Ne-Yo Banks on Partnership With New Streaming Music App The R&B superstar talks about why he joined forces with LÜM for the launch of its new web- and android-based collaborative platform.

By Sarah Austin

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Chris Stanford

Making it in Hollywood requires an entrepreneurial tenacity similar to that of Silicon Valley. Yet while both cities are in California, they're worlds apart. The music industry is continuously being disrupted by new technologies innovated by entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley. Instead of swimming against the stream, Grammy-winning R&B star Ne-Yo has decided to jump in and work hands-on with a music app that's widening its scope to ensure participating artists get paid.

The multi-platinum performer, along with Compound Entertainment co-founders and music executives Tishawn Gayle and Rynell "Tango" Hay, have announced a partnership with LÜM, a streaming and discovery application that had previously been mobile/iOS-only but has just launched a web- and Android-friendly platform that emphasizes artist collaboration and monetization. The goal is to enable emerging musicians to grow their fan base and make money with LÜM's in-app currency feature called called virtual gifting. It's a model whereby greater community participation leads to greater rewards, allowing artists to leverage the service as an entrepreneurial tool.

Ne-Yo's collaboration with LÜM differentiates from, say, Jay-Z's approach to launching Tidal, which swam upstream by pulling the rap mogul's music from Spotify (though he later reversed course on that). And it's been informed by other music-and-tech cautionary tales, such as when U2 had their album pre-installed on all new iPhone 6 devices, to much consternation.

But those were early days. Today, the transition from successful recording artist to tech tycoon has become much more sophisticated. And by linking up with LÜM, Ne-Yo has set out to be a leader amidst the hottest trend in technology, cryptocurrency, which is set to disrupt a financial services market that's expected to reach $26.5 trillion by 2022.

Related: Wyclef On Staying Creative in the Pandemic, and Why He Loves Working With Women

"Tech has come to play a huge role in our lives, sometimes for the better, but sometimes disrupting systems that might have been better off left intact," Ne-Yo told me in a recent interview just prior to the web and Android platform launch debut. "Rather than complain about the challenges we're facing as artists, it's important for us to find new opportunities and embrace those 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 circulate music by re-sharing songs with their friends so that the app becomes an ecosystem of digital assets traded and sold with its virtual currency, incentivizing artists to earn income. "LÜM is one of those rare tools — it's totally changing the music landscape for artists who are struggling to make an income," Ne-Yo added. "It's laying the groundwork for independent artists and fans alike to see what the future of music can look like for them."

LÜM's virtual-gifting service is available without a minimum threshold of followers or video views. That's in contrast to platforms like TikTok that maintain high thresholds, which makes this revenue channel unavailable to newly starting out/up-and-coming artists. As LÜM co-founders Max Fergus and Jake Fergus chimed in during our interview, "The virtual gifting feature has enabled us to provide tens of thousands of independent creators a new way to look at their careers — to help them build stronger relationships, network, collaborate and make real money."

Related: Jermaine Dupri Talks New Role With The Beet and a Lifetime of Entrepreneurial Inspirations

Time will tell if LÜM meets Ne-Yo's expectations, but the gambit is further proof that being an artist and an entrepreneur are two sides of the same coin.
Sarah Austin

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

Author & Podcaster

Three-time venture-backed startup founder. Reality TV star, Bravo's 'Start-Ups: Silicon Valley'. Vanity Fair calls her "America's Tweetheart." Today, Sarah is Head of Content for KAVA, the DeFi for crypto startup company based in Silicon Valley. Previously Forbes, Oracle and SAP.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Related Topics

Business Solutions

Stay Organized with This Task Management Tool, on Sale for $30

A Study Planr Pro subscription is just $30 for life.

Business Ideas

55 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.

Social Media

How To Start a Youtube Channel: Step-by-Step Guide

YouTube can be a valuable way to grow your audience. If you're ready to create content, read more about starting a business YouTube Channel.

Thought Leaders

10 Simple, Productive Activities You Can Do When You Aren't Motivated to Work

Quick note: This article is birthed out of the urge to do something productive when I am not in a working mood. It can also inspire you on simple yet productive things to do when you're not motivated to work.

Business News

Here Are 3 Strategies Startup Founders Can Use to Approach High-Impact Disputes

The $7 billion "buy now, pay later" startup Klarna recently faced a public board spat. Here are three strategies to approach conflict within a business.