File sharing pioneer Napster is getting a second chance at life, this time, on the blockchain. That’s right, nothing quite screams, “Web3 futurism” like a stumbling, hallowed out 23-year-old internet company.
News of Napster’s supposed web3 revival came by way of a LinkedIn post from Hivemind partner Matt Zhang (Hivemind, for those who haven’t heard, is a crypto-focused investment firm that recently acquired Napster Group along with another firm called Algorand). In a separate post, Napster Group said they hope the acquisition will help Napster “revolutionise the music industry by bringing blockchain and Web3 to artists and fans.”
While it’s unclear what exactly that will entail right now, it’s possible Napster could follow the playbook of other self-described Web3 music platforms and provide a platform for musicians to release content as NFTs. Some musicians are onboard. Kings of Leon, Deadmau5, Shawn Mendes, and Tory Lanez have all released NFT projects over the past year.
Oddly enough, Napster isn’t the only 2000s piracy purveyor getting a Web3 reboot. LimeWire relaunched this month as an NFTmarketplace nearly ten years after it was shut down. The new platform, which was acquired by Austrian brothers Julian and Paul Zehetmayr, will reportedly still focus on music-related content. In an interview with CNBC, Julian Zehetmay compared the loose, free-for-all atmosphere of NFTs to the internet’s wild west days.
“We’re trying to be a more mature platform and professionalize everything, just like Coinbase or other exchanges would do for crypto assets,” Zehetmayr said.
That project is already bearing fruit. Earlier this week, Limewire announced it had struck a deal with Universal Music Group to licence content globally. Through that deal, LimeWire says UMG artists and record labels can, “leverage the LimeWire marketplace as an additional platform to explore unique ways of engaging with fans through digital collectibles.”