Letter to old traders (whose addresses you might find in old music magazines etc.)
Notes: before the advent of the internet, tape trading did exist, and traders used to place small advertisements in the back of music magazines (such as fanzines, NME, Maximumrocknroll, etc) giving their address and their interests. Such advertisements were usually quite specific, stating if they were interested in live recordings.
It is well known that some items used to circulate among old collectors that have been lost; indeed, old traders were the tapers of yesteryear, so they might even have some masters!
If you don't have any old (by which we mean pre-1997) magazines, you can often buy back issues from the publishers, or better you can buy them very cheaply from record stores or junk shops, or even read them at some libraries. 1989 - 1995 will be the best years to consider.
We would not consider it worth it offering a "big reward! for unsurfaced material"; old traders operated much more on trust and integrity, and so it is probably unnecessary. Besides, this way, they might even give you material for free or at least do a 1:1 trade for it. But if you want to offer financial rewards, by all means do so.
N.B. It is a good idea to enclose an SAE (self-addressed envelope, or International Reply Coupon if you live in another country) to increase the likelihood of a reply Enclose your list if you like.
[Address of recipient]
I am trying to track down every known recording (whether official or unofficial) by the 90s grunge band NIRVANA, and I ...
... am replying to the advertisement which you placed in [insert name of magazine where you saw the ad] in [when ad was placed] in which you mentioned that you traded live [recordings / videos].
... heard [from a friend] that you used to trade live recordings.
Many "bootlegs" that used to circulate amongst older collectors before the internet changed the trading scenes have been "lost" and no longer circulate at all. This is where I hope you can help me, because newer, internet-based traders do not have any contact with those older traders (who used to advertise in the backs of music magazines, etc.).
There is now a large internet-based NIRVANA trading community that has discovered more than 240 NIRVANA concerts to date, and there are many excellent internet-based resources, including the "Nirvana Live Guide", http://ksproul.threadnet.com/nlg.
I realise that you may not have traded tapes for years, but it would mean a lot to me if you could track down whatever live material by NIRVANA you may have and send me your list, by email if you like. I understand that this may take a fair amount of your valuable time, but I promise that your time will be well spent.
Please do reply to me, even if you only have a small number of items, or even just to say you do not have any! [I enclose a self-addressed envelope for your convenience, so it won't cost you a penny.]
As a [former] trader, you may still have contact details of other older traders who may have taped and/or traded material by NIRVANA, and I would be very grateful if you could pass on their details to me (addresses or emails), or if you feel unable to do so, please pass on my email to them.