Home Who Is Mailing Lists Frequently Asked Questions Mailing List Archives Required Software .shn's In Circulation Server / Siteops IRC Seeding The Bands on Server Team Link to in the News Legal Stuff Happy Links | introduction

On this page you will find links to detailed information about what the community is and how it operates. You will be directed to the free software (all available from this web site) necessary to take advantage of You will also be shown how to gain access to the audio files.

If you are new to the community, it is expected that you will read this page in its entirety. It should only take about an hour of your time. This page contains links to all the information you need to fully use the resources of the community. If you feel we have overlooked something in this overview, please let us know. | nav

Mailing Lists
FTP Software
SHN Software
CD-R Burning Tools | background

The music community was created in the summer of 1998 for the online trading of live CD-R's. We do not trade CD-R's via regular mail. Instead, we trade by downloading losslessly compressed audio files, extracting these files, and then burning them onto a CD-R.

The community uses an independent network of file (FTP) servers that host and distribute Shorten (SHN) audio files. Shorten is our file format of choice because it uses a lossless compression scheme, and is available for a variety of operating systems. This means the digital audio files distributed via are identical to the original DAT source, and can be played on any computer. There is absolutely NO sound quality loss, or any loss of information for that matter! Every downloaded copy is an identical clone of the original DAT source. does not host or distribute MP3 files! While MP3 has a good sound for such a small file size, it is a lossy compression scheme. This means that when music is converted into the MP3 format, a certain amount of data is lost and cannot ever be recovered. This data loss can sometimes result as a 'swooshing' type sound in the music. For this reason, you should never make an audio CD-R from MP3 files. has found that as CD-R's are traded, MP3-sourced discs are often mislabeled and passed along without any mention of their MP3 lineage.

The idea of transferring DAT-quality audio files via the Internet was first discussed in 1996, however it was dismissed to the future due to the large file sizes required to keep the quality intact. Enter The community now known as was formed as an offshoot of two highly regarded online Phish communities; Sugarmegs Audio and PCP (People for a Clearer Phish). Starting with 10 people, has seen a staggering growth rate since inception. As of February 2001, there were almost 300 independent file (FTP) servers, providing the trunk of to over 12,000 users. We were recently featured in the "Ten Web sites A Jam Fan Can't Live Without" by In 2000 and 2001, won a Jammy Award, in the "Best Fan web site" category. These are the first two year's the Jammy's have been held, and we are truly honored to have won the awards.

Thanks to the hard work and deadication of everyone in our community, will continue to grow and set the standard in lossless digital audio distribution via the Internet! is run by a hardworking community of volunteers. We are a not-for-profit venture, organized by people who love the music and simply want to see it spread. People who 'work' on include FTP server operators, mailing list administrators, web site designers, and the other countless number of people who seed the with their DAT tapes and compact discs. is truly a community effort and without the support of all involved, we simply could not exist. | flow

There are four basic elements to using

  1. Finding out where to download the SHN files from (mailing lists)
  2. Installing the software needed to access the SHN files (FTP client)
  3. Installing the software needed to decompress the SHN files to WAV (SHN software)
  4. Installing the software needed to burn an audio CD-R. (CD-R burning tools)

Some users new to may already be familiar with a few of these items, especially FTP clients and CD-R burning tools. If you're not, don't worry, we will cover them all. | mailing lists

The mailing lists is the method we use for announcing FTP servers, public discussion of all things relating to, and for setting up electronic trades (etrades) with other members of the community.'s three public mailing lists are:

  • Announce (
  • --- a list that for people who are running servers to post their FTP server information to for public consumption.
  • Discussion (
  • --- a list for the general discussion of all things related to the topic of lossless (.shn) trading.
  • Etrade (
  • --- a list used for setting up trades (mail or FTP), offering B&P's, posting ISO (in search of) request's giving away login's for FTP servers.

    Click on the links above for more detailed information about each list and to sign up. Or, get the full rundown at our main Mailing List webpage.

    For people just starting out with, we suggest first starting off with the Announce list digest, and we ask that you please read the rules for each list before posting a message to it. | ftp software

    Once you have FTP server information (FTP location, login, password, and retry rate requirements), you want to start downloading! Please take a few moments to correctly install and configure the software needed to download SHN files.

    For Windows users, we highly suggest SmartFTP. There are detailed instructions on the SmartFTP software page for installation, configuration, and usage.

    For MacOS users, go to our MacOS page for FTP client information. For Unix users, go to our Unix page for FTP client information.

    A quick note about downloading SHN files from FTP servers: Please realize that there are many, many more people attempting to download SHN files than there are providing server logins. For this reason, it may take you many, many hours to gain access to a server, especially during peak hours. Unfortunately, this is a way of life for members of the announce mailing list. An alternative is to join the etrade mailing list, and try an electronic trade, rather than depending on the goodwill of FTP server operators. Another alternative is to try to log into a server during non-peak hours (Midnight - 6 a.m. EST).

    Unfortunately, it often is not obvious that there are too many people connected to a particlular FTP server. It may say "connection refused" or "login attempt denied" rather than a more obvious ""sorry dude, too many people currently logged in". | shn software

    After you have successfully downloaded an entire show from an FTP server, you now need to check to make sure all the files were downloaded correctly, and then alternatively convert them to WAV files (for burning to an audio CD-R).

    For Windows users, we highly suggest mkwACT. There are detailed instructions on the mkwACT software page for installation, configuration, and usage.

    For MacOS users, go to our MacOS page for shn software information. For Unix users, go to our Unix page for shn software information. | cd-r burning tools

    After you have successfully converted all SHN files to WAV, you can burn them to CD-R!

    For Windows users, we highly suggest Feurio! for burning audio CD-R's. There are detailed instructions on the Feurio! software page for installation, configuration, and usage.

    For MacOS users, go to our MacOS page for CD-R burning tools information. For Unix users, go to our Unix page for CD-R burning tools information.

    This page last updated by Michael Crow on 6/6/2002.

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