Music streaming

Business Class: Madison music streaming startup LÜM will shut down for good | Economic news

Just months after announcing plans to embrace what could be the next era of the internet, Madison-based music streaming company LÜM (Live Undiscover Music) is shutting down for good.

The shutdown comes after the startup, which operates out of its East Side office, said in late December that it was relaunching to build a new digital space using blockchain technology that would have allowed fans to contribute to the financial success of musicians. ‘they support. , and without going through a third party like a record company.

The ambitious relaunch even caught national media attention – about a week before the shutdown was announced. on Twitter, LÜM CEO Max Fergus appeared on Fox Business with hip-hop artist Ne-Yo to discuss the startup’s next chapter. Grammy Award-winning Ne-Yo is a global ambassador and co-founder of the company.

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It represented the company’s emergence into what tech experts call “Web 3.0,” a climate of software and platforms that don’t depend on traditional business models like advertising to buy and sell products and services. , compared to the internet that people are currently familiar with.

Prior to that, LÜM’s mobile app surpassed more than 200,000 artists with 600,000 songs across the United States, among several other achievements in three short years of existence – the company globally gave creators a place to share their content directly with fans and interact with other musicians. .

“Having the opportunity to lead this team has been the greatest privilege of my life,” Fergus wrote in an emailed statement to the Wisconsin State Journal. “I’ve had the pleasure of seeing friends and teammates become leaders. I’m thrilled to see the impact our team continues to have on the world.

Fergus declined to explain in detail why the startup decided to shut down so suddenly, citing legal issues. But he said more details on the closure were expected to come in days to weeks.

The startup, born out of a think tank session Fergus had with five other friends in November 2017 and received millions in funding, was launched to advocate for lesser-known musicians who typically don’t have a platform. to promote their work and earn money.

Global music revenues are expected to reach $142 billion by 2030, according to financial experts. But Rolling Stone reported in 2018 that musicians make just 12% of the money the industry makes.

Now, while users can still open the LÜM app on their device, they encounter an error and code instead of content. The startup’s website also appears to be no longer active.

Past ambitions, achievements

The relaunch of LÜM would have allowed its users to collect, sell and trade “Access Passes” provided by their favorite musicians. Artists themselves could have sold digital assets in the form of “non-fungible tokens,” or NFTs, to fans.

NFTs, a recently trending topic in the tech community, can be anything digital, like a drawing, a song, or even certain elements of video games. Tokens can sell for anywhere from $10 to millions, and no one can replicate them once created. By using blockchain, also known as a digital ledger or recording device, artists could find out who owns the NFT.

In 2021, the startup launched a digital music marketplace called “The Exchange” where creators could buy and sell each other’s services. And in 2020, the startup became the first platform for fans to support artists through virtual donation technology called “Notes.”

Three years ago, the company partnered with one of Madison’s biggest concert promoters, Frank Productions, to bring exposure to relatively unknown musicians. Frank Productions was also a key participant in a total investment of $1.2 million in the startup.

In 2018, the startup won the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce’s Pressure Chamber competition.

“More than anything, LÜM has been able to develop a beautiful community of artists and fans who love music and never had the opportunity to share it together,” Fergus wrote. “I am also grateful to Madison’s entrepreneurial community and all the amazing people who have helped us along the way.”

$2M for Quiver

A Madison-based startup seeking to bridge the information gap between the Wall Street broker and the novice retail investor has raised $2 million in investment funding.

Quiver Quantitative, launched in 2020 by twin brothers Chris and James Kardatzke, uses computer code to “pull” stock market data from the web and assemble it into a free online dashboard. One dashboard describes how members of the US Senate trade stocks, while another displays the beneficiaries of government contracts. Other dashboards include posts from Reddit and other social media sites.

Some of the startup’s hundreds of thousands of users also have the option of purchasing a product that allows them to create their own stock research tool in addition to Quiver data feeds.

The startup, which employs five full-time and a few part-time employees, plans to use the funding to hire up to four software engineers, James said.

“It’s our first priority,” he said, adding that some new products are also “in the works.”


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