US startup Lüm launched a music discovery app in July 2019: the latest attempt at a smartphone app to help music fans find new artists to listen to. The company has since closed a $1.4m seed funding round, and says that it has “grown to over 15,000 fans, 22,000 artists and has over 60,000 tracks in its music catalog”.
That claim comes from Lüm’s announcement of its latest feature: a way for those fans to actually contribute financially to the artists they’ve discovered. It’s virtual gifting: an in-app currency called ‘Notes’ which people can buy, but also earn through their actions within the app.
Lüm’s users can then give those Notes to artists using one of eight levels of virtual gifts. “A Note has a set monetary value that is slightly greater than the royalty payout per stream of other music streaming alternatives,” explained the company – although as yesterday’s story on artist Zoë Keating’s latest data shows, per-stream payouts can vary widely between those established music streaming services.
Anyway, Lüm is trying something interesting, although it’ll need a lot more than 15,000 fans to make the model pay off for artists. And if ‘Notes’ sounds familiar, you may be thinking of blockchain-music startup Choon, which we wrote about in February 2018, and which called its tokens (which could also be earned by fans and spent on artists) ‘Notes’. Choon has since hit the buffers, and recently migrated its users to another blockchain music platform called Emanate.