audiograbber ->remix site/forums ->lame ->hydrogenaudio ->NOW...i wouldn't be surprised if that was really common (back then) it seemed like a bunch of people (newbies, like me) came to HA with a bunch of funny ideas from roel... later
For me it was Napster. I decided to install it one night and see what the fuss was all about. I started doing searches for tunes and kept finding them. I immediately had to find out how people were making these MP3 things.