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Bootleg trading guide


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Bootleg music is all over the net, and some of it legal and approved by the musicians that made it. there are live shows, studio outtakes, alternate albums and all sorts of goodies free for the taking

often, the files are in a lossless format, that is they use a compression that does not toss out any parts of the file--this is opposed to lossy formats like mp3 or aac that toss some frequencies to save on space (usually high ones, variable depending on bitrate etc.) since lossless files don't toss out anything, you will pay for it in filesize--3x a 320kbps mp3 size, or 1/2 the size of a wav

the 2 lossless types i run across the most are .shn and .flac

shn or shorten files can be played through winamp with the shnamp plugin (be sure to get the one for your winamp 2.x, 3.x, or 5.x)


make shn files, and convert back to wav (for burning to cd) with mkwact


flac or free lossless audio codec--installation of the program also installs the codecs for winamp and for conversion to and from flac


getting the files

here are a few sites to start with that have fast ftp access (legal stuff)

http://www.archive.org (archive.org has super fast servers and 10,000 live lossless shows to choose from in many genres.

http://www.bluegrassbox.com (bluegrassbox has (you guessed it) bluegrass, old country, and alt. country, servers are in the 25-45 range)

http://www.gdlive.com (grateful dead and related shows)

(get an ftp client, i like leechftp )


once you have a few shows, you can get into shn dc hubs and (yep) get more bootlegs

one hub with an excellent database of bootlegs is http://www.bootlegarchive.com

it's private, but you can get into it through on site registration (though the people who operate it are assholes, so be warned)

there are other shn hubs on the public list, but be sure to only share shn or flac or you will probably be banned!

another method is bittorrent



are good starting points

the old fashioned way, updated

cd trading by mail is a slower method, but you will access music otherwise unavailable

the ultimate connection for traders is http://www.db.etree.org

here shn, mail, ftp, and bootleg traders of all kinds compare lists

go out and get some bootlegs!

Edited by method77
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Nate, thanks for the effort you made getting this up here so fast. I have a couple of .shn files that had me stymied....this helps greatly. Now I'll be able to listen to the ancient New Riders Of The Purple Sage concert that I have!

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