When I went on my first truly major eBay selling spree a couple of years ago, one of the really harsh realities I had to often face was having something that I originally paid a lot of money for, and having to sell it for next to nothing.
And I'm not talking about things like clothing or furniture which naturally wears away after a while. I'm mainly talking about things that were especially sought after at the time for being collectible items. It seemed that the longer you'd hold on to these, the more its rarity and value would go up. The popularity of the internet of course changed all of this.
Brace yourself for a bitter old man rant:
Do kids today make the effort to hunt down bootlegs and rarities of their favorite bands? Do they even KNOW what a bootleg is? A bootleg is, in the loosest sense of the term, a recording of a band that you can't find for purchase anywhere. If you were a really big fan of a band, then you wanted to get whatever you could from that band. You couldn't just hop on the internet for that, because first of all your home probably didn't have access, and second of all even if you did, the connection speeds and computers weren't fast enough to get much of anything. The effort you had to exert to get a band's entire catalog and beyond is what separated the casual fans from the true die-hard fans.
It didn't matter if it was a low-quality, muddy cassette recording of a demo session, or a concert video recorded by one guy holding up a shaky camcorder. (And how the hell DID these people sneak those in?) If that band you loved did it, then you had to have it. Used record shops would sometimes carry bootlegs. Other times, you had to find somebody to trade (which you could do in the earlier days of the internet, but again you still had to find the person who had what you wanted, set up a mailing arrangement, etc.)
There was a time when VHS concert bootlegs like this would sell anywhere from $20 to $50. This past summer, I managed to find an old used music store that sold them. I can't remember what they were asking for, but I know it wasn't more than 5 bucks a tape. So I bought some, brought them home, and transferred them to DVD-R. Great stuff.
So...what to do with the tapes now? Well there's really nothing to do. I could try selling them, but I doubt anybody these days would take them. Even if you were lucky and managed to sell them on eBay (without having your ad being taken down for legal reasons), you'd just be going through the hassle of shipping them. I wouldn't be surprised if all of these shows have been uploaded to YouTube by now, albeit of poorer quality.
Of course, the nagging feeling in the back of my mind said that I shouldn't be throwing away things that I would have paid $20 to $50 bucks each for. But then the more rational part of my mind has to say, "Bill, those prices were what you'd see if this was still 1994. But it's not. It's 2011. And you have digital copies of these now. If you were ever going to trade copies with other fans -- and you probably won't end up doing that -- you'd be making copies from the DVD-Rs you made." Thus, into the trash they went.