Bob Dylan’s The Basement Tapes Gets Wiki

This article was last updated on May 27, 2022

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Join the Bob Dylan Basement Tapes Wiki and add your research and knowledge about The Basement Tapes.

By Stephen Pate – Tired of reading the same old boiler plate stories about Bob Dylan’s The Basement Tapes: The Bootleg Series Vol. 11?

Join the Bob Dylan Basement Tapes Wiki and add your own voice.

Sony / Legacy Records invites fans and Dylanologists to “Help Solve The Basement Tapes Mystery” by filling in the blanks on a song-by-song basis of who is singing and playing what instruments.

If you think the Bob Dylan Bootleg Series Companion App is a tad on the thin side, join the club.  79 MB of data and 10 songs covered seems skimpy.  See How To Restore Vol. 10 Dylan Bootleg Series Companion App

Sony/Legacy Music think the app is weak as well.

So they are asking for your help if you are a Dylanologist willing to withstand relentless peer editing.

Did you notice the Companion App has no track credits? That part is being left up to us in an experiment in crowd sourced liner notes.

Sony is updating the app with coverage like The Basement Tapes Track-by-Track written by Ben Rollins. The Track-by-Track post has a few paragraphs about why the basement tapes are so important and then tackles each track with a paragraph or two.

This is an amazing opportunity to write our own story. The Wiki movement has been so popular that Wikipedia is the 5th most visited site on the internet. And now Bob Dylan will be there.

Sony are inviting us to fill in the blanks on The Basement Tapes Complete: The Bootleg Series Vol. 11 by adding our comments to a  Wiki inside the app.  Well the trick is the Wiki is not closed – here’s the address

From inside the App, access is from the Lyrics / Track screen with the sly line “Due to incomplete records, no one is able to confirm the musicians and instruments played on the basement tapes. Can you? Tell us.”  Touch the link and you are switched to the Bob Dylan Wiki but inside the App.

The last time I looked fewer than 5 people had logged in as users, which you need to do to Edit a page.

The Wiki etiquette rules are no copyright material can be posted. Only public domain, Creative Commons and your own original text is allowed.

But that’s not that hard. Remember what Woody Guthrie said about copyright. Take a song you like and change the tune. When they sing high, you sing low. When they sing fast, you sing slow.

In other words, research the songs you want to discuss and re-write what you find, giving the original authors attribution. You can even quote from copyrighted material if the quotation is short and you include your own commentary.

In the United States, use of the copyright writing  is Fair Use under Section 107 of the US Code.  “Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phono records or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. ”

Wikipedia is full of short quotations from copyrighted books with complete references to the source.

Don’t over quote. People want to read what you think not more Clinton Heylin, for instance.

Canadian source

The only negative I can see is that Sony is claiming copyright of the page which is not good form for a public Wiki.

Your comments should be your own copyright or something like Creative Commons shared under a Wiki terms of use.

Unless Sony has a good moderator, a Wiki is like the wild west with other people editing or deleting your comments.

Be thick skinned and ride out the edits.  Making a big deal about it can get you banned from the site so go with the flow. I know. I got banned from Wikipedia 7 years ago by someone with a political agenda. Whatever, there are trolls everywhere :).

This is an exciting opportunity that should grow as more people learn about it. Dylan fans can become empowered and engaged, which should be Sony’s intention.

My caveats are not to slam Sony after all they nurtured Dylan and delivered 50 years of his creative genius to us. For that they should be thanked and appreciated.


The site is having problems. Somebody posted some irrelevant spam today and the site admin blocked the port on their own router, blaming the person who logs in.  Here’s the message and by the way there is no email address for jcohen.

“You do not have permission to create discussion pages, for the following reason:

Your IP address has been automatically blocked because it was used by another user, who was blocked by Jcohen. The reason given is:

Autoblocked because your IP address has been recently used by “Francesc013“.

The reason given for Francesc013’s block is “Spamming links to external sites”

  • Start of block: 17:04, 7 November 2014
  • Expiry of block: 17:04, 8 November 2014
  • Intended blockee:

You may contact Jcohen or one of the other administrators to discuss the block.

I sent the details to Sony Music Send Us Your Feedback.

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By Stephen Pate, NJN Network

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