant-garde, the lawyer is dedicated to putting the spotlight on acts he believes are on the cusp of something big. Lynch recently caught psych duo Tonstartssbandht at Sunnyvale in Brooklyn ahead of their first proper LP for record label Mexican Summer. With support from three additional tapers, Lynch has cultivated an uncommon community for musicians, audiophiles, and archivists. Each post on the site contains a review of the night plus a comprehensive list of what gear was used for the recording.


Get lost in the full archive here.

Images, top: Gene Hackman in Francis Ford Coppola's The Conversation. Bottom: Dan Lynch at work, photo from Village Voice.