Monthly Musings: What Happened to Limewire?

The other day I stumbled across a meme, the contents of this particular meme showed Abe Simpson with a load of kids gathered around listening to him speak, it looked as though he was certainly imparting wisdom and I can already hear you ask what wisdom it was (Those that don’t follow me on Insta anyways, if you don’t get at it)?

Gather round children as I regale a tale as old as dial up, that’s right kids we’re going way back to a time when your Mom would cut short your MSN chirpse of that bird you had no chance with by picking up the phone to bell your Nan! Well probably just after that because we’re talking Limewire, the Aids of the Computer during the early to mid 00’s.

Nowadays we suffer far less but back during the days of MSN there was limited access to music, if someone dropped an album and you didn’t have the money you had to land HMV and pop the disc out the case (Then they stopped leaving the disc in which made it really hard!), share it via Bluetooth or download it through Limewire.

Limewire for those that don’t know was a peer-to-peer sharing tool released in May 2000, it was like a one-stop-shop for all your virtual needs from movies to music, yeah sometimes it would take a full day to download such was the speed available at the time and then at the end of it you’d have three hours of whale music rather than the latest G-Unit release but that was all part of the fun. There were genuinely albums with talking at the start or end of the track that I had no idea existed until I invested in Spotify a couple of years ago, all because I’d downloaded them through Limewire.

Whilst it was good there were of course some serious legal ramifications that were quite simply overlooked, the fact that file sharing is a copyright infringement was one of these such ramifications and when Napster got locked off you knew it was only a matter of time before they’d come for Limewire too. There was also the intrusive nature of the way you would share files themselves, how easy it would be for a cyber criminal to come in as you essentially handed them the keys to the door in exchange for the latest Ja Rule and Ashanti banger!

Broadband then came along and you could literally fill your MP3 in minutes with all the songs you could imagine so what were you expected to do as a young kid? Learn about spyware? Worry how the internet was ruining the profiteering of the music industry? Go to the cinema to watch a film not filmed by some shaky geezer who has to hide the camera under his jacket? Abso-fucking-lutely not mate!

So to the question itself, what became of this nostalgic piece of software? Well the inevitable really, Limewire was found guilty of facilitating mass copyright infringement and the software stopped being distributed in 2010 with versions 5.5.11 and onward locking people out but as time has moved on would Limewire even be that relevant today? Probably not in all honesty Prime, Spotify and Netflix have all made it so we can be entertained for free as it is while the artists still collect some money for it, plus who still uses an MP3 player?

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