"The Orchard's top flight, broad and diverse music repertoire will enrich our users' music-buying experience," LimeWire CFO Jesse Rubenfeld said in a statement. "I believe this partnership will help expand the digital music market for us and will equally benefit our artist and label partners."
The addition of so many smaller artists may help LimeWire gain a slightly stronger foothold among the other music stores that are known for their indie selections, like eMusic and Amie Street. We're not convinced that it will help expand the company's share of the overall digital music market.
LimeWire first introduced its DRM-free music store in April of this year, selling legit tracks on the web while still keeping up its P2P network alive and well on the desktop. At the time, we found selection to be lacking—there were only half a million MP3s to choose from, almost entirely from independent labels and none whatsoever from the Big Four labels. Even among the somewhat well-known artists on the site (like those available through Nettwerk Productions), there weren't many songs. LimeWire simply didn't have a lot of ammo to compete against the big dogs—iTunes or Amazon MP3—or even smaller dogs, which at least offer more features than LimeWire.
And therein lies the problem. With a limited selection (although today's deal will help—a little), no unique features, and LimeWire's flourishing P2P network, why would anyone choose to buy legit music from LimeWire? As long as P2P continues to be what LimeWire is known for, it's going to remain difficult to land deals with major labels. And with nothing more than a handful of tracks from those popular artists, the masses will not come when they have so many other options.