Best known as a peer-to-peer music-sharing platform, LimeWire announced on Wednesday the acquisition of BlueWillowAI, a popular AI image generation platform. The deal follows LimeWire’s launch of LimeWire AI Studio last month, which heralded the company’s entry into the burgeoning generative AI sector.
Launched in January, BlueWillow claims over 2.3 million active members, with over 500 million images created so far this year. LimeWire said it plans to integrate BlueWillow’s proprietary text-to-image and image-to-image AI models into its AI Studio.
“Generative AI allows us to take the next evolutionary step with LimeWire: allowing anyone to become a creator,” LimeWire’s Co-CEO Julian Zehetmayr told Decrypt in an email. “The acquisition of BlueWillow and the integration of its AI capabilities will help shape the future of content creation and creativity.”
Zehetmayr added: “By incorporating AI-driven image generation, we are providing anyone with the tools to enable them to unleash their creative potential and also democratize the digital creative space.”
This pivot into artificial intelligence is LimeWire’s most recent strategy to reinvigorate the iconic brand. Last year, LimeWire resurfaced as an NFT marketplace with backing from Steve Aoki and Deadmau5 before shifting to AI last month.
“We are leveraging BlueWillow’s advanced AI capabilities, which are already established as a leading force in the AI content generation sphere,” Zehetmayr said. “BlueWillow version 4 is the default model in the LimeWire AI studio, and we are already working on a version 5 update.”
LimeWire’s COO, Marcus Feistl, emphasized AI’s role in supplementing rather than replacing human creativity.
“AI’s main strength in music creation is enhancing the creative process and making it easier,” Feistl previously told Decrypt. “It’s not going to replace any one thing, though.”
Thanks to rapid advances in artificial intelligence since the launch of OpenAI’s ChatGPT in November, musicians including Grimes, Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo, Pharrell Williams, and Will.I.AM have experimented with AI to help create new music, digital avatars, videos, and art.
“I don’t think AI is ever going to replace the artist,” Feistl added. “And we’re only talking about the digital side of music anyway,” Feistl said. “We will never be able to replace real-world experiences like live concerts.”
Despite AI becoming more ubiquitous with each passing day, public concern that AI will replace humans in the workforce remains high. A survey by Pew Research, polling 11,004 U.S. adults, revealed that 32% believe AI’s use in hiring and job evaluations could adversely impact the workforce.
For making art, though, LimeWire is clearly optimistic.
“The LimeWire AI Studio already provides access to multiple other state-of-the-art AI models, including Stable Diffusion XL and DALL-E 2,” Zehetmayr concluded. “We will continue to add new models in the [Future], ensuring content creators have the right tools at hand that cater to their content creation needs, now and moving forward.”