LimeWire to re-launch as legal music service

Embattled peer to peer (P2P) service LimeWire will bow to legal pressures and re-launch as a lawful music download service sometime soon.

The new service will cater to users looking to download and stream music through the new LimeWire infrastructure that could launch before the end of 2010.

According to Digital Music News, the new legal service will be a subscription-based service that includes an “ecosystem” made up of PC and mobile apps.

Interestingly, legal LimeWire would receive Apple’s blessing with iTunes support included:  “Users will have complete and instant access to their entire library and catalog across their desktop, devices, and in the cloud,” a LimeWire official told Digital Music News.  “By syncing iTunes playlists and content to the cloud, users’ existing libraries are available to access and stream to a wide range of connected devices.”

The cloud-based, RIAA-approved music store would be a major victory for the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)  —  as the tradegroup continues to shutdown illegal peer-to-peer operations.

“Essentially, the new music service will be an eco-system comprised of a desktop media player, mobile applications and a Web-based music experience for downloading and streaming,” said Tiffany Guamaccia, LimeWire spokesperson.

Both music copyright and publisher groups have targeted LimeWire with legal attacks over the few months.  The floodgates opened for LimeWire last month after a legal ruling left the company in legal limbo against copyright groups.

The RIAA wants LimeWire shut down for good, but would likely support a legitimate service launch.  If the service does legitimize its business, the lawsuits could be dropped in favor of a monetary settlement from LimeWire.

If LimeWire does go legit before the end of the year, its users will likely seek out other free P2P programs.  Even though I think it will have lost almost all of its appeal, I’m still interested in giving legal LimeWire a shot before shooting it down.