What is Audius? (AUDIO)

Summary of Audius

  • Audius is a decentralized music streaming platform that allows anyone to publish and listen to music without paying subscription fees.
  • The platform has gained the attention of artists and decentralized web users who are interested in a more open alternative to subscription-based music streaming services. 
  • Audius’s native token AUDIO can be staked to earn rewards for helping to secure the platform.
  • Artists can also earn AUDIO tokens by appearing on select “trending” lists within the platform. 

Audius is a decentralized music streaming platform for fans and creators. Artists can host their music on the platform for free and start generating revenue on their work — no handshakes or record label deals required.

Audius streams music from a collection of independent and represented artists on its web player and native app. Established and emerging artists can use Audius to host their music, access streaming metrics and build a following with lower financial barriers compared to many other music streaming services.

AUDIO, Audius’ native cryptocurrency token, is used to compensate artists for their creative works which are streamed from the platform. AUDIO is an ERC-20 token, but a wrapped version of the token is also available on other blockchain networks such as Solana.

Holders can stake AUDIO in order to run nodes, gain a share of fees collected from the network and increase the chance of their music content being discovered. The AUDIO token can also be used by artists to unlock unique badges that gamify the platform and to gain voting rights within the Audius governance protocol.

Audius was initially built on the Ethereum blockchain, but its content management system was migrated to Solana in order to handle its rapidly growing user base.


Who created Audius?

Audius was founded by Roneil Rumburg and Forrest Browning. Rumburg, Audius’ CEO, became interested in crypto in 2013 while at Stanford. Around that time, Rumburg co-founded Backslash, a protocol aiming to simplify how people send and swap cryptocurrencies. Rumburg later managed VC investments across the crypto industry for the firm Kleiner Perkins. 

Browning, Audius’ Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer, is another Stanford graduate. Browning co-founded StacksWare – a datacenter management platform for the enterprise market – as part of a research project while at Stanford. StacksWare won Browning a place on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list for enterprising technology in 2016.  

Rumburg and Browning founded Audius in 2018. The public launch in 2019 featured a livestream event including deadmau5 and other artists across the music industry. 

The project has obtained nearly $15 million in funding from high profile names, including pop stars Katy Perry, Jason Derulo and Steve Aoki, rappers Nas and Pusha T, Sound Ventures (a VC firm co-founded by Ashton Kutcher) and former music executive Martin Bandier. 

How does Audius work?

The Audius app is a desktop and mobile app enable music-streaming platform where users can discover and listen to music.  

Like traditional, centralized music services, users can create playlists, browse genres and see what songs and artists are currently trending. Artists can curate their own homepages with tracks, albums, playlists and even display non fungible tokens (NFTs) that they’ve collected or created.

Unlike centralized streaming platforms like Spotify and Tidal, music streams on Audius originate from a global network of content nodes instead of a centralized service. Content nodes use blockchain technology to maintain copies of the music files across several computers around the world. The music files are indexed on a decentralized file system called AudSP, a peer-to-peer file sharing system that is based on the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS). 

Artists can choose to run their own content nodes for more control over how their music is delivered to fans — even unlocking certain tracks for select groups of fans, if desired. Alternatively, artists can allow Audius to choose a set of nodes across the network to host their content on their behalf as well, making the system more censorship resistant and resilient.

Nodes are also used to make finding music possible on Audius. Discover nodes index the metadata for all of Audius’ content and make it easy for music listeners to find new tracks. 

Node operators earn AUDIO from the protocol’s yearly token issuance, which is set at 7%, as well as from the protocol’s aggregated fee pool by registering their node with an active stake.

Artists are able to earn AUDIO tokens if their tracks appear on the platform’s Top 5 Weekly Trending Track or a Top 5 Weekly Trending Playlist. Musicians can also earn tokens by transferring their Twitter or Instagram blue check verification to Audius and uploading their first piece of content. 

AUDIO token holders, whether they’re listeners, artists or node operators, have a vote in the Audius governance protocol. This decentralized autonomous organization (DAO)-like system supports the Web3 ethos of the platform and allows users to have a say in the future development of the service. Proposals raised here may determine new feature integrations, royalty structures, reward allocations and more.

Why does Audius (AUDIO) have value?

Prospective Audius users may see potential in a streaming music platform with the “middlemen” removed and which allows artists to have a closer relationship with their fans. 

Free speech advocates may also take interest in Audius’ censorship resistance, as its content and metadata are decentralized across a global network of machines rather than within a single location.

Audius is currently home to hundreds of thousands of unique artists across multiple genres who have been attracted to the platform’s earning structure and more open management practices. 

In 2021, the social media app TikTok also added the ability for its users to add Audius music to video.

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Why buy AUDIO?

Users of Audius’ music service that are interested in voting on decisions that influence the future direction of the platform may consider purchasing the AUDIO token. 

Additionally, users wishing to run a content node and participate in the protocol’s staking structure may want to buy AUDIO. 

Creators using the Audius platform to host their music may want to increase the discoverability of their music by purchasing more AUDIO tokens. 

Holders of the AUDIO token may believe that the platform’s ties to celebrity artists creates an opportunity for future growth. If the popularity of the platform grows, the price of AUDIO could theoretically increase with it.

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