Hacking and hackers used to have different definitions. It used to be about breaking technological boundaries, gaining computer science, and doing ever-increasingly impressive feats, sometimes destructive for the sake of being destructive. Hackers in the 1980's and 1990's were generally not interested in credit card numbers or stealing money, but rather clout and "freeing" information ("data theft"). Just check out all the movies from the 90s, like Hackers and Takedown. Remember the stories of phreaking and other "victimless" crimes (corporations were often not considered "victims"). Hacking wasn't usually done for personal financial gain, just clout.
Historically, viruses would infect the boot sectors of floppy drives so it could further infect more systems if the floppy was left in the drive on bootup. They would spread over insecure network protocols to prove that those protocols were insecure. They would use system libraries and installed programs to demonstrate vulnerabilities in Flash, JPEG, or other file formats. The fact that the virus ended up on CDs was probably completely unintentional. Even as late as a few years ago, the Blue Pill hypervisor virus proved it was possible to make a virus that could hide underneath the OS, making it effectively impossible to remove while it was running.
So, to understand why this virus did "nothing," all you have to do is put yourself in the mindset of a 1990's era hacker. You had all this technology in front of you. You had no idea how it worked, but you wanted to know. You'd try all kinds of scientific experiments. Some of those experiments would have unintended side effects. For example, a virus that "accidentally" infected an insecure computer that was responsible for storing the data to be used on a CD. The purpose wasn't harm, or theft, but simply curiosity. This virus did exactly what it set out to do: prove that a system was insecure. That's not "nothing."
Nobody would have sent out CDs that just had a virus on them with nothing else. That wouldn't be how a hacker would operate. They would, however, infect a data server so that a virus could be spread to other systems, just to prove that it could be done. Many such viruses were about demonstrating vulnerabilities, and thanks to those viruses, we have robust antivirus software, many advancements in computer security at the hardware level, even to the point of encrypting an OS in memory so the hypervisor cannot read the memory, and so on. If it were not for these viruses, cybercriminals would have had a much easier time over the past few decades than they have.