(I'm talking general audiences here, not music nerds)
People bailed on pirating cus it was too difficult. Most people don't have the patience to learn a weird program and navigate some bizarre corner of the internet surrounded by porn ads or whatever and learn the handful of steps to make pirating work even if it's free. One thing streaming has proven is that people prefer paid convenience (or ad-supported convenience) over piracy the majority of the time.
what.cd is dead now by the way. now it's Redacted.ch all the way baybeeeeee!