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What is Audius (AUDIO)? The Web3 Music Streaming Service

Learn about Audius and what blockchain technology can do to change the music industry.

Posted April 12, 2023
Last updated April 11, 2023

Audius AUDIO Crypto Token floating on purple background
Audius AUDIO Crypto Token floating on purple background

Audius is one of the latest applications of blockchain technology that cuts the middleman in the music industry. On the surface, it’s a music streaming platform that looks as familiar to listeners as Spotify and SoundCloud. 

But under the hood, Audius is connected to an extensive peer-to-peer network, where AUDIO tokens exchange and circulate. Audius also provides the data infrastructure for developers to be able to stream audio data from its native network to their own custom apps.

Let’s dive right into Audius (AUDIO) and learn what it can offer to artists and listeners.

What is Audius (AUDIO)?

Audius is a Web3 music streaming service like its Web2 counterparts Spotify and SoundCloud.

While the latter two platforms have done well to make music more accessible to the masses, as well as to provide a marketing stage for budding artists, there was still an issue with artists taking less cuts in the streaming revenue.

Next generation Web3 music streaming.

Limitations of Web2 music streaming services

That’s because with Web2 music streaming services, many parties are involved. Whether that’s a payment gateway taking transaction fees from users to artists, or the streaming service having a monopoly over the platform, and thus controlling stream revenue.

In addition to these challenges, on traditional music streaming services, new artists can potentially be outmatched by artists with more resources and political power, should the day come. This is a classical case of censorship due to the platforms’ aligning with the interest of people with power.

What is the goal of Audius (AUDIO)?

Audius’ mission is to connect fans directly with artists, and bring power back to artists. Artists can upload their artwork for free, and fans earn AUDIO tokens as they listen.

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Fans can also directly send AUDIO tokens to their favourite artists as a gift, paying no more than a small fraction in blockchain fees. 

Screenshot of the Audius app on a desktop computer from Audius homepage.
Audius app looks familiar to most listeners. Source:

Artists can also create their own revenue models by curating music that is only accessible with paid subscription in AUDIO tokens.

All of these freedoms are extremely difficult to do on well-established music streaming platforms.

How does Audius benefit artists?

While Audius’ proposition to disrupt the music industry shows promise, there is one large caveat. At the time of writing, Audius does not pay directly to artists. This may sound like a betrayal of their core philosophy β€” but it isn’t.

Think of Audius as a marketplace that generously offers space for sellers to do business there without having to pay rent. Many artists are willing to put up their work online for free as part of their strategy to build a fanbase. Fans can voluntarily support artists they admire by giving them donations, and paying very little on blockchain fees.

Screenshot of the main proposition of the Audius app from Audius homepage.
Main proposition of the Audius app. Source:

On well-known music streaming services, the revenue model focuses on two things β€” free with advertisements, or ad-free paid subscriptions.

That guarantees monthly income to the platform, while all the artist has to do is to focus on making good music that people want to listen to.  

After taking into account the number of streams, follows, and likes that the artist has earned, the platform pays out dividends after covering its operational costs. As far as the whitepaper is concerned, Audius does not work that way.

Audius is still evolving, with decisions being made by a community of AUDIO token holders. A new revenue stream that relies on advertising may apply in the future to create a steady income to everyone involved. Perhaps they’d think of one that uses a similar model to the blockchain-based Brave browser.

How does Audius (AUDIO) work?

On the surface, Audius looks just like any other music streaming platform. New users can use it for free, while users who are looking to support their artists can learn the ropes and use AUDIO tokens on the platform.

On the back-end, Audius (the platform) is a client software that connects to an intricate web of node operators. Think of these node operators like the miners on Bitcoin who process transactions. Node operators on the Audius network have two functions β€” to store music, and to index music. 

Storing music is pretty straightforward. When an artist uploads their music, the file goes directly to content nodes, and these nodes all share the same copy of the music file, hence making the files distributed and resistant to corruption.

Discovery nodes have a different task. They look at the list of all the music stored in content nodes, and with a clever algorithm, they’re able to serve the right type of music that the listeners want to hear.

Diagram of the model for how the Audius network works.
Basic model of how the Audius network works. Source: Audius Whitepaper.

Content nodes and discovery nodes work together in the same network, and they don’t only serve Audius (the platform).

App developers can gain access to Audius’ great library of music for their own purpose. For example, maybe you want to develop a TikTok clone, giving users the ability to splice and remix music (with permission) from the Audius network.

Enforced by smart contracts, artists have a lot of freedom to choose how they want to run their music business.

Again, they could release a gated playlist where fans have to pay to listen. They could sponsor a brand of their choosing, or allow some of their music to be used by other apps outside of Audius.

The takeaways

Audius is a decentralised music-sharing and streaming platform, which resembles more like a marketplace where artists can interact with their fans directly. 

Unlike conventional streaming services, Audius does not currently use the advertising revenue model to pay shares of its earnings to artists.

Audius logo on black background

To earn income from streaming, the artists must either curate a gated playlist where fans pay for access, or earn tips and gifts from fans listening to their music for free. 

With the power of smart contracts, artists can enforce rules on how their content can be used and monetised by Audius or other applications that use the Audius network.

How to buy Audius (AUDIO)?

With that being said, what are your own thoughts on the Audius platform?

Web3 and blockchain technology still has a ways to go before the general mainstream adoption kicks in, but Audius is here to jump in one arguably one of the most frequented streaming services in the modern age – all while supporting the artists and groups for their work of arts.

If you’re feeling bullish on the innovations brought by the Audius platform, consider adding their tokens to your crypto portfolio – and we’re here to help you with that!

Screenshot of Easy Crypto homepage showcasing the NZD and AUDIO pairing
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Audius (AUDIO) is just one of hundreds of cryptocurrencies that we offer here at Easy Crypto. Our collection of supported crypto assets include:

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Disclaimer: Information is current as at the date of publication. This is general information only and is not intended to be advice. Crypto is volatile, carries risk and the value can go up and down. Past performance is not an indicator of future returns. Please do your own research.

Last updated April 11, 2023

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