Early, mastered versions of albums sent to radio stations and reviewers before retail release. Advance versions of albums occasionally differ to the retail versions, such as different tracklistings, samples or entire songs replaced.

Until a few years ago, advance copies could be received 2-3 months or more before retail dates. However - with the rise of piracy - studios have placed greater restrictions on these early versions, be it watermarking, private listening sessions for major albums or shorter intervals between advance/retail copies.


An online dupe-checking system, created in 1997 and online until the Operation Buccaneer raids of 2001.


A council of sorts, formed in 1999 with the aim of increasing distribution of mp3 releases. The group ran XDCC IRC bots, public FTPs and a website ( that listed new releases, all of which helped improve the spread of releases outside the scene. MP3HQ would also keep a tally of releases by the major groups, displayed in the form of a scoreboard. Kludge Sound Inc (KSi) was initially created as a courier group for MP3HQ, but by the end of 99 had become a fully-fledged release group, albeit with links to the other.


The earliest known attempt at a formalised set of rules in the mp3 scene and named after the Standards Of Piracy Association, the first set of official rules for the PC game scene, created in 1996. The mp3 rules were organised in 1998 but were a failure according to the groups at that time. The RIAA rules, introduced in late 1998, were the first successful ruleset for the mp3 scene.


The classifying of a warez release as bad, faulty or otherwise disallowed by the scene. More information on Wikipedia.

Operation Buccaneer

A large-scale international piracy investigation beginning in 2000 and culminating in the December 2001 arrest of many sceners across 6 countries. More on Wikipedia.


The first successful set of rules for the mp3 scene, organised in December 1998. The ruleset was signed by leaders of the dominant groups at the time: aPC, RNS, UMA, ATM and AMOK. Key points included requiring SFV files with all releases, standardised directory names and restricting allowed mp3 encoders.


Simple File Verification. A checksum file included with warez releases to verify the integrity of the release.


An FTP server used by the scene to distribute releases. More information on Wikipedia