The early Internet was weird. Like, Wild West kind of weird. You could upload everything and anything on pages that were jenky-looking HTML monsters where viruses lay in wake. Social media wasn’t even a concept, and the majority of people still relied on places like Tower Records to get their music. That is, unless you were one of those LimeWire-using degenerates.
Yeah, remember using LimeWire? It’s okay if you admit to it now, the Feds won’t come crashing through your door. For those of you who really aren’t familiar, LimeWire was a file-sharing platform in which people can download music illegally. It was the first real digital piracy platform used by those of us not willing to shell-out $0.99 to iTunes, but who were willing to risk downloading bugs galore through an incredibly shady system, because, you know, priorities.
Seriously, downloading files was like playing Minesweeper. Click on a file with even one spelling mistake, and you’re explaining to your parents why so many porn ads are suddenly popping up on the family desktop. There was also the risk that the song you downloaded was terrible in quality; that song you thought was by Blink-182 was actually some crap cover a ten year-old uploaded to the platform.
But it was free; it was any song you wanted right at your fingertips! From the popular to the obscure, in a matter of minutes it could be uploaded right on to your iPod. Even downloading the unforeseen covers was a delight; sometimes they were so good you ended up into the artist singing it. It was music discovery before Spotify was even a thought!
Despite all its illegitimate-ness, LimeWire attempted to survive as an actual business. It released multiple updates before legality issues forced it to close down in 2010. It was the end of an era, and signified the moment when the Wild West of the Internet became more L.A.
Now, as you listen to your smug Spotify or cleancut YouTube music, bow your heads in respect. Music streaming would not be where it is today if it hadn’t been for the Limewires out there paving the way. They’re the base of the Internet totems that allow for progress to prosper.
Author: Claudia Dimuro