Earlier this year, the former music file sharing/piracy platform Napster was revived, once again, this time as a blockchain product.
Napster was acquired by Hivemind and Algorand, the former of which was described by The Verge as “a crypto-focused investment firm dedicated to blockchain technologies, crypto companies, and the digital assets ecosystem.”
“We are excited to share that we've taken Napster Group private and to bring the iconic music brand to web3,” Hivemind founder Matt Zhang announced on LinkedIn in May. “Volatile market and uncertain times often bring exciting opportunities. At Hivemind, we believe in developing thesis and building enduring value. Music x Web3 is one of the most exciting spaces we've come across, and we are thrilled to work with Emmy Lovell and many talents to unlock value for the entire ecosystem and revolutionize how artists and fans enjoy music.”
Now, another familiar name from the heyday of illegal music downloading is coming back, also on the blockchain.
Limewire, a popular file-sharing network that came along in the early 2000s, a few years after Napster’s reign, has also been revived as, per its website, “a limited collection of 10,000 Original NFTs minted on the Ethereum blockchain, featuring 10,000 unique and rare avatars with a variety of traits and attributes.”
There’s also a sixty-second commercial for the product.
“Owning a LimeWire Original represents the highest level of membership the LimeWire community has to offer. If you own one, you are not only owning a digital avatar, you are gaining access to a series of perks and experiences exclusive to LimeWire Original holders. This includes regular invite-only, physical LimeWire events across the world featuring performances of artists on LimeWire, early access to high-profile NFT collections dropping on the marketplace, access to limited merch collections, as well as rewards of our LMWR token to LimeWire Original holders when the token launches in Q4 of this year.”
According to The Daily Dot, there’s been quite a bit of mockery of the idea of Limewire’s return, especially in this format.
Also, per TorrentFreak, the founder of the original LimeWire was not told in advance about the new launch and isn’t happy about it.
Mark Gorton told the site that “I was not approached about this NFT project, and I didn’t hear about it until the public announcement.” That story added that the original trademarks have expired.
"I am not thrilled about an unrelated group of people using the LimeWire name. Using the LimeWire name in this way creates confusion and falsely uses that brand that we created for purposes for which it was never intended,” Gorton told TorrentFreak.
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.