Audius (AUDIO) is an Ethereum-based streaming app looking to take on Spotify and Apple Music by offering artists a fairer deal. Since October last year its price rose from $0.044 to a high of $4.95 last month. While it has since dipped to around $2, many are bullish about its future.
The music industry generates $43 billion in revenue a year but currently only 12% goes to artists after labels, publishers, distributors, and royalty collectors take a princely cut of profit. On top of that, streaming platforms like Spotify pay out comparatively little money per listen. Even Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” 100M plays reportedly earned them just $9,669.
HOW DOES AUDIUS WORK?
The blockchain streaming network of Audius allows musicians to cut out the middlemen and connect directly with fans. They could potentially set the rate for their own work and capitalize on data that shows them who their superfans are. When payments are able to be exchanged between fans and artists, Audius will keep 10% of revenue to help support itself and the rightsholder will keep 90%.
More recently, it has started getting into NFTs. Instead of selling non-fungible tokens, it launched a "collectibles" feature for artists and fans to display the NFTs. For artists, that makes Audius a shop window for their own NFTs, whereas for fans it's more about showing off.
IS IT GAINING POPULARITY?
Since launching in 2019, Audius has reached 4.5 million unique users per month. Over 50K people have uploaded content and the platform hosts around 200K tracks. Still, there are hurdles to overcome. None of the major music labels, which hold rights for music, have made deals with Audius. Such deals can be prohibitively expensive, meaning that the platform still hosts mostly independent music.
What’s more, the promise of redirecting profits from middlemen such as labels means that they may be reluctant to get on board unless special deals are made. Some have suggested that the platform may be more suited to artists offering exclusive demos, remixes, live recordings and one-off content that is not part of their “official” catalogue.
The company has also introduced tokens in an effort to democratize the platform and give both users and artists a say over its future.
While the business model for Audius is still developing, there is certainly a lot of promise that it could shake up the music industry with decentralized blockchain technology. While its price has dipped well below its ATH of $4.95, many remain bullish about its price prospects.
For comparison, Spotify was valued at $132 before its IPO in 2018 and reached a high of $365 earlier this year. Given that Audius is still in its earlier developmental stages, there is room for it to see bigger gains than this. As the platform grows in popularity and its business model is put the test, its ability to sustain long-term growth should become clearer.