STOCKHOLM/LONDON – File-sharing service LimeWire, which shut down in 2011 amid music industry fire, is making a comeback as a digital collectibles marketplace for art and entertainment , initially focusing on music.
Launched in 2000, LimeWire became the world’s largest outlet for people to share music, movies and TV shows on the Internet for free, attracting 50 million monthly users at its peak.
Blaming piracy as a major reason for declining music sales, record labels sued LimeWire in 2006, forcing it to close five years later. But now LimeWire plans to jump on the latest Internet bandwagon: NFTs.
A non-fungible token (NFT) is a crypto asset that uses blockchain to record who owns a digital file such as an image or video.
While NFTs would allow artists and musicians to have more control over digital copies of their work – repairing the damage caused by illegal streaming – the nascent market is full of scams, frauds and market manipulation.
It was a complex process for the new team – led by co-CEOs Paul Zehetmayr and Julian Zehetmayr – to own the LimeWire intellectual properties after 12 years of inactivity.
LimeWire said it will partner with the music industry and artists, who can sell pre-release music, unreleased demos, graphic artwork, exclusive live releases, as well as digital and behind-the-scenes content.
The new LimeWire team, spread across Austria, Germany and the UK, plans to launch the service in May that would allow music fans and collectors to buy and trade a variety of music-related assets.
“We want to open doors for small, medium and large artists with a lot of moderation and curation,” Zehetmayr said.
It plans to give up to 90% of revenue to artists and seeks to onboard one million users in the first year.
“LimeWire kind of laid the foundation for music streaming…it’s a legacy of the internet and we’re grateful to be able to turn it into something for the music industry,” Zehetmayr said.