Audius is described as a decentralized music streaming service that is blockchain-powered and has social media features. The platform was created in 2018 and allows artists to upload their songs to the app and also makes it possible for fans to connect directly with artists and discover new and exclusive music. Audius reportedly received US$5 million investment from venture capital firms including Pantera Capital, Lightspeed and General Catalyst. They also are said to have received funding from Binance Labs.
In 2020, Audius launched its mainnet service with a livestreamed concert that featured musical artists such as RAC and deadmau5. Apparently, the protocol was originally built on an Ethereum sidechain called POA Network before migrating parts of the service to the Solana blockchain. It makes it possible for artists to produce immutable and timestamped records for their creative works, which are then secured by a decentralized network of node operators. Developers are also able to build their own apps using the unique audio catalogue that Audius offers.
Built with public blockchain infrastructure and other decentralized technologies, Audius gives artists the opportunity to distribute their music to audiences and get paid directly from the fans. The ecosystem envisions creating a powerful token economy that is powered by the Audius platform token ‘AUDIO’, third-party stablecoins, and artist tokens.
The Audius team have a roadmap which seeks to establish a decentralized storage solution and ledger for sharing audio and metadata on top of utilizing a unique track encryption scheme that is paired with a programmable mechanism in order to facilitate the unlocking of user-specific proxy re-encryption keys for content. Audius is also said to be working to bring about a discovery protocol for users to efficiently query metadata and establish a decentralized governance protocol which empowers artists, node operators, and fans to participate in the decision making process with regards to protocol changes and upgrades. Audius staking is targeted at those looking to run discovery or content nodes which makes it possible for participants to get a share of network fees. Users can also stake AUDIO tokens in order to unlock features such as artist tokens and badges or to receive voting power from fans.
The idea of Audius is to create an open-source community of artists, fans, and developers, and thus the AUDIO Ethereum-based ERC-20 crypto token was created to ensure network security since node operators can stake AUDIO token to run a node and, in return, earn rewards from the network. The token utility is als based around enabling artists get premium features by staking the token, which means they can display their NFTs on the site for example. AUDIO token is also a governance token which can be staked and gives voting rights when it comes to code or network changes. The token has a market cap that has already exceeded a billion USD. The token is traded on cryptocurrency exchanges such as Binance, FTX, HitBTC, Gate.io, and Bitcoin.com Exchange.
Although Audius is relatively still unknown, it’s already popular with some well-known artists including Skrillex and Diplo. Recently, it was announced that Audius had partnered with TikTok, enabling artists on Audius to make their music available to content creators on TikTok. These content creators have become increasingly instrumental in creating a viral effect resulting in hits for artists such as Soulja Boy whose ‘She Make it Clap’ song can be said to have brought his music back into the mainstream. Audius however, is actually still a platform that caters more to indie artists and has built-in incentives tied to their AUDIO token to reward its network’s participants. In 2020, around 50M AUDIO tokens, or 5% of the initial supply, was airdropped to Audius’ top 10,000 artists & fans. Users can connect to the platform using web3 wallets like MetaMask.
The platform already boasts over 5 million users. The platform tries to encourage artists not only to consider owning their masters but also have ownership in the platforms where their music is enjoyed and they hope AUDIO tokens will be part of that solution. AUDIO tokens can be stored in a digital wallet that is connected to the user’s account.
Audius protocol is bringing about a revolution in the music business by making it possible for users to freely share, monetize, and listen to any audio. I’ve personally tried the platform and so far so good. It’s quite cool and I think the ideas they are pursuing are great and they are a worthy disrupter in the music streaming space.
I’ve personally discovered some cool music on Audius including by a South African artist by the name of Kaien Cruz, among many other artists whose sounds I think are unique. It’s quite exciting to see young artists engage platforms such as Audius that are blockchain-powered because it shows that the industry is moving beyond the digital currency use case and proliferating into many other industries, furthering the adoption of blockchain technology.
Image credits: https://audius.co/