Other things I’ve posted, and some additional thoughts:
I found my favourite Japanese band Veltpunch via What.cd. There was one album. When their second album came out, and it didn’t appear on What, I ordered it online from a Japanese site (paying a small fortune), ripped it (to What’s extremely exacting standards), scanned all the liner notes, the CD tray card, and the CD itself, packaged it up, and threw it into the best music library in the world, with a full detailed write-up on it.
I did the exact same thing for the next 3 CDs. So 4 of the 5 Veltpunch albums that were on What.cd were my shares. I also did this with a couple dozen other incredibly rare discs I don’t think anyone would ever be able to find anywhere else. Some of them, I worked hard to track down and buy, because somebody on What requested them, but I also wanted them badly enough, and was willing to put in all this work to contribute to a place so extreme in its dedication to excellence, even I had a tough time meeting their standards (and had at least a couple of my early uploads turfed because I missed something).
People don’t know. What wasn’t just a pirate site. It was where you went to learn. It was the source of truth about everything to do with music. I’ve learned so much more about music and audio in the last 8 years or so, just because of that place. Nothing else on the internet comes even remotely close.
I’m still in denial. This can’t be it…so many millions of hours of work…
There it is, still in the top left of my firefox “new tab” top sites. Not because it’s pinned, but because it’s how I start and end my day, pretty much every day…
Also, there were the donations. I had bitcoins, so I’d donate something every once in a while. It probably averaged out to about $100 a year, about $800 in total, if I had to estimate. Nowhere near what What was worth to me. How much would that have been? $20, $30, $40 a month? Probably.