Music platform Audius is among the more mainstream projects to come from the crypto world, securing early funding from players in the very industry the shop aims to disrupt. Think: Katy Perry, Nas, Jason Derulo and Pusha T.
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.
Details: The company, founded by Rumburg and Forrest Browning less than five years ago, rolled out its music service in September 2019 that has since grown to 7 million monthly listeners, 250,000 artists and just over 1 million tracks, according to Audius.
How it works: Artists can earn the firm's $AUDIO tokens by posting content, while listeners can earn by contributing feedback.
The intrigue: Rumburg wants Audius' artists have pricing power.
Yes, but: Creating a better system for paying music artists has been attempted time and time again, with or without blockchain.
Threat level: Turmoil in the markets and the threat of a crypto winter creating antsy investors and creators makes Rumburg's ambitions all the more pressing.
Context: Streaming platforms like Spotify and SoundCloud have substantially larger listener bases than Audius, measured in hundreds of millions. (Audius' early mission was to improve upon their models, per its whitepaper.)
Dance music, in particular, dovetailed with Audius' conceit and the makers of that kind of music are dominant on the platform.
Under the hood: Two advancements in crypto between 2015 and 2017 enabled Audius to become what it is today, Rumburg said.
Audius also leans on another blockchain, Solana to manage content.
Another challenge for Audius is to maintain an even playing field for new entrants versus veterans, ensuring that every new artist can break in.
Bottom line: "In order for Audius' long-term mission to be realized, it has to always be possible for an artist to contribute content, curate content, make the network better and earn control in return for that," he said.


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