Tuesday Lime Wire LLC Director of Partner Relations Tom Monday said that the company will close its online LimeWire Store on December 31, 2010. The news arrives shortly after Lime Wire LCC was pushed into pursuing legal avenues to provide music after a federal court ruling forced it to discontinue the LimeWire P2P client.
"Fore nearly three years, LimeWire Store has worked with forward-thinking partners to grow our catalog, build a customer base, and create new revenue streams," the company said in an email to vendors on Tuesday. "Although we can't continue, we are grateful for the opportunity to work with all the artists, labels, and content providers that have made LimeWire Store possible. We're extremely proud of the things we've accomplished together."
As of November 30, the LimeWire Store stopped accepting new customers, however the store will remain online for current subscribers until the end of the year so that they can redeem credits. "We will be in touch shortly regarding delivery stoppage, agreement termination, and final accounting," Monday added.
It's unclear as to why the online store is shutting its doors. As All Things Digital points out, the service was legit, offering content to consumers in the same way Apple offers content through iTunes. It's quite possible that Lime Wire LLC just didn't land enough deals with the larger labels to keep it afloat. It's also quite possible that the legal woes surrounding the P2P client and the upcoming January court proceedings—which determine how much the company actually owes for copyright violations-- have prevented the company from properly funding the store.
In addition to closing its online store, Lime Wire LLC has reportedly abandoned it efforts to launch a new, legal music service that had been in the works for the past year. "The company had been talking up the prospects of the new service, and had invited me to see a preview of it even after the court ruling that shuttered its illegal file-sharing service," reports Peter Kafka. "But LimeWire later rescinded the invitation, and said that its lawyers had advised it not to discuss the new service."
Again, this probably stems from issues surrounding the defunct P2P client. Lime Wire LLC is likely to be liquidating its assets in advance of the court proceedings. However until Lime Wire LLC steps forward and offers a solid reason, it's merely speculation at this point.