Fort those who haven’t read “How The Music Got Free”, and to the best of my memory, the whole thing revolved around a CD pressing plant in the south, like North Carolina or something. A guy began smuggling CD’s out that he’d copy and sell out of his car trunk. This was in the 90’s. Some early torrent pirate hacker types began exploiting the internet as a way to distribute CD’s prior to their actual release. Those guys got together with the pressing plant employee who supplied them with a string of pre release CD’s. Their angle wasn’t so much about making money, just disrupting the music industry. The creation of the MP3 around this same time made it possible to distribute lots of music during an age of limited bandwidth. Napster was born out of that scene. And that’s how the whole downloading music thing got started. It made it’s way through colleges and into the public at large and turned the music industry upside down. Because of Napster’s massive popularity, and after being largely unsuccessful at suing the music loving public, the music establishment was forced to find ways to make money from music downloads by creating their own scheme. Which eventually has led us to the subscription model like Tidal, etc.
But the original impetus was to get CD’s into the public prior to the record companies releasing them. And that was done by smuggling pre-lease CD’s out of pressing plants. Rival hacker groups would race to see who got the CD out first.