LÜM app: Building the music community

Ne-Yo and LUM co-founder Max Fergus at a press conference at the virtual Collision Conference. The conference was held from April 20 -22. The 2022 Collision will return to Toronto, June 20 - 23.   -
Ne-Yo and LUM co-founder Max Fergus at a press conference at the virtual Collision Conference. The conference was held from April 20 -22. The 2022 Collision will return to Toronto, June 20 - 23. -

LÜM is the future of music for US singer/songwriter Shaffer Chimere “Ne-Yo” Smith.

In case, you’re wondering what LÜM is, it is an app which allows budding artistes to build a fan base and build a community of people that believe in what they’re doing enough to want to support the artiste.

A 2019 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said LUM, a Madison-based startup, “focuses on drawing emerging artists and listeners who want to discover new music.”

It added that, “the music discovery and streaming platform LÜM was launched on iOS devices July 1, 2019.”

Max Fergus is LÜM ’s CEO and co-founder.

Fergus’ LÜM also announced a partnership with Ne-Yo in 2020. The two gave a press conference at the recently held virtual Collision Conference which ran from April 20-22. Newsday was invited to attend and participate in Collision.

The tech conference saw a star-studded line-up with Ryan Reynolds, Mark Ruffalo and Paris Hilton being among its speakers.

Fergus said LÜM is the future of the creator economy for musicians. An April Forbes.com article says the creator economy is a new economic model where creators can make money directly from their audience.

“Over the course of the last couple of months, we have seen creator economies blow up across multiple different verticals...

“LÜM was launched on the android platform about five months ago and we have now grown to over 150,000 musicians,” Fergus said.

For Fergus, the app is all about providing opportunities for artistes.

He added that it is going to allow artistes to collaborate, connect, grow and monetise at every stage of their career.

Musicians are unique content creators who create far more than just music but have a brand, video, audio and media, Fergus said.

As a platform, LÜM allows its musicians to “hold and deliver every piece of content that they ultimately create.”

Ne-Yo said current streaming services should take a page out of LÜM’s book and “make it less about streams and a nameless, faceless stream and more about reconnecting the artiste and the fan.”

Quoting Fergus, Ne-Yo said the world was shifting away from the attention economy and into the passion economy.

“I think that is a real thing. I think we are getting back to people actually wanting to feel something again. Wanting to know where the love is coming from.

“If that is a real thing, then I see streaming platforms becoming more than just streaming platforms. Snatch a page out of the LÜM’s book and make it more about the connection as supposed to just the profit,” Ne-Yo said.

Fergus said it was not just about how streaming was going to change but how the music industry is going to change.

Fergus said e-sports went over the course of the last five years from a $5 million to a half-trillion dollar industry.

“Just because we started leveraging technology and started giving creators tools that they desperately needed to build closer relationships with their fans.”

He said it was not just about streaming but a new part of the pie that was about to be created.

Fergus said LÜM became the first US music streaming platform last January to allow artistes to directly financially support their favourite artiste.

He said right after that covid19 hit and there was no money for live entertainment and the traditional revenue streams artistes usually earn from.

Fergus said that was when LÜM became Apple’s apple of the day.

“Even Apple saw the need to highlight and showcase the real need for business models that are out there supporting our most talented creators that we have in our neighbourhoods and in our dorm rooms.

“I believe that covid, as absolutely unfortunate as it has been, has shined a very important light on the need to use new technology to form closer relationships between creators of all kinds and their fan bases.”

US singer/songwriter Ne-Yo says app LUM is the future of the music industry. - Screenshots courtesy Collision Conference

While Ne-Yo has missed the stage because of the pandemic he is glad that apps like LÜM exist which allows him to connect directly to his fans.

He said his career began before Instagram, Twitter and YouTube and it was a lot harder to get recognition to get one’s music out there then. Had LÜM existed back then, Ne-Yo believes his career would have developed differently.

“You were almost at the mercy of the gatekeepers. You almost had to have a record deal.

“So I thank God I live in the time I do now,” he said.

LÜM has taken its support for new artistes a step further and in partnership with audio company Soundcore has launched a US-based competition called Coast to Coast.

“The largest underground artistes competition in the US. Somewhat of a digital American Idol, if you will,” Fergus said.

He said the competition will be on the hunt for the best independent musicians in over 32 cities across the US. They will compete for fame and glory and also over US $25,000 in prizes.

“But we will be taking five artistes from over 32 cities to really go head to head…”

He added that four of the biggest names in music right now will be captaining the different regions and the country.

The competition is also about LÜM’s commitment to providing as many opportunities to artistes as it can.

Partnering with LÜM was also about Ne-Yo sharing the knowledge he gained over his 23 years in the industry. He has been active since 1998.

The platform also allows artistes to interact with each other through a tool called the Exchange.

“Or if you properly want to learn how to mix a record, it allows for all of the artistes on LÜM to collaborate with each other. So if this is a place where you can find me and if you want a critique on your record or if you want to learn, ‘I am stuck on this second verse where should I go.’

“These are things that you can ask me. You can ask me on LUM and I will answer you. And I wouldn’t be able to do that if not for the time I’ve spent here doing and learning the things that I have learnt.”

He said that was one of the main reasons he jumped on LÜM.

Around July Ne-Yo will launch his new album called the Escape.

“I don’t have to tell anybody how treacherous or ridiculous 2020 was and you know some of the crazier things that happened in 2021….”

Ne-Yo said the world needed a moment to breathe and re-charge.

“That is what this album is going to be.”

LÜM is available in the Apple’s App store and Google Play.


"LÜM app: Building the music community"

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