There’s a new music streaming platform on the block, and its name is Audius. Taking direct aim at services like Soundcloud, this new platform plans to solve many of the issues artists are facing such as strict copyright takedowns, payment delays, and low royalties. What’s more, this “Soundcloud killer” is decentralized. It’s built on a blockchain network, similar to how cryptocurrencies work. Audius isn’t about cryptocurrencies, however. Instead, it hopes to empower artists to take control of their music while increasing fan engagement and royalties.
So how does it work?
Music uploads are dispersed across decentralized nodes, so Audius can’t act as a centralized host with the power to take songs down. Only the actual artist has the power to exercise takedown requests. Or they can opt to have revenue made on the upload redirected to them. Unresolved disputes are forwarded to a committee of users who vote on whether or not the track should be taken down.
This is also great for DJs that like to upload their DJ sets and mixes. When a set contains a three-minute snippet of someone else’s song, the entire thing won’t automatically be taken down. The artist whose song is in the set can instead receive a fraction of the royalties made on the upload.
Beyond ownership management, Audius also opens the door for different ways artists can engage with fans. Through blockchain tokenization, artists and users have an in-house currency that can be used for buying and selling merchandise and other exclusive offers.
While the platform is currently free, the company wants to eventually make revenue through ads or a premium subscription. But 90 percent of the revenue will be paid directly to the artists. For the technically-minded, take a look at Audius’ white paper for an in-depth look at their technology and business plan.
Audius has street cred
Big-name artists like Deadmau5, 3LAU, Zeds Dead, Rezz and more are already backing Audius. Not to mention the $5.5 million in venture capital they’ve received so far. And small artists are constantly promoting them over social media. There are only a few hundred artists hosting content on Audius at the moment. The company hopes to bring in more artists through its early-adopter token program. It probably won’t be long until everyone is talking about Audius.
Forrest Browning and Roneil Rumburg — the company’s co-founders — admit that Audius is mostly a proof-of-concept and that there’s a chance it’s innovative platform won’t fly well with the law. Still, they claim to be passionate dance music fans, just like us, and want our favorite artists to succeed just as much as we do!
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