On August 10, 1996, CDA released to IRC the Scene’s first “officially” pirated MP3: “Until It Sleeps,” by Metallica.Within weeks, there were numerous rival crews and thousands of pirated songs.
He knew that the plant managers were concerned about leaking, and he’d heard of employees being arrested for embezzling inventory.
The ability to regularly source pre-release leaks earned one the ultimate accolade in digital piracy: to be among the “elite.”By the mid-nineties, the Scene had moved beyond software piracy into magazines, pornography, pictures, and even fonts.
In 1996, a Scene member with the screen name Net Fra Ck started a new crew, the world’s first MP3 piracy group: Compress ’Da Audio, or CDA, which used the newly available MP3 standard, a format that could shrink music files by more than ninety per cent.
On a busy day, the plant produced a quarter of a million CDs.
Its lineage was distinguished: Poly Gram was a division of the Dutch consumer-electronics giant Philips, the co-inventor of the CD.