Music Piracy Miniguide25 Jan 2017
Call me old-fashioned, but I don't like to be dependent on an internet connection.
I'm also a bit of a pirate at heart
P). So let's get started.
This is the option I use most often, because it is so damn easy. Go on YouTube, then use the website flvto. Or even better, download their desktop app for Windows/OSX which enables HD downloads, and automatic detection of YouTube URLs in the clipboard. They also have addons for most browsers.
The downside of downloading from YouTube is that quality tends to be somewhat variable. I'm no audiophile and so if it sounds good to me, I download it.
Songr is an app that searches a bunch of websites (include Grooveshark and Prostopleer) for MP3 downloads. I don't use it very much, YouTube + flvto is easier, and the options in the next section are more comprehensive. Nevertheless it has been around for a while, and it's good to know that it is available.
Full Albums (& Single Tracks)
Spotiload (formerly Spotify VK Downloader)
Spotiload is a chrome extension that lets you download songs from Spotify. Except it doesn't, really. Instead, you have to be logged on the Russian social network VK.com, which for some reason holds a huge collection of MP3s. You'll then be able to search for the music you're listening to on Spotify and download it from VK.
A small pain point is that you can only download songs 4 at at time, so you cannot leave you album download unattended. It has also happened to me that Spotiload couldn't find some songs on VK (the song wasn't on YouTube either, but I finally got it from Deezer). That should be exceedingly rare however.
There doesn't seem to be any reliable way to download music from Spotify itself at the time of writing. VK, howver, doesn't seem very intent to crack down on illegal downloads, so this seems like a good option for now.
While searching for a song I couldn't find by any other means, I stumbled on this reddit conversation introducing a Deezer desktop downloader. It works really well.
The caveat is that I'm not too confident about it being able to work for long. Like Spotify, Deezer is intent on cracking down on downloads. There seems to be a few other Deezer downloaders around, so who knows.
PS: I goes without saying that if you're looking to replace anything on this guide, the Piracy sub-reddit is a good place to start looking.
Private BitTorrent Trackers
In general, BitTorrent is lousy for album downloads. However, there exist specialized trackers where you can find all the music you want. If only it was that easy...
First, these trackers usually require you to be invited by an existing member. Sometimes, you can pass an interview (I kid you not) to be invited.
Once you're invited, you're required to maintain a positive seed ratio (upload as much as you download). That doesn't seem like much, but it can actually be pretty challenging. First because everyone is trying to maintain/improve their ratio, so there is more upload capacity than demand. Second, because when you are starting out, you will have nothing to upload! Usually you can download without uploading at the beginning, to get a starting stash. Still, that doesn't always suffice. Some trackers have freeleech albums where downloads don't count towards your ratio, but uploads do, the goal being to generate some easy upload for users. Incidentally this is also why many people use seeboxes (servers dedicated to torrenting): those have high upload bandwidth, so you can increase your upload faster.
It's a bit of a crazy world, and I haven't found the need to engage in this sillyness so far, but you never know.
It seems that the best option currently is Pass The Headphones and Apollo (formerly Xanax). Over the years, the best options have been OiNK, What.cd and Waffles.cd. Some of these grew quite famous, but ultimately they all closed or were closed.
The definitive source of info about private trackers is the Trackers sub-reddit.