Startups

Blockchain in Music: Decentralized Streaming Service Audius Raises $5.5 million

Audius, the first ever decentralized music sharing service to use blockchain technology, is aiming to reshape the caliber set previously by streaming services similar to Spotify, Soundcloud and Pandora. Audius recently unveiled it’s $5.5 million Series A funding round led by General Catalyst and Lightspeed Capital among several other investors.

Yet to step out of beta-testing, Audius wishes to provide artists, composers and musicians a platform that is safe, where they will be earning in a manner that is justified. Perhaps Audius, among its peers, is bent on dismissing intermediate parties that hinder the interactive experience between artists and their intended audience.

The platform was a joint project initiated by Raindu Lankage, CEO of Audius, and co-founders Roneil Rumburg and Forrest Browning. In an interview with Techcrunch, Lankage says:

The biggest problem in the music industry is that streaming is taking off and artists aren’t necessarily earning a lot of money. And it can take three months, or up to 18 months for unsigned artists, to get paid for streams. That’s what crypto really solves. You can pay artists in near real-time and make it fully transparent.

How it works

Audius will receive a share of the money paid by users but just enough to make the company integral to the whole artist-audience experience and help Audius accentuate. On the other hand, artists will receive a generous 85% whereas the remaining will be distributed to developers of listening software clients. Artists can also share their music under the protection of blockchain tech, and see which parts of the world is listening in, eliminating the lack of transparency condemned by many.

Users can either pay for Audius tokens or earn them by watching advertisements. The Audius tokens will be added to user wallets which will cut a few cents per stream. Good news for you if you’re not all that into blockchain. Roneil Rumburg says:

A user wouldn’t even know that they have a wallet.

In contrast to popular monetization strategies, Audius plans to focus on artists and listeners who are keen on investing in tokens. Before Apple music launched their streaming service, Apple Music radio was free to use for a limited amount of time. Similarly, Audius could initially propose to offer tokens to exclusive listeners. This could get artists thinking.

As for now, Audius isn’t too keen on endorsing charting artists that earn their millions through innumerable streams and purchases. DJs, composers and electronic musicians are being given heed by the novice streaming protocol. In recent news, one such artist ecstatic about the incorporation of blockchain in music is DJ 3LAU. Acting as a big-name advisor for Audius, DJ 3LAU is set to headline the first ever blockchain music festival. According to him:

Artists need decentralized models for music sharing, and a stake in the platforms they contribute content to. Blockchain allows Audius to do this with tokens and decentralized voting-based governance so artists have a say in how the platform evolves. It’s a very elegant model and one which, as an artist, I find immensely attractive.

Audius may bring home one of the biggest milestones in Music. Therefore, the challanges it faces are unprecedented and harder to overcome. Getting artists to sign on to ventures such as Audius can be a big risk for both parties involved. Mainstream services offer brand names that have developed massively with time, providing far more in terms of career-building than Audius can at the moment. Getting listeners to spend money out of their pockets is riskier. You don’t want bad reviews for a product that has just made the headlines for a potential breakthrough.

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