A word about legality:

Before I send you on the great hunt for recordings of your favorite band, it's important to understand that some bands want you to tape and trade their concerts and some don't. The music-sharing community refers to bands that allow the taping of their concerts, or shows as "taper-friendly."

Every band's taping and trading policy is different, so if you're unsure whether a band is taper-friendly or trader-friendly, visit its official Web site and read the band's individual policy. For example, Phish's taping policy can be located here.

BTAT (Bands That Allow Taping) has a comprehensive database of band policies, but I'm not sure how regularly the site is updated.

Enough already, where's the music?

Since, of course, I don't know exactly what genre of music you're trying to download, I'll post a couple of my favorite broad music sharing Web sites which contain a little bit (or really, a lot) of various music genres.

  • The Internet Archive
  • One of the Web's premier music-sharing sites, the Internet Archive allows you to browse and stream recordings of concerts of hundreds of bands. Users can choose to browse all bands and can, within each band's individual page, categorize the recordings by relevance, average rating, download count, date of concert and date added.

  • Bt.Etree
  • My personal favorite site for downloading music via BitTorrent. Bt.Etree's simple layout makes searching by band really easy. It's also the first place many tapers go to upload their latest recordings; many of the recordings listed are just hours old. Bt.Etree is just one site of the Etree family of sites and is a valuable resource for anyone interested in music sharing. Etree.org is vast and comprehensive resource but an overwhelming and confusing Web site.

  • The Trader's Den
  • The Den is a fantastic resource for live music recordings of all kinds, including video. Registration is necessary for downloading, but it's free and takes less than 30 seconds. The site also features a busy forum where users can easily request and post recordings.

A few more to check out:

  • Wolfgang's Vault
  • A nice variety of music to stream but not as much content as the Internet Archive or Etree.

  • Dime A Dozen
  • Another easy-to-use site that allows you to download files via BitTorrent.

  • Bt.Cotapers.org
  • A site similar to bt.etree.org. The layout isn't as clean and it doesn't seem to be frequented as much as etree.