LimeWire was one of the most popular torrenting applications in the early 2000s. The original app was discontinued over a decade ago, but now the name is back to sell music-based NFTs.
Back in 2021, Paul and Julian Zehetmayr supposedly acquired the rights to the old LimeWire brand, and have used it to start a new company based around NFTs. There’s no relation to the original LimeWire team, and LimeWire founder Mark Gorton told TorrentFreak in March that he wasn’t aware of the news until it became public. The only connection appears to be the domain name — limewire.com — which former LimeWire developer Zlatin Balevsky sold to the new company. The original LimeWire trademark expired in 2010.
The new LimeWire revealed today that has signed a deal with Universal Music Group (UMG), which will allow any music artists under the UMG umbrella to sell and distribute “innovative music-based NFT projects.” The new company said it raised $10.4 million in a private sale of its $LMWR crypto token, which included Deadmau5’s 720Mau5 venture fund. LimeWire claims to be using the Algorand blockchain for the crypto taken, which is a more energy-efficient “proof-of-stake” technology, compared to the “proof-of-work” chains like Bitcoin and Ethereum that consume vast amounts of electricity and are contributing to climate change.
The new company said in a press release, “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.”
It remains to be seen how much interest there will be for LimeWire’s NFTs, beyond the novelty of the brand name. Universal Music Group is a massive conglomerate with thousands of artists under its belt, such as Taylor Swift and Aerosmith, but general public interest in NFTs is currently collapsing. Google searches for “nft” are down ~75% from the peak in January 2022, and estimated sales for NFTs are down 92% from the highest levels in September 2021.