How To Get Started

First, the mp3 scoop:

The best place to try is relatively new, but seems to be gaining lots of momentum
in R.E.M. trading circles. Ethan Kaplan's has a large forum dedicated
to talking about, and trading bootlegs. There are instructions there about how
to connect to a number of various sites that allow you to trade R.E.M. mp3 files.
To find the forum, select "community" from the first drop down menu on the top of
the page, and then look for the section called "music". Under the "music" heading,
there will be a link for the "Give It Away" bootleg trading forum.

There will be info on how to connect to a Napster-like server with a program called
WinMX. There are also instructions on connecting to Hotline and FTP sites.

But what if you wanna start a bootleg or "collectible" collection?

You say you have nothing to offer anyone in a trade?

It always seems like a catch-22. You can't get anything new because
you don't have anything to trade. And you don't have anything to trade
because no one will send you anything.

Well, everyone had to start somewhere. There are a couple of ways to
start a collection.

First of all, don't just e-mail somebody with a big list and expect that
they will want to trade with you. A trade means that you have something
to offer that will make it worth the other person's time to send you
something in return. Depending on who it is, they might want more than what
you can give at that moment.

If you want to trade for tangible items like tapes, or CD-R's, the best way to
start is to log onto the internet, and look through two different places:

The usenet newsgroup called "" is one of them. You can also go to the
above mentioned "Give It Away" forum at See if anyone is
offering trades. If so, e-mail them and ask if they will do a 2 blank for 1 tape
trade. You have no music to offer them, so you can make it worth their time by
sending them an extra tape to keep for their efforts.

Do you have a job that allows you free access to something of value? Don't be
afraid to offer something other than music to get a trade going.
(I once traded a couple of bootlegs for a golf club.)

Keep one thing in mind though. Trading is one thing, offering money is another.
I will not sell any bootlegs to anyone. Most other traders I've run into won't
do it either. The fastest way to get nailed by the man is to be caught making a
profit on this kind of thing.

If you have a hard time finding traders this way, post your own message to the.
forums or news group. Tell everyone that you are looking to start a collection, and
that you will do a 2 blank for 1 tape trade. More often than not, you will get more
than enough responses to get the ball rolling. Get as many trades going as you
can. Even if you do not really want a particular show that bad, it is a
good idea to get it because you may be able to offer it as a trade to
someone else later.

The old fashioned way to start a collection is to go to a travelling record show,
or a local record store that sells hard to find items. The record shows will
usually have people selling original vinyl and CD "official" release stuff,
as well as the vinyl and cd versions of the many bootlegs floating around
these days. Don't buy a lot of bootlegs at a record show, because they tend
to be very expensive. Sometimes you may even find someone selling cassette
tape copies of bootlegs or a live show that an audience member recorded.
You should always ask to listen to some of it first, and any trustworthy
vendor should have a walkman with them for you to use.

There is a magazine available at most large newsstands and record stores
called "Goldmine". It always has a list of upcoming record shows across
the united states. It looks like a large magazine in newsprint.

(Goldmine also has lists of traders, and record vendors that might sell what
you are looking for.)

But if you do find a couple of items to buy, bring them home, get back on
the internet, and offer to trade them for even more stuff.

Another new way to find stuff is to get on the web and look through one of the
auction sites that has been springing up lately. One such site that occasionally
has R.E.M. boots for sale is Just do a search under "REM" and
see what comes up.

After you get a few things, it gets easier to make trades with more and more
people who might want a copy of your stuff. If you keep at it, this will
eventually snowball to the point where you have just about everything you
could ever want.

Good luck!


1998 Jason Zimberoff,, updated 12/04/99