alt.binaries.pearl-jam FAQ


This is the official Frequently Asked Questions page for the Usenet newsgroup alt.binaries.pearl-jam.


Questions about the band itself, their history, or their music are not covered here. You can find such information thru the resources:

The Unofficial Pearl Jam FAQ (cache) at The Sky I Scrape
Pearl Jam Synergy (cache) (Official Web site)
Ten Club (cache) (Official Fan Club site)

and ofcourse the many fansites.

If you have questions or comments about this FAQ, please use the shoutbox or 'contact us'. Feel free to make changes or additions on this page (if you're registered).


Table of contents


01. What is the purpose of alt.binaries.pearl-jam?

The purpose of this newsgroup is to share binary files relating to the band Pearl Jam. This can include audio recordings of songs or interviews, still pictures, video clips, or text files of magazine articles, interviews, lyrics, or tabs. Everything that is posted should be in the public domain, not copyrighted.
Discussion about the band, ticket requests, bootleg trading inquiries, etc., should be directed to Pearl Jam’s discussion newsgroup, (cache). Just like binary posts are not welcome there, discussion threads are not welcome here.
If you don't have access, contact your Internet Service Provider.

02. How long has alt.binaries.pearl-jam been around?

The newsgroup was founded on May 1, 1998 by Matt Richardson, who was also the keeper of this FAQ until it moved here.
If you listen to the Nashville show, August 17, 2000, just before Yellow Ledbetter. When Eddie says, "Baba O'Riley? Sorry, we played that one last night...", that was Matt holding the BABA sign!!! biggrin
He created ABP-J to fill a void, because he didn't see any newsgroups with Pearl Jam MP3's, and he knew there were enough collectors out there to support a PJ-only group.


03. What file types can I post?

You can post any type of file that is in widespread use, so that subscribers can readily open/view/listen to it. You will find that MP3 is by far the most popular type of file here, but feel free to post SHN, AVI, MPG, WMV, ASF, MOV, JPG, GIF, TXT, or DOC. You can also post Real Media or Vivo files, although these are highly compressed, lower quality formats, and thus less preferred. If the file you are posting needs a special program to open it, specify this in your header.

04. How can I create MP3 files to post to the group?

Encoding MP3's is considered an art form by many, and the technology changes constantly. This space used to contain information on encoding, but since we're not experts on this, and the technology changes so quickly, we will direct you to some better resources. Check or the newsgroups alt.binaries.sounds.mp3.d or for the latest information. If you decide to encode MP3's for the group, we prefer 192Kbps or higher for the best quality.
A good program to rip your cd's and encode them into mp3 (or other formats) is DbPowerAmp (cache).

05. What type of posting software should I use?

We recommend Power Post (cache) 2000. Power Post is very easy to set up and is virtually crash-proof. Just enter your ISP's news server address, your e-mail address, and the newsgroups you will be posting to, and you're ready to post. Best of all, you can select all the files within a given directory on your hard drive, type in a subject header and queue them up to post in seconds.

06. What should the header look like?

It is important for everyone to know exactly what you are posting. Therefore, type a description of the file in your header. If you are posting a concert, include the city and the date. Post the venue name also, if you wish. If you are posting video, include the TV show or the concert (city, date) from which the footage was taken.

07. What size should the file sections be?

It is very important to remember that many Internet providers have very low maximum article sizes. It is not unusual for this limit to be set below 500 kb. Therefore, you must make sure that you configure your posting software to post files in multiple sections, and the maximum lines per section should be set to 6,000 lines or less. Ignore this bit of advice, and you will get flooded with repost requests.

08. What is a repost?

A repost is when you post the same files (a concert, for instance) again. Some servers only have a retention time of a few days, so it's for people who can no longer get the original files. Usually a repost is following a request, about a day or 10 after the original post. The header should start with 'Repost:'.

09. What are PAR files and why should I use those?

PAR files are repair and check files. If you post them together with the original files, people can use them in case of corrupt or missing parts, so you don't have to post the files again.
A free tool to make PAR files can be found at the QuickPar (cache) site, for instance.

10. What else should I know about posting?

If you make a mistake, don’t worry. We’re a friendly group, and someone will gladly help out.
Most importantly, please don't think that anyone has a monopoly on posting, or that no one would be interested in what you have to post. Anyone is welcome to post any Pearl Jam material they wish, keeping in mind this FAQ document. Don't worry about whether or not your show has been posted already, and please don't criticize anyone for posting something that we've already seen. Newbies are joining the PJ online community all the time, so in a way, the more widespread shows (4/3/94, 7/11/95, etc.) are MOST appropriate to post, because no collector should be without them.
Also, newer shows should be posted at all costs, regardless of sound quality. Anyone who attended the show will be eager to hear it, even if the sound isn't that great. By the same token, if quality is very important to you, download just one song and listen to it. If it doesn't meet your standards, don't download the rest of it, but never, never, criticize the person who posted it. At least they took the time to contribute.


11. How do I go about requesting files?

Because alt.binaries.pearl-jam does not have its own discussion group, requests are posted directly to the group itself. Make sure that whatever you are requesting is visible in your header so that no one has to retrieve the body of the article. If you are requesting a show, type the city and date in the header. The header could look like this, for instance: "REQ Rotterdam 6th of November 2006".

12. Why are files on ABP-J posted in multiple sections? How can I download and join all of the parts to create a complete file?

As we mentioned above, the files are posted in multiple sections because most MP3s and video clips are too large to be posted in one message. If someone were to post an entire file in one part, it would probably not be accepted by your Internet provider’s news server.
Good newsgroup software will join the sections to complete files again, ready for you to use.

13. What software should I use to download the binaries?

If you attempt to download a file, but have trouble joining all the sections, take a minute to download the best free newsreader available, Free Agent. This will take all the effort out of downloading binaries. Free Agent will locate all the sections and join them automatically, even if they are scattered all over the group.
Other good software for binaries newsgroups is Newsleecher, Grabit (cache), or NewsBin Pro (cache).
If you must use another news program and experience difficulties, you should contact the manufacturer's tech support department.

14. What is MP3? How can I open these files?

MP3 is a type of highly compressed audio file. MP3's are about 1/11th the size of WAV's, with little loss of sound quality.
There are lots of free MP3 players around, including Winamp and Windows Media Player. You can find more at

15. What is SHN?

SHN is a relatively new type of file that is gaining popularity. Like MP3, it is a compressed audio file, but there are several key differences. First, it is "lossless". This means that SHN files contain all of the audio information contained in the original WAV, whereas MP3 is considered "lossy", because some data is removed to save space. The result is better sound quality, but also a much larger file. The primary purpose of SHN is to allow you to decompress the file to a WAV, then burn it to a CDR. Because of the lossless compression and decompression attributes, the resulting CDR's are better quality than those sourced from MP3.
If you are using a dialup Internet connection, or if hard drive space is an issue, SHN may not be right for you. As more of us connect at higher speeds, and CD burners become more prevalent, SHN may one day overtake MP3 as the preferred compressed audio format.

16. What software do I need to create, convert, or listen to SHN files?

To listen to SHN files with Winamp, check out SHNAMP (cache).
To create SHN files from WAV's, or decompress SHN's back to WAV format for burning to CDR, download the MKW Audio Compression Tool (cache). Both links contain instructions for using these programs.

17. What are FLAC files?

FLAC stands for Free Lossless Audio Codec. It's another lossless audio file format. You can play them in most music players with a plug in for FLAC files, or convert them into another file type first. (cache)

18. What is .rar and how can I open it?

Rar is a way to archive, compress and decompress files. The software to use for .rar files is winrar.

19. I tried to download a file, but a section is missing. What should I do?

Usually it's your own provider's server that has the files incomplete or corrupt. If PAR files are posted, use those to repair the files.
Occasionally, errors occur while posting files. It is not uncommon for an Internet Provider's news server to miss a section of a file. All you have to do is request a repost of the file. Post the request to the group and copy the author via e-mail. In the subject field, type "Please Repost: Filename".
How do you know if a file is incomplete? If you use a good newsreader like Agent or Free Agent, you will see an error message that will tell you that all the sections are not available. Otherwise, you will have to count the sections to see if they are all there. If a file has 12 sections, each section will say (01/12),(02/12),(03/12), etc…(12/12). If one of the 12 sections is missing, the file is incomplete, and whatever material is posted will be unusable. Request a repost, and the author should post the file again.

20. My Internet Service Provider doesn't carry alt.binaries.pearl-jam. What should I do?

Just send a quick e-mail to your Internet Service Provider and request that they carry it. Most ISPs will add a group if just one user requests it. If they delay or give you the runaround, be persistent. Call them and threaten to cancel. This probably will never be necessary, but it is a good tactic just in case. We would be interested in information about ISPs that refuse to carry the group, and would be happy to contact them and follow through on the request for you. Simply post the details of your request and the response you received. We would also be glad to recommend an ISP that carries the group. We are here to help you enjoy the group any way I can; you can always post to the newsgroup and ask for assistance.
Some providers don't carry binaries newsgroups at all. In that case you might think about another provider, or get a pay server for the binaries.


21. Can I post copyrighted material?

This is a touchy subject, and possibly a confusing one since the release of the official bootlegs. It is a violation of our charter to post any material from PJ's studio albums or official video/DVD releases. If you were to post any such material, you would be flamed mercilessly by the regulars and reported to your ISP. This is probably something that is unique to Pearl Jam fans: we may seem to be more protective of the band's interests, and we may seem less tolerant of people who reproduce and/or sell PJ material for profit, than fans of other bands. And yet, amazingly, you will notice that the official bootlegs are traded freely in ABP-J without complaint from anyone. The reason for this is simple. The bootlegs were not meant to be a profit-making venture; they are intended to combat the high-priced illegal bootlegs that surface after every tour. They are bargain-priced, and the band has directly stated that it is okay to copy and trade them:

Q: How does the band feel about this: Will it be ok for us to copy and trade the official bootleg CDs with other fans after we buy them like we did when trading our own tapes?
A: Don't Care.

Source: Pearl Jam Rumor Pit # 42 (cache). July 17, 2000.

An argument can be made that by posting these shows to the newsgroup, we are allowing some folks to "leech" off of us without bothering to buy any bootlegs themselves, and this could possibly hurt the band's interests. We answer this argument as follows: look at all the illegal MP3's that are available on other newsgroups, on FTP sites, and thru torrent sites or p2p. Anyone who is determined to leech will find it quite easy to do so. The majority of the regulars on ABP-J are good-intentioned traders who have attended lots of shows and bought lots of bootlegs. We support the band in many ways, and we just want to complete our collections without having to pay hundreds of dollars (or euros or pesos or whatever currency wink). We cannot stop people from ripping off the band, we can only lead by example.

You may disagree with our permissive policy regarding the official bootlegs, and you are free to express your views by posting them to We are firm believers in letting the rest of the fan community set the tone on such issues, and we encourage you to air your opinion and see what others have to say. However, as long as the band holds the view quoted above, our policy will stand.

22. The Internet is total chaos, right? So I can use lots of foul language, make racist statements and tell everyone about my sexual habits, right?

No, to do so would violate the FAQ, and thus also violate your Internet Service Provider's rules regarding inappropriate Usenet posts. Newsgroup disruption will be reported to the offender’s ISP. Unfortunately, some people seem to especially enjoy using the Internet to wreak havoc and provoke peoples’ anger. These people are called "trolls", and they are everywhere. This has been the case for as long as Internet exists, and it shows no signs of changing. The best thing to do when you see an inappropriate post is just ignore it, or if you really feel the need to get even, report it to the offender’s ISP. Responding to such posts is a violation of the FAQ, and will only give the troll the satisfaction of rousing your anger, thus encouraging the troll to continue his or her inappropriate behavior. This newsgroup is meant to be a friendly and cooperative place for Pearl Jam fans to trade binary files. We don’t care about anyone’s social or political points of view, at least not in this forum. Please take such issues elsewhere. There are many thousands of newsgroups in existence; any issues you care to discuss are bound to be on-topic in one of them.

23. I created this really cool PJ Web page. Can I post a short message, just to tell everyone the URL?

Here's another touchy subject. Some folks seem to think that if they have any item of PJ interest to share with us, they can spam the newsgroup. Sometimes it's the URL of their Web site, other times it's a B & P deal, or an item for auction on Ebay. We've been lenient with these, because no one wants to rat on a fellow PJ fan. However, the group has been growing in popularity and we are now cluttered with these messages.

Please use your best judgment. If you are a regular subscriber to the group, and you happen to mention your website now and then, no one should have a problem with that. What we do have a problem with is SPAM.

What is Spam? Let us be very specific. For the purposes of enforcing our charter, Spam must meet the following criteria:

Spam is any message that is intended to sell a product, refer people to a Web site, or attract interest in some activity, such as a B & P deal, mailing list, social cause, etc. This is the only purpose of the message. It does not matter if the subject is Pearl Jam or not. In general, the message does not originate from an ABP-J regular, and the message is unrelated to ABP-J activities. More likely, the message comes from someone who sees the group as a place to reach a target audience. Often, but not always, the message is posted more than once. We reserve the right to report the first instance to the offender's ISP.

Please do not spam our newsgroup. Thanks!

24. Who are you, anyway? Do you monitor everyone's posts and squeal on them when they break your rules? Why should anyone listen to you?

The rules presented in this FAQ are pretty standard fare for binary groups, and they exist for one reason: to make the group easy and enjoyable for everyone who subscribes. Every rule presented here has a purpose. Spam and off-topic posts are distracting and disruptive to the group, and cannot be tolerated.

This newsgroup is unmoderated, but the regulars do monitor what goes on and some actively report spam. If you are a Pearl Jam fan who enters the group, and you make an honest mistake once or twice, someone will probably refer you to this FAQ page, or give you some other appropriate advice. If your "mistakes" continue, or seem malicious in nature, and the group is disrupted as a result of your activities, you can expect a warning from your ISP.

25. What was the alt.binaries.pearl-jam Hall of Fame?

The Hall of Fame was a special page to recognize those people who have posted new material to the group. There were the following criteria for induction into the Hall:

1. A new, complete MP3 concert that has not been previously available.
2. A better quality copy of a concert already in circulation.
3. Any new video files not previously available, or any higher quality videos than those currently in circulation.
4. Original photos taken at concerts, or any other original Pearl Jam related photo.
5. Helping with reposts, helping newbies with technical advice, organizing posting schedules, etc.

Even though the HOF does no longer exist, we hope the criteria still provide an incentive for more people to participate, and hopefully this will expose some material we haven't previously seen. The newsgroup allows us the unique opportunity to make huge volumes of material available to the masses for free, and with little technical expertise. During the 1998 and 2000 tours, many shows were posted to ABP-J before they were available anywhere else online. This was a tribute to our awesome community of regulars, who are still there and continue to contribute and make this newsgroup what it is.

26. Links (cache) everything about binaries newsgroups in English and Dutch (cache) Seek my Part about usenet, in German FAQ (cache) (not updated in a while)


Created by Mirella. Last Modification: Sunday 26 of February, 2006 21:23:38 GMT by Mirella.


MireilleBouquet, 22:53 BST, Thu 15 of Apr, 2010: It works *__* Thank you so much! :-)
System Administrator, 08:50 BST, Thu 15 of Apr, 2010: Hi Mireille. :-) The site had an 'upgrade problem' which is now fixed. Edit buttons and userpages should be working again. Please let me know if they aren't!
MireilleBouquet, 00:01 BST, Tue 13 of Apr, 2010: Hi, new here. Just registered, but I can't see anything like an edit button mentioned below or create a userpage :-(
amus, 09:41 GMT, Wed 13 of Jan, 2010: i need tickets for: england, holland, germany, and france i m from indonesia, ill be touring europe for pearl jam this year.
System Administrator, 22:56 GMT, Sun 10 of Jan, 2010: Hans has the same problem. Seems to be a permissions problem which I'm still looking for. :/

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