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How To Lay Cuckoo's Eggs

Here's a brief overview of how to lay your own Cuckoo's Eggs in the Napster nest.
  1. Download and install Kazaa or BearShare
  2. Download or rip songs for use as eggs.
  3. Edit the songs adding noise, sounds, and other info
  4. Copy your MP3 file into the Napster directories.
  5. Connect to Napster and start laying eggs

Step 1. Kazaa and BearShare make this step fairly easy, simply follow the directions on their page. The laying of eggs will work best if you can install the programs on multiple machines so you have the best chance of letting many users connect.

Step 2.  You can either rip songs from a CD using Musicmatch or CoolEdit or use Kazaa to download popular songs.  Pick more popular songs for maximum demand; remixes or duets are very popular downloads as are live recordings. Try and use songs from artists who've expressed disapproval of file sharing.  Don't use songs from artists who support file sharing and/or freely distribute their music in one form or another (ie. Live Phish, Greatful Dead, etc...).

Step 3. This step requires a sound editor. We use Cool Edit, which is available as shareware (please register).  Open the song file you are going to use, leave about 20-90 seconds of the real song intact and then replace the remainder with silence, white noise, or other sound files. Before you replace the original music make a note of how long the original song is and then trim the sound you attach to match that amount amount as closely as possible. You are welcome to use our Cuckoo Egg sound file.  The final step is to save the file in MP3 format and copy it into your P2P program's shared directory.

Additional Steps:
A good way to spread the word is to post teaser messages in various newsgroups and mailing lists. A note to the effect of "Have you seen the new remix of Eminem on Kazaa?" will generate additional downloads and "buzz" about the song.

Be creative... name your files after some particularly controversial or rare song. Take a popular song and add "Live - NYC" or "Studio Outtake". Listen for what the hot new songs are that are being traded - whenever a musician has an album slated for release it's worth checking around to see if someone has already begun to circulate it on the network. The possibilities for creative promotion of your creation are endless.

Remember to also change P2P user id's periodically to keep folks who may have marked you as an egger guessing. It's also best if you can rotate different songs through you files.

The Latest on the New Release's (hatchlings)

4/25/2004 - Updated the press links...some articles were moved offline.

3/29/2001 - We've moved egg laying to Gnutella full-time now, primarily using BearShare. We're only averaging 1000 downloads of eggs per day, but that's not bad for only one PC. :-)

(Older news follows)

The new strain of cuckoo eggs is a more hearty and virulent strain to say the least. We are certain that this latest release will place this project beyond the narrow confines which have thus far defined it as a promotional gimmick - this time the only thing that is being promoted is debate about on-line piracy.

The new project involved putting songs on Napster that were constructed in the following manner. First we gathered approximately 45 top forty type songs then we snipped of all but the first 30 - 45 seconds and finally, just after the brief original intro we inserted a sound file that says "Congratulations - You must've goofed up somewhere." We followed this with cuckoo clock sounds for the remainder of the file. Naturally we made certain to make the songs the original length. FYI. The first voice is a sample from Sally, Charlie Brown's sister and the second voice is Mr. Spacely. Both voices were taken from a website that sells cd's of sound effects.

The nasty thing about these eggs/mp3 files is:

1. Napster users are more likely to download songs to completion even if they listen to a bit of the song as it downloads - which most don't.

2. If they don't listen to it right away and discover the true contents then the file will be visible to other Napster users as whatever artist name and track title it was originally labeled with and therefore is likely to be downloaded from them... further spreading the eggs. It's important to note here, that the first batch only appeared to be a particular band when downloaded from one of our machines because it was stored in that bands folder on our hard drive. In only one case did we actually name the file - Bruce Springsteen_American Skin (studio version) and that file is still on a number of strangers computers - even though it doesn't contain what it purports to be. If that was only one file that didn't even contain a misleading intro... think of the possibilities for 40 or more... Ooooh.

3. We are only using music that is album material, not live or unrecorded and therefore somehow excusable according to the way some Napsterites view the habits.

4. We have sampled  a much more diverse cross section of music, after all,  it's not fair just to pick on Brittney Spears fans.

Now the great news which confirmed our suspicions about people downloading to completion - there are approximately 1700 complete transfers happening a day (conservative estimate) - plus about 300 or so that either time out or have transfer errors. Previously there were only 500 and that was with all the machines going, at present we are only using 7out of 10 machines. Remember - these files are labeled to appear to be legitimate music files and will live longer and breed more...

We have tested this theory by monitoring the habits of those who download the latest eggs and it appears that 2/3 of those who download to completion immediately share the new song. This observation bears out or theory that there are more of these eggs out there than most folks think.

We have read the posts that talk about how most Napster users have high bandwidth and will simply listen to the files to determine the legitimacy of the content. We have also heard about the idea for blacklisting users who you determine are passing eggs. We have responded to these proposals on various segments of this pages discussion board and on others, so we shall leave it at that.


If you are a music lover or musician we hope this tiny list will help you in your online music pursuits. We know it's a short list and therefore we welcome any feedback on who should or should not be on this list.  BTW, we don't get any money for listing these folks.

General Music Sites w/ worthwhile links pages.

Internet Music Resource Guide
Women & music - Indiegrrlgogirls
Mining Company


Get heard and hear music.
The Orchard


Buying or selling items related to music?



List your tour dates:


Recording at home?
oasis cd



Further Napster discussion issues
Society for Independent Musical Artists

If you have a link to suggest please contact us. All stories that are related will be considered regardless of whether they are pro or con in relation to the  file-sharing debate.

About the Cuckoo Bird
Cuckoo Bird "Among the 47 species of cuculines, various adaptations enhance the survival of the young cuckoo: egg mimicry, in which the cuckoo egg resembles that of the host, thus minimizing rejection by the host; removal of one or more host eggs by the adult cuckoo, reducing both the competition from host nestlings and the danger of recognition by the host that an egg has been added to the nest"

Encyclopedia Brittanica

Learn more about the real cuckoo bird at Brittanica Online.


If you'd like to discuss the Cuckoo's Egg Project, join us in our online discussion forum.