This guest post is by David Barrett, he's is the founder of Expensify.
Attention people of the year 2000. At long last, and to no surprise to anyone, your beloved Limewire has been deemed illegal and shut down by the friendly folks at the RIAA. Don't panic, we've been through this before.
Here are ten things to expect in your near future:
- Nothing will change. At least, not at first. Depending on your version, Limewire will likely continue to function largely as normal.
- New versions of Limewire will appear. These will contain exciting enhancements, more typically called viruses, trojans, rootkits, spyware, and other general malware.
- The Limewire experience will slowly degrade. Download speeds will decrease, spam will increase, the selection will worsen, and everything will slowly fall apart without the oversight of Limewire, Inc.
- You will give up and start looking for alternatives. You'll eventually have one virus or spammy download too many and you'll conclude that even free is too expensive for what you're getting.
- You'll dabble with free streaming. You'll discover a wide range of online radio stations such as Pandora, Spotify, and Last.fm. For a while, you'll put your pirate days behind you.
- You'll discover BitTorrent. Eventually the limited selection and restricted experience of free streaming will frustrate you, and you'll realize that in the past decade while you were using Limewire, vastly superior pirate tools have become commonplace, and you'll regret not switching years ago.
- You will continue not buying music. Whatever reason you didn't a decade ago, that reason is still true today, and will likely remain true, forever.
- Piracy will gradually, inexorably increase. Limewire's "one file at a time" design is obsolete given that available bandwidth has increased substantially while file sizes have remained constant. Current-generation pirate tools don't bother with individual files, and you'll find you prefer to steal entire albums, discographies, or genre archives all at once.
- The music industry squanders yet another opportunity. Nothing meaningful changes for anybody, and nobody really benefits from Limewire shuttering, but there is now one fewer party even bothering with a pretense of legality, and thus one fewer partner to help with any attempt at genuine reform.
- Limewire's new service never launches, or is DOA. It's not their fault, they'll try really hard. But nothing has fundamentally changed since they opted not to license music then, so there's no particular reason why they should suddenly succeed now.
So fear not. In a year, you'll have forgotten all about Limewire, and will be safely using superior pirate tools that hide your activity better, download files faster, and have a much more comprehensive selection.
Limewire will forever retain a hallowed spot in pirate lore, but the future is so much more exciting than the past. Do not mourn, rejoice!
Doubtful, but maybe the music industry will catch up with reality and start offering a serious alternative to piracy. But alas, probably not, and as always, there's no reason to wait.