The tragedy that is the loss of What.CD

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thedeh

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After 8 years of membership I took for granted the enduring existence of What.CD, a tracker I viewed as a most stable pillar of the greater community.

Celebrated for countless reasons, be it as the music wing of the revered "holy trinity"; pioneering the Gazelle/Ocelot framework; or as a gateway for new members into private torrenting, What.CD comes with a near 10 year history - an entire generation of influence still felt everywhere throughout the community.

What.CD was not just the replacement to OiNK, it set a new standard to which virtually every other tracker would aspire. It seemed like it would go on forever.

Then in an instant, it was gone.

Personally I never really used What.CD. I had a ~100GB buffer and donated for immunity to inactivity pruning, and in the last several years I've perhaps downloaded 10 albums in total. (I have mainstream taste in music and with the advent of streaming I eventually found the old routine of downloading and filling up my devices with music to be a rather antiquated practice). Just knowing I had access to such an amazing resource was enough to satisfy me.

Yet when I heard of the seizure I literally felt sick in the stomach. Not for my loss, but for that of humanity.

As I mentioned on Reddit's r/trackers 6 months ago:
...and I never even use WCD. However, these trackers are the foremost archives in each of their respective fields. Access to such extraordinary repositories of knowledge is invaluable.

...I've said it before but I'll say it again: If it weren't for copyright protection, trackers such as PTP, WCD and BTN would be funded by the government as cultural heritage archives.
A cultural heritage repository a generation in the making, containing music that no longer exists anywhere else in the world, and will now undoubtedly be lost in time. What.CD contained what was as close to the sum-total of humanity's entire recorded musical works -- boasting extraordinary quality control and curation -- organized and catalogued to near perfection.

One ex-member typing in #what-refuge went as far as to compare the loss of What.CD to the destruction of the Library of Alexandria. An apt analogy.

Many have been quick to dismiss the true weight of the loss of this tracker, citing OiNK and making claim as to the greatness of What.CD's as yet unknown successor. I think this is a profoundly naive position that ignores many key factors as to the success of What.CD. Not least of which, knowing the rise of What.CD occurred at a time when private torrenting was in its infancy, the tracker was the beneficiary of the following boom period. Nowadays the community is in decline.

I'm not sure we'll ever see a tracker that comes close to the greatness of What.CD. I hope I'm wrong. Despite the apparent glee at their success, I believe the French authorities have just burned down a modern day library of Alexandria, and will one day be reviled for it.

With the loss of What.CD comes the loss of one of the greatest cultural heritage archives in all of human history, perhaps never to be replaced. And that, is a tragedy.
 

Janner

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thedeh thedeh Completely agree. WhatCD was just "there". I took it for granted that it would be there for the foreseeable future, and if it were ever to go we would at least have some warning. It was quite a shock, and like yourself, I don't download a lot of music, but anything I do download has to be FLAC quality, if at all possible. Only last Sunday, I decided to make use of my freeleech tokens, and struggled to find more than a few albums I wanted there and then, but used up all but 2 tokens. If I had waited a day or so more (when the tracker went offline), I wouldn't even have used any tokens.

My new motto: Don't put off till tomorrow what you can download today....
 
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insertnamehere

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The loss of WhatCD changes everything. Not only is there the loss of a huge music library, but the destruction of What points out how vulnerable sites really are. Sites like GGn really took this to heart and shut down temporarily, evaluating how to securely come back online. BTN, AHD, and PTP are closing recruitment and restructuring. Other sites are surely going to follow. It really changes everything, and it will be interesting to see how the tracker world is changed because of it.
 

Haplea

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Indeed, it felt like it would go on forever. I was shocked when I read the news and saw the "so long" message on the site. First I thought it's some kind of bad joke... It's a big loss. You can't find all that music anywhere else, legal or illegal.

I'm positive though. I think the "legacy" will continue...
 

jammyone

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Looks like french government edited it and it's gone now
It's in the article "talk" at the moment. The current thought is 'What.CD was not a library, it was a forum for people to share music. The materials are not "destroyed," they are simply not accessible from a single point anymore. It also wasn't a library, it was a private "club" that was not publicly accesible.'
 
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Xemaniac

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It's in the article "talk" at the moment. The current thought is 'What.CD was not a library, it was a forum for people to share music. The materials are not "destroyed," they are simply not accessible from a single point anymore. It also wasn't a library, it was a private "club" that was not publicly accesible.'
Well, isn't a library a place where people find information in one central place? Without said library a lot of that content may as well be destroyed, so that library kept it alive.

Now nobody knows if an album only printed in 100 copies exists on anyone's hard drive or as a physical disc. If we would want that cd, then only 100 people could have one copy at any given time. What a cultural loss...

In a digital age we don't abide by old fashioned definitions anymore. Books, cd's, BluRay,s and other kinds of physical media are becoming obscelete, so a "digital library" is a library, since most physical copies are not available to everyone.

Isn't Wikipedia considered to be the biggest library of information ever built?

Isn't it ironic when the pot calls the kettle black...



Google "library definition".

a collection of films, recorded music, etc., organized systematically and kept for research or borrowing.
 

xeeder

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It feels like i have lost a close friend or a family member. As if i am incomplete when it comes to my interwebz needs. As if i won't be happy again. It felt like a nightmare. Still can't believe what happened. It used to feel like the Holy Trinity is immune to such demise. That they have plans in motion that would take care of such things in dark times. That we will have access to the great archives no matter what, and it will be a smooth ride to the future. But damn, was i wrong.

I was never much interested in WHAT at the start (when i joined it 6 years ago), as i thought of it as a ladder, by which one access mainstream private trackers. And i used it as such. But then i was in search of a certain album, because of some song i heard on the radio. And i liked it so much, that i wanted to have it in flawless quality. And that's how i discovered the great value of the music library @ WHAT. The suggested collages led me to discover more of the music i was interested in. And i just loved it as i got more and more into it.

Also, the place, where having buffer meant so much power. The sheer effort of having it built over the past 6 years, the wait for freeleech announcements, getting ready your seedboxes as if there was no tomorrow, and then let it all build. and then the real prize, the feeling like you could access anything, any book, any album, literally anything as long as it's available on the interwebz and provided it's within the rules. It wouldn't take more than an hour to have your requests filled, if provided sufficient bounty. That feeling alone, the power, i can't even describe it accurately into words, it was nothing short of amazing. There was this book i had to access which wasn't available anywhere for free, but it was available for few hundred bucks, and it was impossible for me to have it any other way. So, i put up a request on WHAT, and it got filled with in a day. The song that you fell in love with, can't be found on the internet, no problem if you had access to WHAT as kind members would readily fill it with and that too in lossless quality. How powerful is that for a community!

Now, it feels like there is a void, which can't be filled with no matter what. As if nothing can replace WHAT. But i hope this won't be the case. Maybe we can build another great community from the ashes of WHAT, based on the legacy of WHAT, and not let the fire die which was started by WHAT.
 

Matt27

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I'm not sure we'll ever see a tracker that comes close to the greatness of What.CD. I hope I'm wrong. Despite their apparent glee at their success, I believe the French authorities have just burned down a modern day library of Alexandria, and will one day be reviled for it.

With the loss of What.CD comes the loss of one of the greatest cultural heritage archives in all of human history, perhaps never to be replaced. And that, is a tragedy.
thedeh thedeh Completely agree. WhatCD was just "there". I took it for granted that it would be there for the foreseeable future, and if it were ever to go we would at least have some warning.
Still can't believe what happened. It used to feel like the Holy Trinity is immune to such demise. That they have plans in motion that would take care of such things in dark times. That we will have access to the great archives no matter what, and it will be a smooth ride to the future. But damn, was i wrong.
Reading this thread helps me mourn, for I too once thought WCD and its buddies making the Holy Trinity were untouchable.

:(
 

marrow

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This is going to make the torrent community tighter and sites harder to join

Yes never to take anything for granted and appreciate and respect all the hard work done past, present and future.
 
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silent1313

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I feel what others describe regarding the most comprehensive music tracker ever. While I am not a huge music fan I enjoyed reading forum and browsing while waking up on Saturday mornings. I have a feeling of loss now. RIP What.cd
 

The_Cob

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Speaking as someone who has very obscure tastes in music, WCD was something special. Not only did it have almost everything I was looking for, I could choose from different formats. If Rutracker did not exist, I would be taking this a lot harder.
 
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Alastor

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I was personally dismayed to hear the news. It is during times like this that it makes one realize that pathetic spats between tracker staff is silly. At the end of the day we're all pirates and none of us should be enemies with one another. We have enemies enough who are trying to bring us down and the sad loss of wcd is testament to that fact. wcd will be missed by many and it will leave a void that I doubt shall be filled any time soon.

Thanks wcd for all you gave us and much <3
 
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