Once known as a controversial file sharing platform, LimeWire is now officially back relaunching as an NFT marketplace. Yes, you read that right - an NFT marketplace. The first exclusive collections lined up include Travis Barker, Brandy, Nicky Jam, Aitch, Dillon Francis, FitLit Club featuring Jim Jones, Maino, Dave East and Fabolous, Gramatik, 7 Aurelius and Elijah Blake.
According to LimeWire, the initial set of collections represents the wide range of content available on its platform, from original tracks to artworks, as well as content with in-person experiences such as backstage passes or meet-and-greets and in Barker's case, a real drum kit. On LimeWire, collectors are able to purchase exclusive and unreleased music, video content, and digital artwork in the same way they would collect a rare painting or buy a limited edition vinyl of a song.
Other artists joining the platform include A$AP Mob's A$AP TyY, CJ Fly, Oritsé, Mollow, Luciana, Blacka Di Danca, Samuel Herb, Idalia Valles, Stefano Manrique, David Asante, DJ Monday, BXB LOVE, Noah Jvmes, A-SHO, PERFXN, and Rossi., among others. LimeWire explained that it is committed to lowering the barrier to entry into the NFT ecosystem for both artists and collectors new to the space by stripping away technical hurdles, radically simplifying user experience on the marketplace and with an overall mainstream-ready approach.
"We see a huge demand in the entertainment space for platforms that recognise and appreciate artists for their talent and put them in the driver's seat," said Paul and Julian Zehetmayr, co-CEOs of LimeWire. They added that LimeWire presents a new commercial opportunity for artists of all sizes and genres to engage with their fans, gain more exposure in a unique way and retain more of their earnings.
The partnership comes after LimeWire struck its first major music label partnership with Universal Music Group (UMG). UMG artists, as well as many of its iconic record labels such as Interscope Records, Republic Records, Def Jam Recordings, Capitol Records, Motown Records, and others. The labels will leverage the LimeWire marketplace as an additional platform to explore unique ways to engage with fans through digital music collectibles and Web3, and generate new revenue streams. As part of this partnership, UMG will provide licences that will allow LimeWire to partner with UMG artists in order to launch innovative music-based NFT projects utilising the LimeWire marketplace.
“We see this partnership as a true demonstration of the pace at which the music industry is embracing Web3,” said Paul and Julian Zehetmayr, LimeWire Co-CEOs. “We’re thrilled to open up the LimeWire NFT ecosystem to Universal Music Group artists and fans and can’t wait to see the first creative projects being launched on the marketplace.”
“Universal Music Group has always prioritised its artists’ creativity and valued fans’ desire to engage in innovative new ways. Now, NFTs are providing an exciting vehicle to enhance this connection between artists and audiences. This is why we are delighted to have partnered with LimeWire, who is focused on guiding everyday users into this expansive arena, in this new era of Web3 engagement and music appreciation,” said Jonathan Dworkin, EVP, digital business Development and Strategy at Universal Music Group.
LimeWire also raised US$10.4million in a private sale of its LMWR token led by large VC firms, Deadmau5’s 720Mau5 venture fund, as well as DAO Jones, a group of investors consisting of high-profile members from the music industry, including well-known electronic music artist Steve Aoki. Using LimeWire, artists signed to UMG can now offer audio recordings, audiovisual content, backstage footage and any artwork and images as NFTs on the LimeWire marketplace and sell them directly to fans and collectors. Musicians can release bonus tracks and exclusive material, sell uncut or backstage content, and much more.
The original Limewire was founded in 2000 as a music platform and shut down in 2010 due to copyright infringement. Subsequently, there was a US$105 million out-of-court settlement between former LimeWire CEO Mark Gorton and major record companies. In March, Bloomberg reported that a pair of Austrian entrepreneurs purchased the rights to LimeWire and plan to refresh the brand's image for the next generation of Internet users by selling NFTs attached to music, content, and artworks.
The current LimeWire team has no affiliation with the original founding team and the new company will provide musicians a chance to obtain more revenue from their music than they would on streaming platforms such as Apple Music or Spotify, Bloomberg reported. Julian Zehetmayr previously said that LimeWire is "a very iconic name" and there are still several people who are nostalgic about it. The transactions done on LimeWire will mainly be carried out in cryptocurrencies and the platform will support the purchasing and trading of music-related NFTs.
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