As Consumers Move to Streaming, RapidShare Announces Closure

RapidShare, the filesharing company founded thirteen years ago, and that has persisted through challenges both legal and cultural over the years, has announced it will be closing shop on March 31, 2015. "Thank you for many years of trust," the company's website reads, without a hint of irony.

The company was previously sued by German rights society GEMA, and fielded a court case stateside from the porn magazine Perfect 10 (the latter of which resulted in RapidShare countersuing the magazine, accusing it of being a copyright troll). Both cases were resolved in favor of RapidShare, and both prompted RapidShare to point out to rights organizations that they go "above and beyond safe harbor practices." That assertion was seemingly true, but it didn't prevent the company from remaining a bastion of music piracy throughout its operation.

RapidShare's closure comes amidst a huge shift in media consumption, away from files stored on a fan's computer and towards streaming. That shift has generally meant that consumers are moving towards legal solutions away from torrents and sites like RapidShare and Megaupload, though a study released yesterday found that piracy has also pivoted towards streaming. Music has some corollaries to that phenomenon -- YouTube was, before the launch of (and attendant controversy surrounding) Music Key, the world's most-visited and unlicensed music piracy site. SoundCloud too, before its recent steps to curtail the uploading of copyrighted works not owned by the person uploading them. But mostly, with "stream equivalent albums" up over double in the U.S. last year, the future of revenue from art is -- while diminished -- still promising.