Research - music websites and downloading

So I am writing a thesis on illegal music websites

What are the best worst ones in your experience…


Are you only interested in websites, or whole networks? Gnutella, Bittorrent, Napster etc. wouldn’t normally be considered ‘websites’.

My (friends) music download history is as follows:

I missed the Napster revolution of the late 90s because I was still living at home and my parents thought the internet was the devil. Although all of my school friends enjoyed downloading music on their 56K modems.

I did manage to download 3 tracks from Audiofind. Which was a site which posted links to where songs were just hosted on the internet. That was really useful until it got taken down.

In my 2nd year of university I finally got a 56K connection I could use and installed Morpheous. Suddenly all but the most obscure music was at my fingertips. It took 30 minutes minimum to download a song but that was part of the appeal.

During 2nd year Audio Galaxy came on the scene, this was more reliable than Morpheus and you could find almost anything on there. People made several trips into university a day with their 64MB flash drives to download from Audio Galaxy and bring the music home.

In 3rd year there were issues with Morpheus so I downloaded Kazaa, which subsequently got flooded with ads so I installed Diet Kazaa and later Kazaa light. WinMX was also a good client. I ambled along with those until sometime in the 00s when LimeWire (Crimewire) came on the scene. This was the most reliable yet and worked wonderfully for years. Torrent files were reliable for albums too.

Then Spotify came along which pretty much killed off everything as with a cheap monthly subscription you get all of the above with none of the hassle. Youtube and Vimeo also caught up so you can find most of the obscure stuff on there if you fancy.

A big thing for me about the mp3 revolution was that people realised that you didn’t need the best audio quality it just had to be good enough to enjoy. The record industries response was also pathetic, rather than try to get ahead they just tried to shut it down (a bit like Black cabs and Uber).

In some ways I miss the old days where everything took longer and people exchanged files on flash drives. Finally getting a song you were looking for for ages was very satisfying. Plus when we were downloading at school we thought we were bad ass criminals.

Yeah, I’ve also just noticed that all my experience of this is archaic, too, largely thanks to Spotify. Maybe illegal music downloading websites are now a thing, too…

I remember bear share around the time of Kazzaa. As well.

I think pirate bay is still around now, it got shut down for a while.

I wrote my MSc thesis on filesharing generally, not just music in 2007. Was a qualitative netnography of the behaviours and attitudes of filesharers, based on one community I was a member of.

The best are well hidden… :wink:

After Oink was taken down (at the time, prob the best tracker for music), it spawned a couple of excellent clones in the torrent world. However, I haven’t kept up with that side of the internet for a while . I kind of stopped buying (and listening to music) as a reaction to a general dislike towards the industry and how it approached filesharers. Interesting how I used to buy a lot more music when I was downloading… there was a study that said it people who downloaded bought a significant amount more music.

You will find that there were two streams of users - one the individual mp3 filesharers who used Kazaa, WinMX, Limewire and DC++ and then when torrents came in, entire albums were easy to access. Trackers were set up that catered for different tastes, one was dedicated to .flac music rips, others to specific types of music etc.

Also, Rapidshare became a great place to find stuff.

As I mentioned, most of my knowledge is historical as the internet outpaced me and I had more interesting things to do (i.e. job, bikes etc)

However, happy to help if you would like to bounce ideas or just chat through things. Always like talking about this :smiley:

Most of the old torrent sites are still up if up if you know where to look.

Oooh Napster - I used to love that although it robbed me of hours of beauty sleep. The instant messages with people all over the world was great. I got chatting to the son of a man who wrote one of my fave obscure Northern Soul songs and eventually explained to him why it was so popular in the UK - he never knew although it paid for his uni fees. 1000+ tracks still sitting on a memory stick for parties but do I ever listen to them now? No - keep forgetting. Must try them out again.

Sorry Amit this does not help your thesis though:crying:

Does recording the Top 30 off the radio onto a C90 on a Sunday evening count? :unsure:

I think I preferred it when it was illegal and we had no bandwidth. I remember at university we planned a party and had to start downloading music a month in advance to have any hope of having a good playlist for the do. We got extra kudos for burning tracks to CDs for the ballet dancers who lived upstairs. Oh and there is no documented record of the party because the disposable camera we bought got lost.

I now understand why people get nostalgic about old technology and formats when the latest technology is obviously better. In this world of instant gratification I think we appreciated things more when it took more time or effort to get them.

Also in terms of a thesis on the subject you have to question why you would pay for something you can get for free. With music I think once the illegal download market got flooded the quality decreased and there were a lot more bogus files, whereas with Spotify it’s right first time every time so it’s just easier and more convenient.

pirate bay is back again after its last shutdown but doesn’t have as much good content.

Don’t forget the old IRC channels. DALNET circa late '90s used to be chock full of people running bots where you could request DCC downloads of albums etc. Or we used to just pally up with folks on there to get a FTP access to their stuff. It was a bit of a chore when living in the sticks with just a 56K modem, but my Uni halls had a T1 pipe which turned it into a total gold rush. Was buying new, bigger hard disks each term with my fresh student loan cheque

Soon got fed up of torrentz due to ISP’s throttling that traffic. And with Spotify so cheap, it’s just not worth the effort any more.

However back then, too many sources still didn’t rip CD’s well. This was before Exact Audio Copy and decent error checking, and you had to leave you PC alone to ensure you achieved a steady write speed to prevent hiccups. Never mind trying to encode on the fly as you ripped… Plus it was all 128kbps mp3’s, often with a blagged Xing encoder that chopped off all above 16KHz, so quality was never great. These days decent CD rippers and AAC / OGG encoders are miles ahead with quality near indistinguishable from source CD.