Nas, Pusha T, and other music industry players are investing huge sums into a new streaming platform that is projected to be the next big thing.
The market is fully saturated with a variety of music streaming platforms to choose from, but there is still room for more. A number of artists, artist managers, and label executives have become major investors in the up-and-coming platform called Audius, which is set to rival Spotify. Nas and Pusha T are among a group of $5 million investors said to be announced later today. Audius is a streaming service that was founded in 2018 that is built on blockchain, which is the same technology that supports the increasingly popular NFTs.
While the service is currently free to use, executives expect to diversify the business model amid their investment campaign that includes a host of famous names. The likes of Katy Perry, Nas, The Chainsmokers, Pusha T, Mike Shinoda from Linkin Park, Jason Derulo, and more are ahead of the curve with the investment opportunity. Audius has a much more extensive investor list than this, however, as it has backing from Martin Bandier, former Sony/ATV Music Publishing CEO, Madonna, Frank Ocean, Calvin Harris’ manager Mark Gillespie, U2’s manager Guy Oseary and a lot more.
Audius has already received rave reviews for setting itself apart from other platforms for its revenue benefits. Similar to TIDAL, the platform allows stakeholders the opportunity to have ownership which is something Nas was excited to point out in a recent statement about the service. “I believe [blockchains] might be the most important technology to ever hit the music industry,” the rapper said in a statement. “Everyone who uploads to Audius can be an owner. You can’t say that about any other platform.”
Additionally, the blockchain technology that Audius is built on will allow artists to get paid much faster when their music is streamed, as in real-time. 90% of earnings from monetized streams will reportedly go to artists in real-time, while the 10% residue will go to the community that makes the streaming service work. Bandier, who is a veteran music executive, was very excited about this prospect when he spoke to Rolling Stone. “Blockchain, which I understand to be a transparent and immutable ledger of transactions, should benefit songwriters and other creators in a way beyond what the current system permits,” he said. “Songwriters need more avenues for revenue, and this model should also help expedite payments for their music as it streams across the world.”
The former head of Sony/ATV Music Publishing also explained that it’s “not simply a Spotify 2.0” in a way that suggests that it will give the popular platform a run for its money, literally. “Streaming is just one small, albeit meaningful, part of its business model,” he continued. “The blockchain is enabling entirely new revenue streams for artists and creators, like NFTs, social currency, and curation. Audius is not only using the blockchain to add potentially significant revenue streams for artists, but it also allows them to cooperatively own the platform itself.”
Essentially, everyone who signs up for the streaming service has a crypto wallet created for their account, which Browning says affords boundless opportunities. “That enables us to build some really cool crypto features the mainstream is talking about — NFTs, etc — without all the extremely complex process of downloading and setting up extra apps,” he says.
Audius, which currently boasts over 6 million subscribers and counting, also recently became the first music streaming platform to strike a deal with popular social media network TikTok. Co-founder and chief product officer Forrest Browning says the platform will likely keep its “free-to-use aspect” while “layering in paid offerings that perhaps let artists monetize their superfans in unique ways.” He adds that this year alone has proven that “even a small percentage of your audience paying you directly can have a meaningful impact on your revenue and help grow the pie for everyone.”