Innovation & Entrepreneurship

What is Audius? The Decentralized Music Sharing and Streaming Service

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Audius is a social media-enabled, decentralized music streaming service powered by blockchain.
It has its own cryptocurrency token, called AUDIO, and is owned and operated by an open-source community of artists, fans, and engineers.

Music streaming services collectively have over 400 million users and generated over $13 billion in revenue last year. However, industry critics argue that artists are being underpaid for their efforts, with musicians and politicians alike alleging that performers and songwriters are “missing out.”

This is where Audius enters the picture. It’s a crypto-powered music sharing and streaming platform that promises to offer artists greater control over how their music is monetized while allowing them to engage with listeners directly.

Audius, one of the most popular non-financial crypto apps, is owned and operated by an open-source community of artists, fans, and developers. In July 2021, it had more over 5.3 million unique users, up from 2.9 million in January 2021. Audius users listened to music 7.5 million times in June of 2022. 

It is powered by AUDIO, the protocol’s governance token, which has a market capitalization of $1.2 billion as of August 2021.

So, what distinguishes this initiative from any other music streaming platform? Is this a platform that is worth your time and energy? 

Why it matters: The company’s mission No. 1 is to make money for the music artists on its platform, Roneil Rumburg, co-founder and dance music fanboy, tells Axios in an interview at Consensus 2022 in Austin.

  • “Right now, the biggest focus for the Audius ecosystem far and away is monetization,” he said.
  1. What  is Audius?

Audius, which was founded in 2018, is a decentralized music streaming service with a social media component. It allows musicians to post their songs to the app and links fans with artists as well as exclusive new music.

On a technical level, it’s a blockchain technology that allows artists to create immutable and timestamped records for their creative works, all while being protected by a decentralized network of node operators.

It began on the POA Network, an Ethereum sidechain, and then transferred sections of its service to the Solana blockchain. Audius allows developers to build their own apps on top of it, providing them access to a unique audio collection.

However, unlike most other blockchain initiatives, it does not have the issue of being so technical that everyone who isn’t into crypto is immediately excluded. 

Audius got $5 million in funding in 2018 from venture capital companies General Catalyst, Lightspeed, and Pantera Capital, as well as $1.25 million from Binance Labs, the venture arm of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by volume.

How Does Audius Work?

Audius operates similarly to a music co-op, with the token matching incentives across the network’s three member groups: node operators, artists, and fans.

Audius is a blockchain-based platform that runs through a decentralized network of nodes that host material (content nodes) and index that content (discovery nodes).

As a blockchain project, it, of course, includes a cryptocurrency.

However, no prior understanding of blockchain or cryptocurrency is required to participate in Audius, which is why it is popular even among individuals outside the crypto sector.

The network automatically awards AUDIO tokens for the following achievements: top 5 weekly popular tracks, top 5 trending playlists, top 10 API apps, or uploads by people with verified Twitter or Instagram profiles.

Occasionally, the protocol may airdrop large numbers of AUDIO tokens depending on a formula that considers not just the number of listens but also the level of social interaction demonstrated by the artist. In October 2020, the service will award a total of 50 million AUDIO tokens to 10,000 artists and platform users.

Audius (AUDIO), an Ethereum-based ERC-20 currency, powers the Audius network and fulfills three functions:

  1. Network security – node operators stake tokens to run a node and gain network incentives in return.
  2. Exclusive features – by staking the token, artists have access to premium services such as showcasing NFT crypto collectibles on the site.
  3. Governance – staked tokens are needed to vote on all proposals that modify the code and the general network.

AUDIO tokens are listed on many exchanges and may be traded for other cryptocurrencies. Popular spaces to find AUDIO are Binance, FTX, Gate.io, and the decentralized exchange (DEX) Uniswap.

 

What can I listen to on Audius?

The central focus at the moment is indie but major-label artists are welcome and slowly migrating to the platform.

Audius has over 100,000 artists, including well-known names like as Skrillex, Weezer, deadmau5, Russ, Mike Shinoda, Diplo, Madeintyo, Odesza, Disclosure, Alina Baraz, and Wuki.

Another unique component of Audius is artist-fan collaborations through remix competitions, which results in even more creative tunes to appreciate

If Audius continues to acquire traction, it is probable that more initiatives like the deal with Tik Tok may follow suit. 

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