Audius : music 3.0 for the Web3

Audius is not just another music streaming platform. It’s a little bit more than that. For the end users, it’s not so different from Spotify, Amazon Music or Apple Music (who is still on Deezer ?). Under the hood, it’s another story and it could make a huge difference for the artists and the whole music industry.

Audius was created by two smart guys. They have invested early in crypto so they are rich. It looks like they were not rich enough or they had too much free time because they decided to create a music streaming platform.

The story said they were intensive users of Soundcloud. After a deal with Universal, the platform had to remove a lot of songs due to copyright restrictions. These two smart guys were very disappointed to lose songs from their favourite artists so they decided to create their own platform : this is kind of cool, no ?

In 2018 they started to work on the Audius project. They raised millions in a few months maybe because they are blockchain enthusiasts. The idea is pretty simple. Audius is a music streaming platform built on top of blockchains (yes on several blockchains), as a decentralised platform, the revenue per stream expected for the artists is 90% which is way more than the current centralised platforms.

This concept alone is great. Instead of having a middle man (or a company from the GAFAM), the artists can be in touch with their fans and sell or stream their music on their own terms. This is the idea behind many blockchain projects : get in touch (with trust) in a decentralised way. So does Audius have the potential to be a Spotify killer in the next web3 ?

If you don’t know what web3 is, no worries, we’ll talk about it in a next blog post or a quick Google search would be enough.

A token and a platform

To fuel the platform, they also have created a token, a crypto asset : $AUDIO (nice to be the 1st and lock this name). The token is used mainly for : security, feature access and governance.

No need to deep dive in the technical details, the project has a well documented page about it. To make it simple, the platform is built on 3 layers :

Almost anybody can create a node and join the Audius network. The entry ticket is expensive, you must stack 200 000 $AUDIO to be approved by the network. It’s almost 300 000$ at the current price of the token (1,4$). With your node on the network, you will earn $AUDIO for managing the transactions. You will also be part of the governance. The governance decides what the platform will be. The quorum for each submitted proposal is 5% and 50%. This means that for a proposal to pass, at least 5% of all staked $AUDIO must vote on the proposal and more than 50% of the votes must be ‘For’ the proposal.

The $AUDIO token is also used to unlock features on the platform. For example, if you are an artist on Audius, you can unlock the NFT feature if you own at least 100 $AUDIO. NFTs are really trendy and you can see them on almost every platform. Not sure to get the point of showing your NFTs on Audius but it’s another way for artists to sell them so it sounds great. The NFT collectibles feature is based on Solana. I will check if it’s compatible with OpenSea NFTs (the only platform I tried for NFTs) but I have to buy 100 $AUDIO just for testing…

Another way for artists to earn $AUDIO is to be in the TOP 5 of the weekly contests of the platform. The top 5 trendy tracks, the top playlists or top underground tracks earn 100 $AUDIO each week.

The killer feature is still missing

For now, this is the only way to earn tokens and this is the main drawback of the service currently. There is no way for artists to monetize their tracks on Audius. It looks like it will be a new feature in the upcoming months (where is the roadmap ?). Where are the 90% revenue share per stream ?

Another problem with Audius is the number of users : more than 5 millions of users. I don’t think so : 115k followers on Twitter and 38k on Instagram for the Audius project. It’s very low compared to 5 Millions. If you don’t have many users on the platform, famous artists won’t give attention to it and vice versa, if there are no massive followed artists on your platform, new users won’t come up. Last but not least problem could be the copyrights, who will ensure there is no illegal music on the service ? Good question.

I'm waiting for a platform where artists can earn crypto directly from music streaming, it would be the killer feature in my point of view.

Great partnerships

Recently they announced a partnership with TikTok. Any artist can upload his audius tracks or albums directly into TikTok and enjoy this huge user base. Many new artists go viral on TikTok and this is a good opportunity for gaining visibility. This kind of partnership is interesting for the platform, it provides an appealing feature for the users and it provides confidence and professionalism for the investors. They also received support from celebrities who try to find the new nugget in the crypto world.

Keep an ear out for it

Even if Audius won’t become mainstream, it will still be a great way for artists to sell their stuff. These artists may already have a fanbase, through social networks, they can ask their fanbase to stream, download or buy their tracks on Audius because they earn more money through it.

Audius can help the artists to bypass music records companies. They can also bypass Spotify/Apple Music, the artists own their tracks and they own the platform. They earn 90% of the revenue per stream, they can sell their tracks with a very low cut. For now, Audius doesn’t plan to offer a subscription, they said every artist will be free to sell his music on his own terms.

The network nodes which hosts the content and streams the music earn $AUDIO through network fees. These fees are transparent and not controlled by a tech giant. The end users have direct access to their favourite artists and they know it’s worth supporting them on this kind of platform. The experience is similar to Spotify. So, it seems we have a winning solution for everybody.

Not so famous artists for now (no offense)

These two guys : Roneil Rumburg and Forrest Browning are really smart. What they did in 3 years is amazing. It’s not perfect but it’s pretty damned cool. A music streaming service on top of blockchains, with mechanisms to ensure the network will be paid by itself, the artists will be well paid and the investors can speculate on a crypto asset… Big Up guys, well done ! In some ways, it’s similar to the Theta project, which tries to be the next video streaming service on the blockchain for Web3.

Should you invest in $AUDIO ? Maybe yes, the potential is there, it could go up to x100 or x500 who knows ? Should you use the platform, yes for sure, as a supporter of the project. Should you try to do the same as these smart guys : hell yeah ! Any centralised platform can be outperformed by a Web3 one, with the power of the blockchain (if well designed).

We should be already at work trying to build the next AirBnB, Uber, Kindle, social network, cloud storage, etc that will give more power and control for the end users and less profit for the tech giants => and more money for you 🤑 The web 2.0 is about to be over, welcome to the Web3.


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