These days, there are a number of routes to download music. For each route, there are different kinds of software to use. Just pay attention to what kind of site a person has, then use the right kind of software for the type of download.

Download via FTP:
FTP is the traditional download method that helped create Most operating systems come with a command-line FTP client, but this can be a big pain to use. Get FTP software with handy features instead. Some popular programs are linked to below.

  • Windows FTP Clients
    • [SmartFTP] - freeware
    • [LeechFTP] - freeware
    • [Filezilla] - freeware, open-source (GPL-ed), companion server is similar.
    • [LeapFTP] - shareware
    • [CuteFTP] - commercial, trial available
    • [FlashFXP] - commercial, trial available
    • [BulletProof FTP] - commercial, trial available
    • Internet Explorer's built-in FTP client. Type into the "Address" window. If the FTP site is on a non-standard port, follow the address with a colon and the portnumber, e.g., Then, hit Enter or the Go button. (First make sure that "Enable folder view for FTP sites" is checked under the Advanced tab under Tools > Internet Options.) The FTP site will look and behave pretty much like a local folder on your hard drive as far as copying and pasting goes. You can also bookmark the FTP window just like a regular Web site. IE will also remember FTP passwords and logins. Note that some FTP sites may not work with IE. Other browsers such as Mozilla Firefox also support FTP but with a different, hypertext-like interface.
  • UNIX FTP Clients
    • [lftp] - extremely powerful command-line client
    • [NcFTP] - another very powerful command-line client
  • Mac OS X FTP Clients Since Mac OS X is UNIX under the hood, the UNIX Clients mentioned above should all work. There are also some native OS X clients as well
  • Classic Mac OS FTP Clients

Download via HTTP:
Files will be available from a web server (example:

  • Use your favorite browser in your favorite OS. Just click the links to save the files, rather than view them. Drawback- for a whole bunch of files, you may have to download them one at a time, which can be inconvenient.
  • Download managers (is there a page for this? Check). These can help queue up a bunch of links to make http much more convenient. Caution, some managers greedily open many connections at once to speed the download, and some websites may ban you for that. Set the manager up appropriately.

Download via Peer to Peer:
Interconnected networks of people downloading, uploading, sharing items all at the same time. There are many different types. Some P2P networks and apps are commonly used within our community and it's easy to find TradeFriendly material through them. Others are wastelands. Each requires its own software. Starting points:


Once you've got your music, you need to be able to listen to it, right? Well, you can burn it onto a CD of course, but you can also listen to it on your PC before you burn it. All you need is a plug-in for your favorite media player, and you're set:


Before you can burn a CD, you need to turn your SHN/FLAC files into WAV files by uncompressing them. Most of these utilities can also be used to create Shorten or FLAC files from WAV files. editing note- are links below better grouped onto Shorten and FLAC related pages here in the wiki? Think about reworking

  • [mkwACT] - Windows MD5-checking and audio (de)compression utility. Just drag and drop a folder onto it and it does the rest. But be sure to set the defaults properly, and read the discussion about XP, at
    [the etree mkwACT faq].
  • [Softsound's Shorten] is another option for Windows users.
  • [Howto integrate] the command line versions of the [latest versions of shorten] with Windows Explorer Windows XP (very easy and cool) [etree shn faq]. These command line versions are another alternative for those users who cannot get mkwACT to work properly.
  • [md5summer] - Windows MD5-checking and creating tool, with a graphical interface. Handy for those who can't use mkw, or when you forget to create the md5s with mkw.
  • [unshn] - Shell script for uncompressing SHN files on *NIX systems (works under Cygwin as well). Part of the "etree-scripts" package.
  • [Shorten for Macintosh] - versions for MacOS 7-9 and a Carbonized version for MacOS X
  • [shntool and Shorten v3.4 for Mac OS X] - The Mark Domyancich setup walkthrough and usage guide for shntool and Shorten v3.4 on OSX.
  • [SHNTool for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X] - For fixing sector boundary errors in SHN, WAV, & FLAC files on Windows, Linux and Mac OS X
  • [FLAC Installer] (which redirects to [Mike Wren's page]) - Contains the FLAC Frontend which for creating FLAC files or uncompressing them.
  • [MacFLAC] - free FLAC GUI for MacOS X
  • [FLACer] - shareware FLAC GUI for Mac OS X
  • [xACT] - free GUI for Mac OS X for unix shorten 3.5.1, shntool 1.2.3, flac 1.1.0, monkey's audio 3.97. Everything you need for encoding/decoding shn, flac, ape and calling shntool functions (len, info, split, join, cmp, fix).
  • [Speek's Multi-Frontend] - Free GUI for Windows that handles Flac, Shorten, Monkey's Audio, etc files.
    (Requires appropriate EXE file to work with the files you wish to compress/decompress/modify).
  • [dBpowerAMP Music Converter] - Convert your SHN to FLAC, vice versa, or from SHN/FLAC to WAV.
    • [FLAC Codec] - Codec required by dBpowerAMP to handle FLAC files.
    • [SHN Codec] - Codec required by dBpowerAMP to handle SHN files.

Edit Files

Here are some programs for editing and recording WAV files.
  • [CD Wave] - WAV recording/editing program that allows for perfect sector boundary splits. Shareware.
  • [wavbreaker] - Takes wave files and breaks it up into multiple wave files. It makes a clean break at the correct position, sector boudaries, to burn the files to an audio cd without any dead air between the tracks. It includes a command line tool that will merge wave files back together. Linux - GNU GPL - Open Source
  • [SoundStudio] - Digital Audio editing for Mac OS X. $50, trial available.
  • [Wave Merge (ftp)] (mirror) Wave Merge - Combines tracks, useful for retracking shows. I wasn't exactly sure if that'd work, so I put another copy up [here] (right-click, "save as").


Here are some programs for burning audio and data CDs. You might want to burn a data CD if you want to archive the SHN files for posterity. This allows you to create a pristine copy of a show without having to ever introduce a DAE generation.
  • [cdrecord] - Command line CD burning app for *NIX and Cygwin.
  • [GUI front-end for cdrecord] - A graphical user interface for the Windows version of cdrecord. You can download either just the front-end or the front-end plus the cdrecord tools for Windows.
  • [cdrdao] - Another command line CD burner for *NIX systems.
  • [CDRWin] - Excellent commercial CD burning and copying suite for Windows. Also available as command line tools for DOS users.
  • [Nero Burning ROM] - Windows shareware application that can burn just about any type of CD (data, audio, VCD, etc.) - [SHN and Flac Plugins]
  • [Feurio!] - Excellent Windows shareware audio CD burning application. Unregistered version does not burn data CDs.
  • [Toast Titanium] has finally fixed the DAO bug that existed until version 5.0 and now burns audio seamlessly on Macs.
  • [Dragon Burn] is an affordable alternative to Toast for Mac OS X
  • [Gnome Toaster] - Linux GUI to burn data/audio/mixed-mode CDs, TAO or DAO, using cdrdao and cdrecord. Uses filters to handle ANY file format (once setup), can extract and burn from SHN/FLAC/.ogg/mp3/etc automatically. Can also encode!
  • [K3b] - Another Linux GUI CD recording program for KDE, but also may work on Gnome.

Extract Audio

Occasionally it is necessary to extract the digital audio from a burned CD. This might be necessary if you are seeding a show but don't have the source that your CDs came from. Or perhaps you want to copy a CD for someone and you didn't archive the SHN files you used to burn it.
  • [Exact Audio Copy (EAC)] - the best DAE program for Windows users. Only Windows program that will make 100% accurate rips [more].
  • [cdparanoia] - The best DAE application for *NIX systems. Every bit as good as EAC, though lacking its fine-grained offset calibration. This has now been [ported] to OS X as well. Note that not everyone may have success with the limited port to OS X as it has been reported to fail on some non-Powerbook based machines due to drive differences. YMMV
  • [Grip] - GUI ripper/encoder front end for *NIX systems; uses cdparanoia as its ripping engine.
  • [CDex] - open source ripper with cdparanoia support for Windows.
  • [Aqua CD Burn] - An extremely easy-to-use GUI for cdrtools on OS X, and contains the cdparanoia libraries. Still in alpha stage so it may not support all burners.
  • [X-CD-Roast] - Give this program a try if you can't get Aqua CD Burn to work with your burner. You will need to install X11 to use this program.
  • [Track Thief] Until cdparanoia works on Classic Mac OS, the best DAE program for Mac users. You'll also need [SoundApp] to convert the resulting AIFFs to WAVs for shortening.