Simon Tai: Former RNS Member is a DJ Today

One of the major reasons why Paramount+’s ‘How Music Got Free’ is so factually accurate and offers a nuanced understanding of the mp3 world’s breakout and its subsequent suppression is its inclusion of interviews with numerous industry insiders. Among them is Simon Tai, who was just in college when he got involved with one of the leading piracy chat channels online. He comes forward with his story, explaining his participation and the mindset and operational tactics of his group. His candid account adds a poignant and compelling element to the documentary.

Simon Tai Was Able to Save Himself From Police Charges

In 1997, Simon Tai joined the University of Pennsylvania to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Biology, but the world of music truly captured his interest. He often found himself in charge of the music at parties and small gatherings, which spurred his interest in DJing. He quickly became the go-to DJ for all his friends and college mates. Around the same time, Simon found his way into a group called RNS, a leading music piracy group. RNS was known for distributing pirated music, often releasing albums before their official launch dates, and played a significant role in the early days of online music piracy.

At first, Simon was handed the responsibility of being a “ripper,” a person tasked with extracting music from records, compressing it, and uploading it to the group’s server. From there, the music would reach popular websites like LimeWire and Napster. His responsibilities increased when he secured a job at the college radio station and eventually became its manager. Being in charge of the mail to the station gave him early access to some music releases. Simon would siphon these off to his room and “rip” them for use on RNS websites. He shared that two of his biggest releases were Ludacris’ first album ‘Back for the First Time’ and OutKast’s ‘Stankonia.’

Simon shared that he had been able to justify the work to himself because he believed that as long as he wasn’t profiting from it, he was contributing to the greater good and, therefore, not doing anything wrong. He also discussed his close relationship with the leader of the RNS group, Kali, with whom he conversed for years without ever revealing his identity. Simon also revealed how, as a valuable contributor to the group, he had access to “top sites,” exclusive websites where the most coveted and guarded pirated music was stored. He admitted to being a source of this music for his friends, although they were unaware of his active involvement in an illegal chat channel.

When the crackdown on music piracy and groups like RNS occurred, Simon was still a part of it. When Kali decided to close the group on January 19, 2007, the imminent threat was palpable, and soon enough, the FBI came knocking on his door. Simon stated that he became an informant for them, providing a rundown of the group’s operations, and even testified in court during the trial of some members in 2009. It is for these reasons that he was never charged with any crimes.

Where is Simon Tai Now?

Until 2006, Simon Tai worked in IT support for the University of Pennsylvania, his alma mater. In 2008, he realized his passion for pursuing a career in music and DJing. Securing gigs for friends’ weddings and other events significantly boosted him to co-found Remixologists with a friend, an event and wedding DJ company. In the years following, Simon held positions as a Systems Administrator for Workspeed and a Systems Engineer for MRI Software LLC. However, since his tenure with MRI Software LLC ended in 2013, he has focused solely on his company and his work as a DJ.

Now also known as Taiga, Simon has achieved numerous successes in his career. He served as the VIP DJ for Bruno Mars during his 24K Magic World Tour concerts in the Northeast and was also invited to perform at the Democratic National Convention Afterparty in 2016. Additionally, he has played for Coldplay and gained popularity in the top clubs and lounges of New York and Philadelphia. While his heart lies in hip-hop, pop, and rock music, he also has a keen interest in international genres such as Bollywood and Persian music, among others.

In June 2024, Simon had the opportunity to serve as a first-time ambassador at the Engage! 24 Summit, where he had the chance to meet and network with others in his field. He received much appreciation for his work during the event. Simon and his wife, Monica Tai, have made their home in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, since their marriage in 2009. They have two adorable children, Miles and Harper. He describes himself as a lover of shawarma, among other cuisines, and says his love for music has only increased over the years. He is leading a blissful life, and seeing everything work out so well for him is lovely.

Read More: Todd Shaffer: Former RNS Member is Working at Amazon Today