As the uses for cryptocurrency and blockchain technology grow, it is no surprise that the list of tokens that exist grows with it. One token taking advantage of the blockchain to develop decentralized music streaming solutions is Audius (AUDIO). This is a cryptocurrency that monetizes music streaming and is accessible to many artists.
AUDIO token aims to revolutionize the music industry, making monetization of music accessible to as many artists as possible. Going up against centralized alternatives, such as SoundCloud and for larger artists, Spotify and Apple Music, Audius faces tough competition. The AUDIO token allows holders to pay for the content they consume, and 100% of the proceeds go to the artists.
The music industry stands to gain a great deal from disintermediation. Audius provides an interesting alternative to traditional music industry models. Let’s take a look at how exactly Audius and the AUDIO token intend to do this.
In this guide:
What is audius token (AUDIO)?
Audius is a blockchain-powered music streaming service that allows users to directly support artists with AUDIO tokens. It is run by an open-source community, including fans, artists, and developers. Unlike other music streaming platforms, the number of track plays does not determine artists’ proceeds. Audius gives artists the flexibility to make money as they see fit. This may be through the sale of unique NFTs or by some other means.
The Audius whitepaper, published only in late 2020, argues that their network gives the power back to artists, cutting out the numerous intermediaries that take a share of artists’ revenue. On the face of it, the concept works, allowing customers (holders of the AUDIO token) to pay artists directly, rather than their record label, management, or anyone else who may take a cut.
Audius has recently struck a partnership with TikTok, enabling artists who have a presence on both platforms to take their music and incorporate it into their TikTok content. This is a surefire way to, allow artists greater exposure, and bring Audius to a mainstream audience. It is a beneficial deal for all and will hopefully boost the popularity of the project and its respective artists.
Audius vs. competitors
While a fairly niche concept, Audius is not alone in its mission to bring the blockchain to music streaming. At least six other services are trying to achieve similar aims. One of the most developed of these services is Vezt, which allows music fans to take part in Initial Song Offerings (ISOs). Much like IPOs (Initial Public Offerings), Vezt allows users to buy the rights to recently released music, giving them a stake in the artists’ content. This allows fans of an artist to gain royalties, like artists, from the purchase of songs through the initial song offerings.
Users can fund their accounts with both fiat and crypto. They can then pay for a stake in songs. This offer fans the chance to feel more involved and benefit from the artist’s success. Vezt seems the closest to a working model, in terms of competition, to Audius.
There are differences between the two, a big one being supported platforms. Between the two, only Audius has a desktop app. This extra capability is useful for those who want flexibility in how they enjoy their music.
Both platforms are impressive. Audius’ features currently beat the more limited features of Vezt, which focuses on the money-making element of music. The former boasts better sound quality than Spotify, and the open-source nature of its platform allows for the community to build new features as needs be. Audius has achieved a platform that offers more features and flexibility than Vezt, and for that, comes out on top.
A history of Audius
Audius was founded by Roneil Rumberg and Forrest Browning in late 2020. The development itself began in May 2018. Having gained the backing of Binance Labs and Coinbase Ventures in October 2020, around the time of mainnet launch, it now has the confidence of the big players in crypto. But where did it all start?
Despite launching an initial version in 2018, the duo behind the platform were already facing difficulties and criticism. Regardless of the purpose of the platform — to allow independent artists to upload, host, and monetize their music — there was also a problem with pirated material.
The nature of the platform allowed users to upload copyrighted material from major artists. This allowed them to generate income from unauthorized content by the artists.
In recent months, Audius has brought in a community arbitration system to moderate content, tackling this very problem. This has meant that those uploading pirated content should not be able to earn the AUDIO token, as had previously been the case.
In 2018, the team released the initial whitepaper. A very early version of the product was also launched. Later that year, the Audius team gave an initial group of testers the first version of the product to test and provide feedback. Following this phase and its improvements, the project welcomed its first users outside the initial group. In the months after, it developed an extensive range of new features. By the end of the testnet phase, the platform had over 500,000 monthly users.
In October 2020, as previously mentioned, Audius launched to the public, fully, for the first time.
Audius uses the AUDIO token to keep users incentivized to use their platform. Staking AUDIO tokens reward the user, and betters the services that Audius provides. Node operators can stake tokens to ensure the security of Audius and keep it running smoothly. Meanwhile, everyday users of the platform can stake their tokens for exclusive content and features that will, no doubt, keep them engaged.
Staking these tokens also means that you have a stake in the future of the protocol, shaping its future. As the platform grows, users will be able to stake their tokens, including artists tokens, to receive the monetary benefits of their favorite artists’ success.
Should you buy the AUDIO token?
Audius and its associated token doesn’t seem set up for long-term investment. Rather, users can stake their AUDIO tokens for their favorite artists. It is, instead, part of a payment system for the next generation of music streaming services.
The project cuts out record companies and distributors. This may appeal more to independent artists, allowing fans to give more of their money (even in the form of cryptocurrency) directly to artists.
More to the point, if you were to try to purchase AUDIO token, it isn’t actually that easy. It is listed on relatively few exchanges, despite backing from Coinbase and Pantera Capital.
Audius token is currently available on just a handful of exchanges, including Binance, Uniswap, and BitStamp.
What does the future hold for the AUDIO token?
As we edge ever closer to a transition to Web 3.0, an internet built on the blockchain, the services we love and use everyday will also have to evolve or be replaced by more advanced versions. Bye bye Spotify, hello Audius.
It is hard to imagine the AUDIO token becoming something like bitcoin. It isn’t a token that will result in great personal profit. However, the AUDIO token and Audius could play a major part in investing in upcoming artists.
It is clear, from the platform’s recent partnership with TikTok, that Audius is very likely the future of music streaming or, at the very least, a part of it. While it does have competitors, they have all taken a slightly different angle as to how to approach music and the blockchain. It will be interesting to see where they all go.
Should you try Audius?
If you are a music fan who wants to support independent or smaller artists and is looking to the future of the music industry, then Audius is definitely a platform for you.