Music app

Ne-Yo bets on a partnership with a new music streaming app

Succeeding in Hollywood requires entrepreneurial tenacity similar to that of Silicon Valley. Yet even though both cities are in California, they are a thousand miles apart. The music industry is continuously disrupted by new technologies pioneered by Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. Instead of swimming against the tide, Grammy-winning R&B star Ne-Yo decided to jump in and work hands-on with a music app that expands its reach to ensure participating artists get paid. .

The multi-platinum performer and his record label, Compound Entertainment, have announced a partnership with LÜM, a streaming and discovery app that was previously mobile/iOS only, but has just launched a web and Android compatible platform called Exchange that emphasizes artist collaboration and monetization. The goal is to enable emerging musicians to expand their fan base and earn money with LÜM’s in-app currency feature called Virtual Gift. It’s a model in which greater community involvement leads to greater rewards, allowing artists to leverage the service as an entrepreneurial tool.

Ne-Yo’s collaboration with LÜM differs from, for example, Jay-Z’s approach to launching Tidal, which swam upstream by extracting the rap mogul’s music from Spotify (although he later reversed the course on this). And it was informed by other cautionary tales about music and technology, like when U2 had their album pre-installed on all new iPhone 6 devices, much to the dismay.

But those were the early days. Today, the transition from successful artist to tech mogul has become much more sophisticated. And by partnering with LÜM and its Exchange, Ne-Yo is committed to being a leader within the hottest trend in technology, cryptocurrency, which is set to disrupt a financial services market that is is expected to reach $26.5 trillion by 2022.


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“Technology has come to play a huge role in our lives, sometimes for the better, but sometimes disrupting systems that might have been better left untouched,” Ne-Yo told me in a recent interview just before the start of the exchange. “Rather than complaining about the challenges we face as artists, it’s important for us to find new opportunities and embrace these tools that can help us rewrite the rules in a way that preserves the arts.

Artists can upload their content to the app, where fans can discover artists and stream music by sharing songs with their friends so that the app becomes an ecosystem of digital assets traded and sold with its virtual currency, encouraging artists to earn an income. “LÜM is one of those rare tools – it totally changes the musical landscape for artists who are struggling to earn an income,” Ne-Yo added. “It lays the groundwork for independent artists and fans to see what the future of music may look like for them.”

LÜM’s virtual gift service is available with no minimum threshold of subscribers or video views. This is in contrast to platforms like TikTok which maintain high thresholds, making this revenue channel unavailable to up-and-coming/up-and-coming artists. As the co-founder and CEO of LÜM said in our interview, “The virtual donation feature has allowed us to provide tens of thousands of independent creators with a new way of looking at their careers – to help them build stronger relationships, network, collaborate and make real money.”

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Time will tell if LÜM lives up to Ne-Yo’s expectations, but the bet is further proof that being an artist and an entrepreneur are two sides of the same coin.

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