officially shut its doors in October
, and many potential pirates have been left in a lurch wondering where they can get the latest Lady Gaga album for free. Alternatives like FrostWire and BitTorrent
have seen an uptick in use since the insanely popular sharing network went down, but not quite the jump one would have expected. In fact, since the courts brought down the P2P file-sharing network, music piracy in the U.S. is down
-- way down. The percentage of Web-connected Americans sharing music online has dropped from 16-percent to just 9-percent since the injunction in October. What's more, those still sharing music online are downloading less. The average number of songs downloaded over a three-month period by active file sharers fell nearly 50-percent, to only 18 tracks in the fourth quarter of 2010.
It may simply be that it will take some time for those who relied on LimeWire to find a new source of free music. But, if they don't, will this affect profits at the record companies? Whether or not piracy has a significant effect on music sales is a hotly debated topic. After spending so much time and effort lobbying to have LimeWire shut down, if sales don't start picking up soon, the RIAA
will look more foolish than it does already.