LimeWire was one of the leading P2P file-sharing services back in the 2000s – when YouTube wasn't big and Spotify was yet to enter the field – until it was shut down because of major copyright infringements. Fast forward to 2022, the website is relaunching… but as a digital collectibles marketplace.
LimeWire isn't the only 2000s file-sharing website that was bought to be reincarnated as an NFT platform – Napster was recently acquired yet again, this time by Hivemind (which also invested in LimeWire) and Algorand, to become a web3 service. At the moment, the wolves of Wall Street seem to be nostalgic about the web1 and web2 platforms and want to bring them into the web3 field.
Julian Zehetmayr and Paul Zehetmayr, the two founders and co-CEO of the revived platform, acquired the social media accounts, domain, and all the brand assets to turn LimeWire into a web3 service. "The original [website] has been shut down about 11 years ago, but there has still been so much use, social media communication, community, frequent tweets about LimeWire every single day, and hype around the brand," Marcus Feistl, LimeWire COO, tells me. "We just thought it was the perfect fit for the web3 space and the move from web2 to web3 in the music business."
"The real intention was to use that nostalgia and social media followership and transition it to web3."
Given that many current NFT and digital collectibles marketplaces require a lot of knowledge – and fancy things like a crypto wallet – to actually buy something and take part, LimeWire focused on building a product that was as easy to use as possible. "Most web3 communities are very exclusive to a very badly educated crypto community. Everybody else is extremely struggling to understand what's happening and then onboard to those platforms," Marcus says. To become a member of LimeWire, however, you don't need to use crypto in order to buy your favorite artist's collectibles. There are a variety of payment options, from card or bank transfers to cryptocurrency, which invites a much broader fanbase. Plus, the registration process is as easy as creating a Facebook account.
Currently, the platform is in the invite-only stage and has the "join waitlist" option for both creators and fans. "What we want to do is open the platform for NFT creators in the next weeks so they can start setting up the projects and submit their content for approval," the COO shares, explaining that all of the content that would be available on the platform would be curated by the team in order to make sure the quality is right. At the end of June, LimeWire is planning to open the marketplace for everybody, allowing them to buy non-fungible tokens.
In Feistl's words, the service has been successful in getting "the right investors, partners, and artists." As of the moment, LimeWire signed around 30 outline artists: big headliners and well-known artists who will work on projects, and the team is hoping to onboard 50-100 smaller musicians too. The selection process for emerging artists has closed and the creators are now in the process of preparing to launch content.
"It's quite an interesting story: the P2P concept behind the original LimeWire is pretty much what paved the way for crypto and streaming platforms – we believe this is something we can achieve again, just with a different concept."
For now, LimeWire positions itself as a platform that helps artists earn additional revenue streams and meet new audiences. "The idea is to provide unique content to the fans in a very scarce or limited way: it's not meant for the entire portfolio, [but rather] special content that's never been released," Marcus says, adding that through such content you're able to build a community since it's much more about the super fans that actually want to own a piece of your artwork.
The concept of exclusive content looks different for every creator. While some offer real-life perks like meet-and-greet sessions and listening sessions, others give a chance to join them for an exclusive dinner. "It can really be anything and gives [the artist] much more opportunity to engage with the community," the COO concludes.
To build the artist-fan relationship further, LimeWire will be rolling out a set of features (it's a secret), including a community feature that will display the artists on the page. Feistl thinks providing additional utility could also be a possibility to get the community to stay engaged.
Speaking of utilities – the platform has its own utility token, LMWR token, which it recently sold in a closed private deal. Investors include Crypto.com Capital, Hivemind, 720Mau5, DeepTech Ventures, and DAO Jones. "The idea was to get the right partners on board for the long run," Marcus elucidates. LimeWire is planning on collaborating with some of them on special partnerships in the crypto space, and with others in the music and entertainment field.
While the company recently announced it's teaming up with Universal Music Group, Marcus admitted he couldn't spill any news regarding upcoming partnerships and LimeWire's next steps yet. "Right now, we are focusing on the launch," he concludes. There are a lot of exciting partnerships coming up though – stay tuned!
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