Internet Archive Gives First 'Hero' Award To Grateful Dead — Pioneers In Social Sharing
I went to a fund raiser for the Internet Archive earlier this week. This is a fabulous San Francisco institution who's mission is to become the largest, free, digital archive for all media ever produced, printed, or broadcast. This includes the mundane and the rare such as 1970s reel-to-reel muzak tapes from Kmart, to Rolling Stone Kieth Richard's vinyl music collection of early blues recordings. The fund raising event also introduced the first Internet Archive Hero Award, which was given to the Grateful Dead. John Perry Barlow, a lyricist for the band accepted the award (above, left). Barlow said that the band's popularity was due to allowing its fans to record live shows and share the tapes. "The Grateful Dead were the first to exploit viral marketing," said Barlow. "There were many other great bands around when we started by they didn't have the same type of audience we had and with an almost religious fervor." He said tapes would travel thousands of miles and were shared through the mail, which built a massive following for the band. The Grateful Dead were one of the top grossing live acts in the US for many years. Barlow said that out of about 2300 live shows played by the original members of the Grateful Dead, the Internet Archive has nearly all but a few hundred. The Internet Archive is a non-profit organization founded by Brewster Kahle (above, right), a former Internet entrepreneur, in 2001. Its been digitizing anything it can find and now has more than 20 petabytes of digitized media: newspapers, magazines, books, TV, radio, and obscure leaflets. It has digitized some of the first books; and it has hundreds of thousands of hours of TV broadcasts from stations of all sizes of obscurity; and it has nearly all the early video games from the 1970s and 1980s allowing people to play them through a virtual game console created in the web browser. The most popular game is an eight-bit version of Oregon Trail!