The first song I ever downloaded on LimeWire was 'Love Like This Before' by Faith Evans and Sean "Puffy" Combs (Puff Daddy at the time). I remember it clearly because it took hours and tied up the phone line (because 56k ring ring grind static ring). The song was released in September of 1998 to give you some context as to what you were doing at the time. Although LimeWire was around until 2010, it fell out of the good graces of music fans long before that (computer viruses were no joke back then) before the name fizzled out almost entirely and the company finally called it quits. Since then, LimeWire made brief appearances in our feeds as part of throwback posts that would depict its bright lime-slice logo as a way to rekindle our growing love affair with simpler times, also known as the 90s.
Riding on the nostalgic tip, LimeWire made the news today by skipping over Web 2.0 entirely and announced that the platform would be resurrected as an NFT space focused on the art and music industry. It also has little to do with the original software beyond its name.
Its new owners, Austrian brothers Paul and Julian Zehetmayr, who also own electronic signature company Eversign and B2B software companies Currencylayer and Stack Holdings, bought the naming rights to the company with the idea it could be a valuable addition to the Web3 world given its long connection with music — albeit for a long time it was mostly known for pirated music. The brothers addressed this, saying that it was one of the key reasons for them to revive the brand and support true artists and their content.
"LimeWire will not be an alternative to streaming platforms, but rather an additional channel for artists to sell exclusive music and art directly to collectors and to engage with their most loyal community of fans," said Julian Zehetmayr in a press release, highlighting their aim "to give artists full flexibility and control when it comes to their content."
"Fans and collectors will be able to buy and trade a variety of music-related assets, such as limited editions, pre-release music, unreleased demos, graphical artwork, exclusive live versions, as well as digital merchandise and backstage content."
Now officially called LimeWire GmbH and with no affiliation with the previous team, the new marketplace is already live with an open public waitlist. It's expected to be fully curated and launch sometime in May with major artist partnerships already in place. Sales will take place in USD with no crypto wallet prerequisite so collectables can be bought directly via credit card, bank transfer and other gateways. But of course, users will also be able to transact in crypto as well as fiat. LimeWire has also partnered with Algorand for cost and energy-efficient minting.
It's also worth noting that the management teams for H.E.R. and the Wu-Tang Clan are on the advisory board.
The first incarnation of LimeWire shut in 2010 following a years-long legal conflict with the Recording Industry Association of America over copyright infringement which ended with a permanent injunction against the company and its founder Mark Gorton, who had to pay a $105 million settlement.