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[1.0] What is an "MP3"?MP3 is another name for a layer-3 mpeg.  It is a sound compression format that can create near CD-quality sound files while maintaining a small file size.  For more technical information on the MP3 format see [9.2]


[1.1] What newsgroups does this FAQ apply to?This FAQ covers the entire alt.binaries.sounds.mp3 hierarchy and includes, but is not restricted to, the following:

alt.binaries.sounds.mp3 - The Binary posting group (also known as the "main" group).  This group is for the posting of binary sound files that are in the MP3 format.  This group is NOT for the posting of text, requests, or ftp site announcements. The exceptions are: postings of this document, FAQ tips, zero-files (a.k.a. (0/x)), and brief follow-ups as needed to alert posters to problems or to urge them towards  these guidelines.  Other non-musical exceptions are cover art/insert scans, and .nfo files. Players, encoders, and other sound utilities should be posted in the appropriate group: alt.binaries.sounds.utilities.

alt.binaries.sounds.mp3.d - This is the discussion group for the a.b.s.mp3 hierarchy.  This is one of two non-binary groups of the hierarchy.  Binaries are strictly forbidden in this group.  DO NOT post any binaries in the "d" (discussion) group.  This group is for the discussion of MP3s, MP3 technology and other MP3 related topics.

alt.binaries.sounds.mp3.requests - This is the request group of the hierarchy.  It is *not* a binaries group and mp3 files should not be posted there. This group is intended to contain only requests and request follow-ups alerting the requestor that their request has been filled.

alt.binaries.sounds.mp3.19xxs - Also known as the decade groups.  These are groups that are similar to the main group (a.b.s.mp3) but are ONLY for the posting of sounds from a specific decade as indicated by the group name.  The same exceptions for posting of non-binaries apply to decades that apply to main. The groups are:


alt.binaries.sounds.mp3.<music-type> - The "genre" groups.  These are groups that have been created to contain a specific type of MP3 posting.  You may or may not have access to these groups, but some are being used more and more so they deserve comment here.  The names of the groups should be pretty self-explanatory.


NOTES: For songs that were recorded before 1950 there exists a group called alt.binaries.sounds.78rpm-era  It is "for the posting of binary files from the beginning of recorded sound to the end of the age of 78 records in the late fifties."  Appropriate MP3s are welcome there.  

Although the group is *not* part of the alt.binaries.sounds.mp3 hierarchy, and therefore not bound by its FAQ or Charter, it is available on a number of news servers and deserves a mention here.

While there *is* a country group available in the a.b.s.m* hierarchy, at the time of this writing it is not as active or readily available as the group is.  

There are also a large number of other alt.binaries.sounds.mp3.* groups that may or not be available to your on your news server/ISP.


[1.2] Dividing the groups into genres would be a good idea. How come there aren't groups like a.b.s.m.funk, or a.b.s.m.rock-and-roll?There *are* groups like those. In fact, not only is there a.b.s.m.rock, but there's also a.b.s.m.rock.full-album, a.b.s.m.alternative-rock, a.b.s.m.classic-rock, a.b.s.m.heavy-metal and even a.b.s.m.metal.full-albums.

It seems like every week there is a request that a new MP3 binary group be created for a specific genre of music that would be posted there.

There are a couple of reasons why this *isn't* the great idea that it may appear to be. But despite those reasons and attempts to discourage new mp3 groups, there has been rampant mp3 newsgroup creation.

FALLACY : "If you build it, they will come"

Just because you decide a new mp3 group is needed does NOT mean that anybody will ever use the group. If it is poorly thought out, poorly executed, or redundant, the odds of your group succeeding are slim at best.

There are currently more than SEVENTY-SEVEN groups in the alt.binaries.sounds.mp3.* hierarchy, and over ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY FOUR mp3 groups on all of Usenet. How many of them do you have access to? How many of them are used for MP3s at all?

A big problem with a number of the 'genre' groups is that they are duplicates of already existing groups. Where should you post Dangerous Toys entire album of Hellacious Acres? Does it go in a.b.s.m.complete_cd, a.b.s.m.complete-cd, a.b.s.m.full_alblum, alt.binaries.sounds.mp3.rock.full-album or a.b.s.m.metal.full-albums? And doesn't it also belong in a.b.s.mp3, a.b.s.m.1980s, a.b.s.m.1980s;, a.b.s.m.heavy-metal, a.b.s.m.rock, and a.b.s.m.rock.full-album? That's ELEVEN groups where those mp3s would be on-topic.

Another major problem is that 'genres' of music are subjective and people legitimately disagree on what genre any given song would fall into. One person insists that Vanilla Ice - Ice Ice Baby.mp3 should go in the R & B group while another insists it should go in RAP.

How do you determine the difference between "metal" and "hard rock"? Take a look at Winamp's ID3-Tag genre list, it's a great example of a lot of different ways to describe the same music. One person's "Booty Bass" is another person's "House" is another person's "Hip Hop."

Also, would your new group even get used? There are thousands of binary groups, and a large number of those are nothing more than spam traps. A lot of them aren't even carried by most ISPs. The decade groups (the ones that are even used at all) are *still* unavailable on some news servers. Right now a.b.s.mp3 is the largest newsgroup by volume. Do you think that many news admins want to add *another* MP3 binary group?

The list below is a sample of mp3 groups that already exist, but many are hardly used and most are not widely propagated.  This does not mean that your server does not carry them, only that many servers do not.


Most of these groups all have very low mp3 traffic and some may not have *ever* had any mp3s posted to them at all. And even if you subscribe to a standalone news server that *does* carry these groups, posting to most of them is pointless because they are carried by so few servers.

You should also keep in mind that there are many forms of audio compression currently available that are similar to MP3. If you create an exclusively MP3-based group, then posts of MP4s, AAC, VQF or RA files are off-topic. Getting more and more specific with newsgroup creation is not always a good idea.

All in all, while creating the new group of your choice (so you don't have to search through the main group to find something that *you* like) may seem like a good idea, the odds of it truly being successful on it's own are probably pretty small. In fact, it's likely that it already has been created and just isn't widely propagated or used.


[1.3] How can I create a new a.b.s.mp3.* newsgroup?Before you decide to just go ahead and create your group du-jour, you should see if a group already exists that covers what you're looking for.  It's very likely that a group already exists that meets your 'needs' and mp3 might not even be in the group's name.

For example, there was no need to create an MP3-specific classical group.  The newsgroup is a group that already exists and is properly used for MP3 posting.  Another example is alt.binaries.sounds.78rpm-era; it is a group that carries binary sound files of all formats from the beginning of recorded sound to the end of the age of 78 records in the late fifties.

If you are unaware of such a group that would fit your needs and cannot locate one, ask in alt.binaries.sounds.mp3.d for some help.

If you *insist* on creating a new newsgroup, please go about it in the correct manner.

There is a proper way to create an alt.* newsgroup and have it be successful, i.e., be accepted as a valid newsgroup by ISPs and news servers.  What you DON'T want to do is to just go create the new group because *you* think it's needed.

If you really feel that there is a need for an additional a.b.s.m.* newsgroup, mention it in alt.binaries.sounds.mp3.d for discussion and PLEASE read the appropriate FAQs.  THEN when you take your suggestion to alt.config LISTEN TO WHAT PEOPLE THERE HAVE TO SAY.

Just because people may disagree with your new group suggestion does NOT make those people wrong.  You may or may not get a lot of suggestions from the followers of alt.config as to the creation of your new group, but you should not dismiss those suggestions out of hand.   The people who follow alt.config probably know much more than you do about the creation of new alt.* newsgroups.


[1.4] What are these groups all about?They are about the posting of high quality MP3-compressed sound files.  If you post here, please keep that in mind.


[1.5] What about the other MP3 groups that I see? Does this FAQ apply to them too?There are a number of MP3 groups, some of which are unused (except for spam-posting).  The above mentioned groups are the primary groups that this FAQ deals with.  This does not mean that the information within this FAQ is not relevant and applicable to other groups, only that it is not this FAQ's intent.  This FAQ has been voted on and applies to all groups in the alt.binaries.sounds.mp3.* hierarchy.
[1.6] Anything else I should know about this FAQ before I continue on?There are many software applications and utilities involved in the playing, encoding, decoding, posting, and retrieving of MP3s.  This FAQ is not meant to be a primer for the use of your particular software.  If it was to take into account every piece of popular software and its inner-workings or tricks, this FAQ would rapidly become bloated and unreadable.  So, for the most part, this FAQ does not deal with specific software issues.  The exceptions are those that either relate to "frequently asked questions" in the discussion group, or other helpful tips that might not be readily found elsewhere.  Look in the Specific Software Sub-FAQs (S.S.Ss) accommodate software issues that relate to the a.b.s.mp3 hierarchy or in the Tips Section for some detailed discussions of commonly-asked questions not covered in the FAQ proper.

With all newsgroups it is a common and recommended practice to "lurk."  This means that you follow the newsgroup, watching and learning, before you begin posting.  Posting is NOT required.  There is no "ratio" or required "trading" in the a.b.s.mp3 newsgroups.  Leeching is completely acceptable.  

This FAQ is intended as general guidance for the entire hierarchy.  Some newsgroups in the alt.binaries.sounds.mp3 hierarchy have charters that are of particular interest for those who use those newsgroups.  You may want to check them out at (be patient - there are a lot of charters there, and the page takes a while to load).  When in doubt, follow the guidance in the group's charter. 

If you are new to Usenet, or to binary newsgroups in particular, there are a number of basic FAQs that may help you: <== a MUST read. Basics of Usenet and binary newsgroups.  Take a look. The Definitive Answer to Downloading and Viewing alt.binaries <== If you have questions about how to get the MP3 files from the newsgroup down to your personal computer, look here for help. A Primer on How to Work With the Usenet Community What is Usenet?