Music Torrent Site What.CD Shuts Down: 'All Data Has Been Destroyed'

Billboard

Invite-only torrent site What.CD, a favorite destination for audiophiles for its vast trove of hard-to-find releases and high-quality files, has terminated operations immediately. A terse statement found on its website mentions "recent events" as the reason for the piracy site's demise. "We are not likely to return any time soon in our current form," the message reads. "All site and user data has been destroyed. So long, and thanks for all the fish."

According to Zataz Magazine, French cybercrime authorities seized 12 of the site's servers on Thursday during raids at various locations. The Zataz report mentions the raids were the culmination of an investigation that began two years ago. French authoring rights collecting society SACEM confirmed with Billboard that it provided intelligence and other information to investigators.

Launched in 2007 from the ashes of another popular torrent tracker, Oink, What managed to flourish even as its peers were litigated into oblivion as legal streaming services altered how people discover and listen to music. Still, in-the-know fans gravitated to What for its large-and-rare collection (it recently hit 1 million unique releases) and because it offered many files in the lossless FLAC format.


The site was also known for being selective with access, and recently made the blogs when disgraced former pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli asked his Twitter followers for a coveted invite.

What.CD let users know about the closure on Twitter:

Due to some recent events, What.CD is shutting down. We are not likely to return any time soon in our current form. 1/2

- What.CD (@whatcd) November 17, 2016

All site and user data has been destroyed. So long, and thanks for all the fish. <3 2/2

- What.CD (@whatcd) November 17, 2016

11/18: This article has been updated to confirm SACEM's involvement.