What.cd is an exclusive, invite-only music BitTorrent tracker and community. If you’re trying to get an invite to What.cd you have two options: score an invite from an existing user or go through an interview process via IRC and get invited by a What.cd staff member. Here we’ll focus on the latter of the two methods.
If you had an invite you wouldn’t be reading this
Let’s face it, if you already had an invite reading this wouldn’t be necessary. So let’s cover the high level things that you need to know before trying to get onto what.cd. I’ve written about the what.cd invite process in the past; all the way back in 2008! It’s been one of my more frequented articles, which is surprising because the previous article wasn’t particularly long or verbose. Before attempting this you need to know that What.cd is a private tracker, ratio enforced site. This is not PirateBay, What.cd is home to serious audiophiles. According to TorrentFreak:
What.cd first appeared online in the fall of 2007, just a handful of days after the demise of the largest music tracker at the time, OiNK. What.cd’s founders wanted to give nearly 200,000 music fans somewhere to go, a place they could call home – a torrent site to fill the void left by the closure of the Pink Palace.
Since 2007 the site has continued going strong. So strong in fact that one of their crowning achievements was the creation of their own custom tracker software called Ocelot. Ocelot went on to become one of the most efficient and lightweight tracker used. The site now promotes Gazelle, which is a web framework geared towards private torrent trackers. Although naturally focusing on music, it can be modified for most needs. Gazelle is written in PHP, JS, and MySQL and it available on GitHub.
Given the exclusivity of the tracker and the fact that it’s filled with audiophiles you should know you can’t just leech until you’re done and drop off the torrent. You need to maintain a ratio on the site. So only try to join the tracker if you are serious about keeping a good upload/download ratio. If you don’t maintain a decent ration or become inactive your account will be closed.
Getting an invite via Interview Process
The first thing you need to know… is a lot about audio formats, transcodes, bittorrent, spectral analysis, how to do a proper CD rip, and more. Luckily, everything you’ll need to know is available via whatinterviewprep.com. According to the site each interview is different (that’s certainly what I’ve heard from people who’ve gone through the interview process. That said you need to know the following in order to pass an interview:
- Analog and Digital Music Sources — What’s the difference between vinyl and CDs?
- Audio Formats — What are the different types of music formats, and which are allowed on What.CD?
- MP3 — Everything you need to know about LAME and LAME Presets.
- Transcodes — How you can figure out if a transcode is good or bad.
- Torrenting — BitTorrent vocabulary, ratio, and more!
- Spectral Analysis — The best way to determine the bitrate of an unknown music file. (Pretty pictures!)
- CD Burning and CD Ripping — How to make the best possible CD rip.
- What.CD Rules — Break them and perish.
I cannot stress enough enough how difficult the interview process is for many people. If don’t know the above information and you’re not willing to study up and learn about it then, don’t waste their time or yours.
Interview via IRC to get your invite
You’ll do the interview via IRC. If you don’t know what IRC is, at a high level it’s like a protocol for Internet based chat. It’s typically a group conference chat but you can (and will during your interview) have private chats as well. If you’ve never used IRC before you might want to run through a tutorial on IRCHelp.org or IRCBeginner.com. Suggested IRC clients are: mIRC (Windows), X-Chat (Windows, Linux), Colloquy (Mac OS), or mibbit (web browser). My preference has always been mIRC or X-Chat (depending on the platform I’m using), many like mibbit because it’s web based and doesn’t require an installation. Once you’ve picked a client set it up to connect to the IRC Server: irc.what-network.net or port 6667 (or 6697 if you’re using SSL). Once connected to the server join the What.cd channel “#what.cd-invites by typing “/join #what.cd-invites” (no quotes). Once you join follow the instructions that display on your screen.
After my previous post went live the admins from What.cd contacted me to ensure that I specified that you MUST provide a speedtest.net screenshot before entering the queue. For good measure, you should also take a few screenshots of your ratios on other private sites, if you belong to any. Make sure what you put after the queue command is the link to your speedtest IMAGE and not to your personal Speedtest result page. It will be the second tab when you are taken to your results. Here’s mine so you know what you’re looking for:
After studying, getting your screenshots ready, and joining the #what.cd-invites channel on IRC type “!queue” (without quotes) followed by your speedtest link. So it’ll look like this:
Now… you wait. No seriously you’ll wait a long time. I get emailed two questions all the time.
- Do you have an invite (the answer is no, and you are NOT allowed to request or trade them on this site)
- How long do I have to wait to be interviewed?!
The interviewers are all volunteers and many idle in the channel or are already conducting interviews. Do NOT be a d-bag or act like a child; just wait your turn, they’ll get to you. If you have additional questions before your interview or want to ask follow-up’s after the interview join the IRC channel #what.cd-interviewprep