LimeWire is ready to return, but not as you know

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  • By Emily Nicolle/Bloomberg

Two serial entrepreneurs in Austria have bought the rights to defunct music platform LimeWire with the intention of revamping its image for the next generation of the internet by selling non-fungible tokens (NFTs) attached to music, content and to art.

LimeWire, one of the earliest iterations of web-based music consumption with a reputation as a haven for illegal downloads, ended in controversy in 2010 after a judge shut down the company for infringing copyright, which was later followed by a $105 million release. -legal settlement between major record companies and Mark Gorton, then CEO of LimeWire.

Now brothers Paul and Julian Zehetmayr hope to use the fame of LimeWire in the early 2000s to lure users to their new cryptosphere platform, with the two having spent most of the last year steadily acquiring the various parts. of the LimeWire brand.

Launched in May with no affiliation to the original LimeWire team, the new company, LimeWire GmbH, is to offer musicians a chance to make more revenue from their music than they could on other sites such as Spotify. or Apple Music.

“It’s a very iconic name. Even if you look on Twitter today, there are hundreds of people who are still nostalgic for the name,” said Julian Zehetmayr, who will act as co-chief executive alongside by Paul Zehetmayr.

“Everyone connects it to music and we’re launching a very music-focused market initially, so the brand was really the perfect fit for that with its heritage,” he said.

LimeWire will debut with support for the purchase and exchange of music-related NFTs, such as exclusive songs, merchandise, graphic arts, and experiences such as behind-the-scenes content.

The startup is also set to launch its own utility token via a private sale within the next three weeks, which would be used as a loyalty program, Paul Zehetmayr said.

Unlike other NFT marketplaces that primarily transact in cryptocurrencies, all assets on LimeWire must be denominated in US dollars, in order to expand its marketing to a mass audience, with payments accepted in crypto or currency fiduciary.

The platform is also to offer bitcoin and ethereum wallets, as well as custodial services for the tokens themselves, facilitated by a partnership with blockchain payment company Wyre Inc.

About 10 “really mainstream” artists have signed up to be part of LimeWire’s offering so far, Julian Zehetmayr said.

Additionally, members of HER’s award-winning artist and Wu-Tang Clan management teams will join the startup’s board as advisors, alongside Wyre CEO Ioannis Giannaros and the company’s consultancy NFT 6 Agency, which facilitated the purchase of a rare Wu-Tang Clan album from the US government for PleasrDAO last year.

The acquisition of LimeWire’s assets and all current business activities are funded from the own pockets of Zehetmayr, who have left two of their own start-ups in recent years.

Although Paul Zehetmayr said this has provided LimeWire with a strong lead for the foreseeable future, Julian Zehetmayr added that the company may seek outside funding later this year.

LimeWire’s metamorphosis into an NFT marketplace presents an interesting juxtaposition: its new founders are taking a brand known for its role in pirated music and introducing it to an industry still looking to shed a reputation for selling scams. and overpriced image files.

Still, the Zehetmayrs are indifferent, saying “the benefits definitely outweigh any controversy.”

“After about 12 years of the platform being shut down, all the controversy that might have existed in the past with the music industry has turned into nostalgia,” said Paul Zehetmayr.

To avoid any further legal complications related to the LimeWire brand, upcoming crypto-asset regulations in Europe or even bad actors attempting to use the platform, the pair said they have incorporated anti-money laundering controls money maker and hired accounting giant EY to scrutinize his project. Activities.

The majority of revenue would also go to artists, with the platform taking a small share, said Julian Zehetmayr.

Jeanine McLean-Williams, adviser to LimeWire and president of MBK Entertainment, which represents her among others, said that she was particularly focused on the opportunity that NFTs could provide to bring more equality in the fields of crypto and music.

“I love that the team is smart, innovative and diverse,” McLean-Williams said in an email. “As an African-American veteran in the entertainment industry, I look forward to more women being educated and involved in the world of NFTs.”

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