This site was created to be a reference for the concert history of the band AC/DC. In the times since, it has grown to include monthly bootleg downloads, a forum, and an information site about trading among other things. This site is not officially tied to AC/DC in any way; it was simply put together and is maintained by a fan.
The information presented on the pages of this site is intended to be shared. There is no cost for using this information or becoming a member of this site; we do ask that you post a link back to this website wherever the information is used. This includes and information taken from the pages of this site directly, or information posted on trade lists, member pages, or in the forum. This is requested simply to increase everyone's knowledge of the band, and to recruit new fans so we all may enjoy the music.
Since I built this site in hopes of increasing my number of bootlegs as well as everyone else's collection, I wanted to post some thoughts and practices I use when it comes to trading bootlegs. If it's not your thing, don't worry about reading it. If it is, I hope it all makes sense. Either way, in the end I'm hoping it'll help a few of you out when it comes to taking care of your bootlegs.
How to Get Started
I've been collecting AC/DC bootlegs for a number of years now, but only heavily since Fall of 2002. I bought my first 'official' bootleg in about 1999. I saw an add online for 'Ride on Bon' on cd which featured some older live stuff I had never heard before. Until then I had been a big fan, but only had their official albums. When I got it, I was a bit disappointed due to the quality of most of the recordings, but still thought it was pretty cool.
A few years passed, then I got in contact with someone through one of the Yahoo! Groups that was offering to send some shows to people that sent in some blank cdr's and the cost of postage (b&p). I think I got 4-5 shows that way, most of which were from the mid '80s. Once I got those, I was hooked, but didn't know how to get more. About that time, I started a job where I was able to be online most of the day, so I started doing some searching when I had free time. I came across a program called Direct Connect. It was a file sharing program that allowed people to connect in a central place (a hub) and share files. I was very new to everything at the time, but made some very good contacts with guys that had a ton of shows. They also turned me toward a few FTP servers that a few indivuals had running at the time. An FTP server is an online computer that you can sign into and see the files that have been uploaded to a certain directory. Most of these were ratio servers, so that ment that if you uploaded 10 meg, you could generally download 20 meg. So I uploaded the few shows I had and was able to get a few more shows I didn't. Between those 2 spots, I was able to get a decent collection of shows. Direct Connect then evolved into DC++, which is in use today for Superbayman's hub. From that hub alone, I was able to get probably 100 shows or more. I got enough to have my boss tell me to stop doing it because it used up a lot of the companies resources when it came to the network and internet connection. That slowed me down, but by then I had a good base of shows to start with.
After that, I found a few people to trade shows with via instant messenger. I found that ICQ and AIM were the best since they allowed file resumes. MSN also works well, as most people have that and it's easy to use.
All of that happened in about a year. From the first time I got on the FTP sites, the hub, and trading online, I was able to get almost 200 shows. With that, I was able to start trading via mail for more rare shows that weren't widely available. The rest is history. At the moment, I'm trading with 4-5 people regularly. I've been lucky and never come across a bad trader that didn't hold up their end of the deal. A few have been very slow, but in the end they came through.
There are many different media types that you can find bootlegs in. In these days, the most common type is probably mp3 or shn/wav/flac files. In the old days, most bootlegs were first on cassette or LP. As technology advanced, new types came into play that made it much easier to copy and even inprove the quality. In the end, I feel hard copy is the best way to go. At the moment, I'm more interested in dvd's and audio cdr's than mpg's and mp3's simply because they tend to hold better quality, depending on the sources.
They physical types of the media you trade with can also be a big deal. Most times, when you find cdr's, dvdr's or even cassettes for cheap, the quality isn't worth what you're buying. By no means go out and spend $20 for a single cdr, but be smart when you buy your blanks. I try and stick with bigger brand names (Memorex, Verbatim) mostly because they tend to have better quality and will last longer into the future. Some traders require only quality discs, so that's also something else to think about.
Lossless vs. Lossy
I'm no expert on lossless vs. lossy files, so I'll post a short paragraph on my thoughts & beliefs, and will post a link to a better explanation when I find one.
As far as I know, mp3's are considered a lossy file format. Shn, flac, wav, ape and others are lossless. The main advantage of lossy files is that they take up less space on your hard drive. The main disadvantage is that they strip off certain audio frequencies to do it, so it's not a 'true' copy of an original bootleg. While the amount of quality lost is minimal, over time it could become noticeable. That's about all I know about the subject. As far as I'm concerned, if it's a show I don't have, I don't care what format it's in, I want it. But to each their own, so I don't pass up the opportunity to get a new show in a lossless format. Check back, and I'll eventually get that link posted to more in-depth information.
Finding Someone to Trade With
One of the main problems to getting started is actually finding someone to trade with. One of my goals of putting this site together was to bring traders together. It's hard enough just to find people that are looking for shows you have, so in this section and on the 'Links' page I will post links to trade lists. If you'd like your trade list posted here and on the 'Links' page, please click here and be sure to include your username, email address, and website address where your list is located.
I've also had luck posting ads on Electric Shock and Rising Power's classifieds section, although not very much. I'd suggest posting a message in our Forum. There's bound to be some Riff Raff out there wanting to trade, and it's as good of a place as any. :D
Keeping Things in Order
I got through a huge amount of trouble to keep my bootlegs in order. Between digital copies (mp3's, shn's, wav's, mpg's, etc.) and hard copies (cdr's, dvd's, vcd's, vhs tapes and even cassettes), I learned the hard way about how to keep things in order.
When I started, I tried keeping them in order by year and location. That quickly brought on problems since they obviously played most venues more than once per year. Then I tried going by month abbreviation, day and year (ie Apr 12, 2001). But that didn't keep them in chronological order (Apr 12, 2001 was listed before Sep 14, 2000). So after renaming all of my folders twice, I sat back and tried to think of a good way to keep things in chronological order so I can find them easily. What I came up with was the following format:
YYYY-MM-DD - Venue, City, State, Country - [Bootleg Name]
So an example of this would be:
2000-09-14 - Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas, NV, USA - 
This format kept them in order on my hard drive (the 0 is needed in 09 to keep them in order) as well made it fairly easy to find a certain date quickly. I leave the  empty if there is no title to this recording of the show.
If it is a compilation bootleg, meaning it is a collection of songs from different shows, I find the year of the first recording on the bootleg as well as the year of the last recording, use that for the date, and simply skip over the location since it is from more than one venue:
1976-1979 - [Bon Scott Forever II]
This format has helped me keep things in order and easy to find since 2004. The only addition I've made is putting the file/media type after the bootleg title:
1985-01-19 - Rockdrome, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - [Rock in Rio] - [DVD]
This helps me find certain formats of bootlegs from certain shows. It may seem like a pain in the ass (or very obsessive-compulsive), but it works for me. I carry this format over to the end labels on my dvd cases also. While I keep my hard copy cdr's in a large cd wallet (ok, 2 large cd wallets), I keep my dvd's in slim line cd cases to keep them seperate. This is really helpful because all I see in my dvd case are the spines of the case. This makes it very easy to keep them in order and find them quickly just by glancing at them.
I also print off disc labels for every hard copy bootleg I get. Rather than try and re-create the original artwork for every individual disc, I stick to a simple standard template for every disc. On the disc itself, I include the AC/DC logo and disc number (if there are more than one disc) above the center hole, and the bootleg title, venue, city-state-zip, and date below. This helps me because everything is in the same spot so it's easy to find what you're looking for.
I know that seems pretty anal and is a big pain in the ass to do it, but it's the only reason I can get through trades quickly and efficiently. If I had to search for shows using one of my old sorting ways, I'd never be able to find anything. But, this is just my opinion; do what you like.
One of the hard parts of collecting bootlegs is making sure they're actually from the date they're labelled as. The most simple way to narrow them down is to look at the track list. Based on that alone, you can generally figure out which tour it's from. Past that, you'll need to listen to the show itself and listen for city's names or different comments made by Brian or Bon. It also pays to ask questions. If you have a bootleg you're unsure of it's origin, make a post on one of the newsgroups or forums and chances are someone has it and can help you out if you can name a specific song or phrase to listen to. It may not work every time, but it sure can't hurt to ask. But in the end, sometimes you have to just trust the person you're getting it from. I try and keep notes on certain phrases from my bootlegs to give some kind of reference, so hopefully it'll pay off for someone.
Keeping Track of Your Trades
Keeping track of multiple trades can be tricky. Before you know it, you can have 5 open trades, be getting 3 shows you already have and be getting the same show from 2 different people at the same time. I had a hard time keeping things in order to start with. I started using small text files to keep things in order. These files held the trader I was trading with, his/her mailing address, what they were getting from me, what I was getting from them, and any other notes/updates that might be needed.
This was fine at first, but the main problem I found was that they were stuck on a single computer. Because of that, I had a hard time remembering what to copy and who to send it to when I wasnt on a certain computer. So I figured I'd build a tool to do what the text files do, but have it online so I can get to it from home or work or where ever the hell I'm at.
I call it TradeTracker. It started out with an address book of traders to hold their mailing addresses, email address, trade list address, etc. I then added on a way to create new trades, add individual bootlegs to trades, view the status of different trades easily, and also view a list of different bootlegs you have coming in. It's still in the early version of programming, but it will streamline the process of keeping track of which trade gets what shows, what address to send them to, and avoiding getting duplicate shows. This will be available to the Riff Raff now, and will continue to grow and evolve as I create more functionality. Just like the rest of this site, I'm putting a lot of effort into this tool to make sure it works well and does it's job. It will be available to the public eventually.
I'll stop babbling now. If you've made it this far, thanks for taking the time to read what I just spewed out of my brain. Hopefully it will help you out when it comes to bootlegs, trading and the other stuff that comes with it. My last bit of advice for trading: BE HONEST.