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Posting MP3’s



On this page:

Genre Groups Crossposting Subject Headers Zero 0/x File Alert Requestor
Lines per Segment Follow-ups Power Post Canceling Cancel ONLY your own stuff
Posting Cap Filling Requests Reposts Cover Scans Zip, Rar, etc.
Other formats Non-MP3 Binaries Utilities Test Groups PAR2 files



A quick reference to posting is the best way to begin this discussion.  The rest of this page is long and detailed because it needs to be.  Please read it all.

  • Make good use of your  0/x file and include all pertinent info.
  • Use meaningful subject headers that are not too long.  Avoid using more than 80 characters!
  • Test post in test groups.  Test again after every reinstall.
  • Post from 472500 to 315000 bytes per segment (7500 to 5000 lines uuencoded/segment) for best propagation.
  • Crosspost into the appropriate decade and genre group.
  • Alert the requestor if you are responding to a request.
  • Wait a while before reposting.
  • Cancel your "oops" if you do mess up.
  • Cover scans are cool, but a  Zip or Rar  rarely is, and other non-MP3 binaries are off-topic.



[4.0] Where should I post my MP3s?You should post your MP3s to the main MP3 binary group (alt.binaries.sounds.mp3) with a crosspost to the appropriate "decade" group and to the appropriate "genre" group.

Web sites like have search engines that can help you determine the year when the song was originally recorded. 

NOTE: If you don't know when the song was recorded and you can't/don't want to find out, you should err on the side of caution and avoid posting it in any of the decade groups. Please DO NOT post your MP3 into any random decade; a song recorded in 1994 is off-topic in the 1970's newsgroup.

Also note that you should post into the decade that the song was originally released.  If the song originally came out in the 1970s, but was re-released (unaltered by the original artist) in 1998, the 1970s decade group is the place to post.  If you are posting compilations or "best of" albums that span decades, don't crosspost to a  decade group.  Stick with the main group and the appropriate genre group.

Also, the "genre" groups are by far the least propagated groups.  If you crosspost to them, you allow some people to more easily find songs from a particular group or genre, but if you chose to ONLY post to those groups*without* crossposting to the main and decade groups, you are not reaching the maximum possible downloaders.

Please post ALL MP3s to the main group.  


[4.1] What are the "decade" groups?The decade groups are:



[4.2] What about the "other" decade groups?There were some groups created with an improper hierarchy format.  They don't exist on many servers and, even where they do exist, they get much less MP3 traffic.


[4.3] What are the "genre" groups?Some of the genre groups are, but are not limited to:


There are currently more than 100 groups in the a.b.s.m.* hierarchy and more are created all the time.  Many of the groups are unavailable on many ISPs.  For more information on the genre groups, see Section [1]


[4.4] Why should I crosspost the files?  Doesn't that eat up bandwidth and disk space?No, crossposting does not eat up bandwidth or disk space.  Crossposting DOES NOT mean making your post TWICE.  It means that you include both newsgroups in the "Newsgroups:" header of your post.  Each news server will only carry one copy of your post, but it will provide two separate "pointers" to that file.


[4.5] HOW do I crosspost?When crossposting the format is:,

There is NO space between the group names and the comma.  There are some news servers that won't accept a crosspost if you include spaces.  It is not a good idea to crosspost to more than 4 groups. Your post may be cancelled by a spam 'bot.


[4.6] My news server doesn't carry certain groups, so I can't crosspost to them.  Can I?You probably can.  When you crosspost, the information in your "newsgroups" header propagates to the other servers along with your post.  As long as your server carries at least ONE of the groups listed in the header, and you make that valid group the first in your newsgroups listing, it should accept your post and propagate it (and all of the header information) on to other servers.  If other servers carry those groups, then pointers to your post will appear in all the specified newsgroups.


[4.7] People read both the main group AND the decade groups.  Is there a way to avoid seeing the same posts twice?If you're using Agent , this can be solved by going to Group | Default Properties | Crossposts and checking the box that says, "Enable Crosspost Checking"

Now when you pull headers in all six groups, you will see only one occurrence of each message.


[4.8] Don't some ISPs cancel your message if it's crossposted?Certain ISPs may have filters set up to disregard messages crossposted to five or more groups.  However, crossposting is a generally acceptable activity if it is warranted, and in this case it is only to 2 or 3 groups.  ISPs have typically accepted posts made to no more than three groups.


[4.9] What should I put in the subject header of my post? You should put the artist (or author) name, the album name (or book title) and the file name.

Many versions of popular posting utilities construct a good subject header for you by default. See the Utilities page for links to posting software.

Options: Encoder, Bitrate, genre, yEnc (if it is a yEnc post)

Things to avoid: Avoid adding brackets, particularly with numbers in them. Avoid adding punctuation or odd characters. All may cause problems for some downloaders.

Avoid adding announcements or requests to subject lines, post them seperately or in your .nfo file.

Avoid adding your nym to the subject line, it will post in the "from" field.

Avoid beginning with <Attn: (requester)>. If you are filling a request or posting for a particular person, respond directly to their request with a heads up and info about what, where and when you are posting.

Avoid starting the subject line with something like the track number, "Attn:", "yEnc" or other words that will cause your post to mix in with other posts when sorted by various readers.

However you choose to construct the subject line, please try to keep it brief. One of the most widely used news readers has problems with lines longer than 80 chars, keeping it below that will be helpful for many users. Scan through the groups and see how they sort, using odd characters or beginning the subject with anything aside from something specific to the post (author or artist for instance) makes many readers sort in a confused manner.

Most importantly of all, no matter how you decide to construct your subject line, post a file to the test group (alt.binaries.test) first and make sure it is going to go up the way you envisioned.

[4.10] What about the zero-file (0/x)?A zero-file is a simple text entry in the body of your post to which the binary then gets attached.  Most newsreaders will create it if you simply compose a text post and then include the binary as an attachment.  The zero-file will then be part zero of the total number of parts and the first part of the binary will be part one, etc.  The zero-file should contain ANY and ALL pertinent information about the post.  You should include information about how the files were created, what software was used, what album the song was taken from and possibly a full track listing (if it's a full CD rip.)   You might also want to mention other files you could post and any requests that you might have.  In the zero-file, the more information you give, the better.

If you're using Outlook Express, see the Outlook Express Sub-FAQ for more information.  If your newsreader does not automatically create a zero-file, see your software's help file.

A common practice in other hierarchies that is often used in the absm.* hierarchy is to include an .nfo file to describe the post rather than or in addition to a zero- file.  An .nfo file is just a .txt file that has been given an .nfo extension to denote that it contains iNFOrmation about the posting.  Open an .nfo file with any text editor.  If you use Windows and know how, you can associate the .nfo extension with your favorite editor. At least one newsreader makes it hard for you to read the 0/x file, so those who use it would prefer .nfo. Some servers are configured to strip .txt files out of binary groups, so making the extension .nfo is a good idea.


[4.11] When I'm filling requests I found in the .requests group, how should I alert the requestor?PLEASE post a follow-up to the request WITHOUT changing the Subject header.  If you add anything to the Subject header like "I'm posting your song NOW", your follow-up post won't necessarily be seen by the requestor because the subject change will start a new thread, not just show up as a follow-up to the requestor's original thread.  The a.b.s.m.requests group gets even more posts than the discussion group, so it's very easy to overlook a single post in there.

By posting a follow-up post informing the requestor that you are filling their request, you not only let that person know that they should keep an eye out for the post, but you also let OTHER people know that they shouldn't bother trying to fill the request themselves.

So when you're filling a request, please post a follow-up message to the original request.  In the BODY of that follow-up, inform the person that you are going to fill the request, and in which group(s) they can expect to find your post.


[4.12] Some of my files aren't appearing on some other news servers.  Why is that?There are a number of things that could cause this.  Short of getting a new ISP or complaining to your present ISP about poor propagation, you can't do anything about most of the problems, but one thing that has seemed to improve propagation is adjusting your segment size.  See Section [4.13]


[4.13] How many lines per segment should I use when I post?
Try setting your segment size to something between 460K and 300K (between 7500 and 5000 lines uuencoded). The higher setting is usually fine, but if downloaders are consistently complaining about your posts being incomplete, reduce your segment sizes a bit more. These settings are for uuencoding *only*, not for yEnc. Consult your documentation for segment size setting with yEnc posting clients. *Don't* use a setting below 300K. It will create far too many headers which puts a strain on news servers. If your ISP kills binaries larger than 300K, it means they don't want large binaries on their server, so you should subscribe to a pay news service. You should not put a strain on all other servers by trying to propagate a binary that your ISP is trying to prevent.
Instructions on setting segment size in Agent are found here now.If you're using Outlook Express, see the Outlook Express Sub-FAQ for instructions. 
[4.14] How do I post multiple MP3s at once?By making multiple posts.  Do *not* attach multiple files to *one* single post.  If you post like this, you can easily end up with a single post that has over 100 parts, and it makes it difficult for anybody to retrieve a single MP3 from your post without downloading the ENTIRE post.  A post that won't be downloaded is a waste of server space.


[4.15] I noticed that people are following up my MP3 posts with questions/salutations/requests/etc. in the binary group.  Are the binary groups only for binaries?One thing that you can do is to set your "follow-up" header to point back to alt.binaries.sounds.mp3.d  A lot of the time, the people are merely trying to "Follow-up Usenet Message" and ending up with a non-binary post in the binary group.  If you change your follow-up header to the discussion group*, the discussion is easily re-routed to a text forum. You should be aware, however, that some inexperienced posters don't know about follow-ups being redirected to another group, so they may have no idea where their post went.

* With Agent, this is accomplished by going to Group | Properties | Post and typing alt.binaries.sounds.mp3.d into the "Followup-To:" field.

You can also make a note in your zero-file (0/x) to post any questions in the discussion group with a subject header including: "ATTN:<Your Name>."


[4.16] Should I answer the questions posted to me in the binary group?That is something that you must decide for yourself.  But, if you're interested in keeping the binary groups clean and manageable, you might avoid posting non-binaries there yourself.

If you encourage posting discussions in the discussion group, and discourage discussions in the binary group, you're helping to keep these groups clean and organized. On the other hand, some people never go to the .d group or .request group ever, so you will not reach them if you post only in the text groups.


[4.17] I'm trying to post, but my server keeps timing out or I get disconnected in the middle of my post.  Is there any way to resume my post in the middle or do I have to start over?There are some software packages that will allow you to resume your post if you use a PC compatible.  Microsoft's Outlook Express will do this.  And for those who use a newsreader that doesn't let you resume a binary post, there are two programs that will be of great help.  One is Power-Post 2000 by Chris Morse, a program that has become the defacto standard for Windows.


[4.18] Darn it, I had to restart my MP3 upload 5 times last night and now there are all kinds of little pieces cluttering up the newsgroup.  Is there anything that I can do to clean it up?Yes. Cancel your unfinished posts.  Most newsreaders will allow you to easily cancel your own posts.  Read the help file. The unusable pieces of your post do nothing but consume space on the news server and you should cancel them.  For more on canceling posts see Section [4.19] [4.20] and [4.21].


[4.19] Whoops! I posted an MP3 to the discussion/requests group.  What should I do?Just post a brief apology to the discussion group and cancel the post.  Most newsreaders will allow you to easily cancel your own posts.  Read the help file.  Clean up your mess and free up the server space.  Most news servers allocate different amounts of space for the binary groups than they do for the non-binary groups, so stop hogging all of the non-binary space with your misplaced binary.

Don't forget that most MP3s will be broken into multiple parts by your newsreader.  This means that there is not just *one* post to cancel, but *many*.  Although your binary may appear to be one file, you may need to split it into all of its separate parts to cancel it all. It is a rare newsreader that will require you to do this.

If you are using Forte's Agent or Free Agent newsreaders, you should read the detailed instructions in the Tips section on canceling.

If you're using Outlook Express, check out the Outlook Express Sub-FAQ.

For other newsreaders, check out the Cancel FAQ at


[4.20] I *can't* cancel my misplaced/incomplete posts because my news server doesn't accept cancel messages.You can (and should) still cancel your posts.  It doesn't matter whether your server will cancel the messages or not.  Even if the messages aren't cancelled on your server, you can cancel them on other servers by issuing your cancel.  Not all servers honor cancels, but all accept and propagate cancels.  For more information on how to cancel see Section [4.19].


[4.21] I didn't realize that my posts had screwed up while I was asleep.  Is it too late for me to cancel them?No.  It's never too late.  Anything you can do to clean up your mess is appreciated.  Better late than never.  For more information on how to cancel see Section [4.19]


[4.22] Somebody posted the same file that I posted; should I cancel their post?You should NEVER cancel someone else's post.  It is a severe breech of netiquette and could result in your ISP canceling your service.  NEVER CANCEL ANYBODY'S POSTS BUT YOUR OWN!


[4.23] I'm posting my MP3s.  Should I make an announcement to a.b.s.m.d?Maybe.  If you are filling a request, you should alert the person who requested it by posting a follow-up to the request stating that you are going to upload the requested file (see Section [4.11]), but this should be done in the requests group

If you are planning on doing a post that you know will be of interest to a certain number of people who follow a.b.s.m.d, you might want to make an announcement before you post.  This will give people a chance to prepare for downloading multiple songs.




[4.24] Is there a daily posting guideline for absm.*?
  There used to be. There is no longer a consensus on how much a contributor should post in the hierarchy.

While some claimed consensus in the earlier days of the hierarchy for what was considered a reasonable cap, other posters do not see the point of limiting the amount posted to absm.*. Some posters voluntarily limit their posting to the equivalent of one commercial audio CD per day. They believe this can make a difference in retention.

You need to make up your own mind. Look around. Look at who is doing the best job of posting and emulate their style. Learn from them.

A discussion of the former posting limit can be found here.

[4.25] I heard that I'm only allowed to post MP3s if they've been requested; is that true?No, that's not true.  One of the great things about the MP3 group is that people are exposed to, or reminded of, songs that they would never request.  There are certain people who focus on only posting MP3s if they have been requested, but they are in the minority.

If you want to share your MP3s, you should.  If you take a look at the requests group, you might see that somebody has requested one of the mp3s that you were thinking about posting.  Or maybe you have a song that is of the same genre as a requested song, or a little known song by a member of a popular band.  By posting a 'heads up' to the requestor maybe you can turn somebody onto a song that they never knew that they wanted.


[4.26] I see an MP3 request that I can fill.  What should I do?The first thing that you should do is to see if the request has already been filled.  Multiple simultaneous postings of the same MP3 are a waste and happen far too frequently.

The second thing that you should do is to alert the requestor and the rest of the group that you're going to fill the request.  This not only lets the requestor know to be on the lookout, but it also will help prevent multiple posts of the same song.  See Section [4.11] for more about this.

Then you post it to the binary group and the appropriate decade group.


[4.27] I just posted a bunch of MP3s but some were incomplete on a couple of news servers. Should I just keep re-posting until everybody gets them?No.  Wait several hours.  Even a day.  It takes a while for all parts of a post to propagate sometimes. Then, if your post is still incomplete, repost the missing segments only. A good posting program will allow you to do that.

You will want to check the groups you posted to during the week following your post.  It is possible that people will be looking for reposts or segment reposts.


[4.28] But people keep requesting the same songs.  What do I tell them?Reply to their requests with a message that tells them when you plan on reposting it, that's part of what the .requests group is for.  Since the expire times in the non-binary groups are sometimes longer than in the binary groups, your reply will alert any other people who might come looking for those songs in the following days.  This will help prevent the constant reposting of the current pop hit.


[4.29] I can never get the songs that I want.  Either they scroll off of my news server, or I have to wait for a repost, or they never show up at all.  What can I do?Usenet was never intended to carry large numbers of binary files, and there are always difficulties.  If completeness or retention is your main problem, you might want to invest in a stand-alone pay news server.  More information can be found in Section [9.7].  

Or you can try making other arrangements for your MP3s.  Make friends in the group.  Arrange for your songs via e-mailftpICQ or P2P (Peer to Peer).  


[4.30] Is there a standard format for encoding binaries for posting to Usenet?There are a number of different ways to encode binaries for Usenet.  The standard is uuencoded (UUE).  Every newsreader available can decode a UUE encoded post, whereas others are not as widespread.  UUE is a Usenet standard and will make your posts available to the largest number of people.  yEnc is another very popular format that has its supporters and detractors, but you will find yEnc everywhere.


[4.31] I've got some album cover scans for the MP3s that I just uploaded.  Can I post them in the MP3 binary group?Sure.  Even though they are not MP3 files it is acceptable to post accompanying album scans along with the songs.  You may also want to crosspost them to If you are posting scans only, not accompanying an MP3 posting, that is the only place you should post them.


[4.32] Should I zip (arj, rar, jar, gzip etc) my files before uploading? What about .wma, .ogg and other compression formats?In general, no.  Compression is pretty useless for MP3s because they're already compressed.  There are occasions, due to posting difficulties, when people will break their MP3s into distinct sections using one of these formats.  But for the most part you'll just post them as MP3s.  

An exception to the recommendation not to zip MP3s is for those rare musical works that have extended periods of silence in them. Such MP3s will benefit from being zipped, and will actually propagate better. If you suspect your MP3 will benefit in this way, zip it and compare sizes. If it is significantly smaller zipped, post it that way and explain your reasoning in your 0/x file.

Also, keep in mind that people use many different operating systems so if you *do* decide to break up your post using something OTHER than a newsreader, you should make sure that both Mac and Windows users can reassemble your post.  You should also include information in the 0/x file to help them if necessary.  And if you chose to use rar, be sure to use "no compression" and don't make it a self-extracting archive.  That way the MP3s can still be 'sampled' by downloading a single part.

As for other music compression formats such as .ogg and .wma or lossless formats such as Monkeys Audio or Shorten, please find the appropriate Usenet group to post them in. The alt.binaries.sounds.mp3.* hierarchy is for MP3s, not the other formats. Thanks.


[4.33] I've got a new shareware MP3 player/encoder/decoder, should I share it with the group?Yes and no.  Is it available on the WWW or ftp?  If so, post a message in a.b.s.m.d that includes the WWW/ftp address.  If it is not available via the WWW or ftp, and it is a sound utility, post it to the appropriate group: alt.binaries.sounds.utilities and post an announcement in the discussion group to let people know.

There is no group in the alt.binaries.sounds.mp3.* hierarchy that is appropriate for the posting of MP3 players/encoders/decoders or utilities.  Please only post to the appropriate groups.


[4.34] What are the "test" groups and who should use them?You should use them if you're new to binary posting, are using a newsreader that you are unfamiliar with or if you have changed your settings.  The test groups (alt.test and alt.binaries.test) are intended for posting tests without disrupting the normal activity in other newsgroups.  They are there so you can work out the wrinkles of posting *before* you do it in the MP3 groups or any other group.

The test groups are also a great place for you to test your canceling methods.  After you do a test post, try canceling it; you never know when you might want that knowledge at your fingertips.  Information about canceling your posts can be found in Section [4.19].

Everybody makes mistakes; wouldn't you rather make yours in a test group?

[4.35] What are PAR files? Should I use them?This is a controversial subject. There is not a lot of agreement out there on the use of PAR2 files. 

Some consider PAR2 to be of substantial benefit. They can allow downloaders to reconstruct posts that are corrupted or that have missing segments without the need for a repost.

Others see PAR2 as a waste of server space. These folks typically recommend that the original poster simply do segment reposts for missing segments. 

You need to look at the arguments, watch the way others post and download and use (or not use) PAR2, and then make up your own mind.

For those who do choose to use PAR2, check out Quickpar. It is described on the Utilities page.

For those who want detailed pros and cons we have collected a number on this linked page.