Remember the days of Napster when 70 million users traded music, and life was good? Then the RIAA stepped in and sued Napster for copyright infringement and the happy days of sharing music for free were over. Napster then introduced Napster 2.0 which required users to pay a fee for the once free music which didn’t prove to be successful. Others have also taken the same route of offering free music, but then turn to make their service legal which then costs users money, and they fail.
Looking to the past to see how other file-sharing services have seen success in their efforts to build a legitimate business of selling music hasn’t phased Limewire who yesterday, announced that a music download store will be coming soon. The one attractive thing about it is that they will be selling DRM-free music from independent labels. DRM seems to be the route to take these days, so they at least have that going for them.
Unfortunately, when people think Limewire, they think free music. Users will presumably be offered a subscription package in which they’d be allowed a certain amount of songs every month for a set price. Those who have relied on Limewire for all of their free music certainly won’t be too interested in spending money for them.
If we look at what has happened with other file-sharing services in the past to determine what will happen here, I think we’ll see Limewire’s core user-base scattering off to find a new way to get their free music. Sorry Limewire, nice try.