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Scene R3ader

Check 'em

You think you’re an empman, but you’re not.

You might have 160 gigabytes worth of music on your iPod Classic, but if I know my emps and the indiscriminate practices of “music listeners” these days, you’ve got some m4a’s in there as well. You may have even just grabbed an advance copy of [Popular Band]‘s latest album off mediashare, but chances are the emps were scanned, retagged, and archived on our RAID solutions two weeks ago. Truth is, you know nothing of the world of emping. From your vantage point, you see only the tip of the iceberg but not the depths to which the game descends. If you pay close attention here, though, you can learn to survive in the mosh pit of private trackers and the world of emping.

We here at The Scene Reader have been in the emp game for the better part of 10 years, idling in efnet channels on our 56.6kbps connections, waiting for Scene releases to leak, battling for that first spot in The Queue. The Scene took care of all our Mp3 needs, and we gave it our loyalty. It wasn’t long, however, before Napster came along and turned emping mainstream. After Napster, it was Audiogalaxy, and Direct Connect, then Soulseek with its five-dollar privileges, all of which has culminated with today’s use of BitTorrent protocol and private trackers. Through all of this, The Scene remained alive and well, providing us, through quality rips of every conceivable album in every conceivable genre, with new music on a daily basis. The burgeoning market for older albums — classic, and otherwise — in Mp3 form, and lossless audio, has shrunk The Scene’s prominence. But we at The R3ader were taught to give credit where it’s due, and recognize that the state of emps would not be what it is without The Scene’s decades-long reign at the top.

So knowing what you know now, you might ask, “What can I do to keep my head above water while snatching more music than I could ever possibly listen to in my lifetime with one marathon session of emping on whatever private tracker it is I have an account with?”

The answer is simple. Your productivity depends on the triangle relationship between your connection, storage, and technique. These three components work together: if you have one but not the others, or if you have two, you will sink like a rock. It’s as simple as that. Your upstream, your storage solution, and your execution of all things Mp3 will decide your fate.

In these rough and turbulent times, the one constant in our lives is the speed of our Internet. Whether you’re killing it on a university connection, surfing the Interweb at 20mbps on a symmetrical fiber optic line, or forking up a few Euros for a 100mbps seedbox, your emping success and survival will come down to the size of your pipe. Those with a big pipe succeed, and those splitting DSL with four roommates fail. Sure, jumping on Top 40 material as it leaks is one way to stay afloat, but if you’re not there when the dope hits the web, forget it. You’re probably downloading the King Crimson discography during your first week on a private tracker, and you deserve the spot and resultant shame reserved for you on ratio watch.

Don’t eat your ice cream before you finish your greens

If you’re serious about emping at a faster rate than is listenable, increase your pipe. A few ways to do that are splitting a seedbox with a friend, remote-desktoping your parents’ fiber optic connection, and/or subscribing to two cable Internet plans. If you increase your bandwidth in a dramatic way, you will see results. If this is not an option, kill your roommate’s Pirate Bay torrents and share your private tracker account with him and the rest of the apartment. Instead of each person having their own, you should all be sliding down the same slide. Last, there is the option of uploading your own shit, though this is a worst case scenario. There are endless options for increasing your pipe — use one.

The second component for professional emping success is storage. You’ll want to make sure you have enough space so when free leech comes, you can grab that Rosetta Stone pack, that Beethoven FLAC, or even that Mitchell On Demand without reaching the outer limits of the spinning metal disk you call a hard drive.

Storage is so cheap nowadays that if you’re sporting a dedicated Mp3s and Torrenting hard disk drive anywhere under 500GB, you are clearly not serious enough. In fact, you should stop reading now and just stick to your Mp3 blogs and mediashare links. We at The Scene R3ader utilize RAID 5 storage for its size and data protection capabilities. There is no better sleep than the slumber gained with the knowledge that in the event of a hard drive failure, your Mp3s, and maybe a jpeg collection or two, are protected.

The third and arguably most important way to emerge unscathed from the emp mosh pit from which we are broadcasting is technique. As has been said, discogging before establishing a buffer can result in a ratio nose-dive and possible banishment from the promised land of your private tracker community. Save the discogs as a reward for having climbed atop the uploader list.

What to do

Grab anything new that even slightly sparks your interest. If you hop on a download early enough — when it hits the tracker’s ‘Browse’ page — then you will see results. Don’t be afraid to cop: you have to download hard to seed hard. Remember, (and this might be the most important thing we say all day) it’s not about ratio, it’s about buffer. What’s better, a 7.0 ratio with 10GB uploaded or a 3.5 ratio with 50GB uploaded? Do the math. If you want a nice buffer, there’s no time to be a music snob. Yeah, we all know the new Jason Mraz record is unspeakably bad. But just because you downloaded it doesn’t mean you have to listen to it. Snatch it, seed it, and use that buffer on something for Mom. Maybe a Joni Mitchell record. Or maybe just treat yourself to that Gary Glitter’s Greatest Hits, if you so please. This isn’t rocket science, it’s simple arithmetic. Take note that the average empman’s last.fm charts are filled with the newest Finch and Yellowcard records. It’s about buffer.

So to reiterate, increase the size of your pipe so you can seed longer, harder, and faster, increase your storage solution so you can download more furiously, and develop your technique to increase that buffer by snatching records you have not the slightest intention of ever listening to. That’s what it’s all about, right?

The Scene R3ader is a mythical publication specializing in all things Mp3. It’s founders, Dupecheck (also known as The Human RSS Feed, Quick 1, The EMPeror, The Reporter, and Professor Proper) and Groundfloor (also known as Captain Torrent, Buffer Zone, The Donor, The EMPossible Feat, and The Overseeder), together known as The TWIN PIPES, are self proclaimed “runners of this shit” and “heavyweights in the emp game, n00b.” The views expressed by these phreaks are not necessarily shared by Trumbull Magazine.