Solana Summer: Audius & AUDIO Explained

Audius is a crypto project that targets the music industry with its music streaming service. It is powered by AUDIO, the project’s native token, and changing the ways artists and their audience interact with one another. 

While similar to Spotify or Soundcloud in some ways, this platform uniquely offers artists much more control over their music and the type of experience their audience and fans can get. 

Blockchain is useful here because it enables artists to generate time-stamped, immutable records of their music. 

In this article we take a closer look at Audius, AUDIO and the reasons behind why Audius migrated to Solana. 

What makes Audius a good project? 

Music has been around for as long as humans have been singing, drumming and humming, but as an industry music, as a professional undertaking, has been under immense pressure over the past few years.

With free streaming and peer-to-peer sharing, besides live performances, musicians constantly have to look for new ways to generate revenue. For some this means building up more of a personal brand and following and then either partnering with other brands or launching products in an effort to commoditize their fame.    

Even if artists are able to sell albums or songs online, they do not necessarily earn royalties – depending on who actually wrote and composed the song.  To fix this, Audius has created a decentralized music streaming platform that is run by a community rather than some record label. Powered by the native AUDIO token, artists are paid directly each time somebody streams their music. 

Besides AUDIO, the platform also makes use of ‘artist tokens’, stablecoins and decentralized storage solutions. Also, the Audius ledger allows artists to share audio and query metadata efficiently. Furthermore, Audius uses a decentralized governance protocol. This gives artists, fans, and node operators the ability to make decisions about changes and upgrades to the protocol.

Importantly, the audio streaming platform also allows users to save tracks to their ‘favorites’ and share playlists with other users. By doing this, users can also earn AUDIO token rewards.

Audius on Solana 

With the popularity of Audius growing day by day, concerns over fees and lack of security, Audius had to consider moving their project to another blockchain. 

The Audius team reportedly specced or built proofs of concept with over 20 L1 and L2 scaling solutions. After this research, Audius selected Solana — a high performance L1 blockchain capable of 50,000 transactions per second with costs as low as $0.00001 per interaction — to help scale the network.

Specifically, the reason why this project moved to Solana and why we can potentially expect other successful projects to migrate away from other smart contract platforms, has to do with quality. 

For project builders, these advantages matter:

  • Cheap: Offering around 1M transactions for $10.
  • Fast: Block times are 400ms, with confirmations often under 1 second.
  • Live: Mainnet has been live for nearly 8 months and processed nearly 5B transactions.
  • Decentralized: With over 180 nodes on mainnet, and over 500 on testnet.

Learn more about top projects on Solana

What is AUDIO?

Audius serves around half a million users and is continuing to grow in popularity as more artists seek out better distribution models for their music. The Audius token (AUDIO) plays an important role in safeguarding the platform and incentivizing users. 

AUDIO helps maintain the network’s security while providing access to exclusive features within the platform. AUDIO can also be staked to secure the platform.

In fact, by staking AUDIO, users receive a portion of network fees, along with additional voting power in the governance system and exclusive features as a reward for securing the network. Lastly, by staking the AUDIO token, providers – which could be the artists themselves – gain additional fan discovery opportunities, features, and services. 

Towards Web3

The excitement around Audius and AUDIO has to do with a larger drive in the industry to take the Internet to the next level and make it work for everyone. Decentralized Finance (DeFi) is only one way in which blockchains such as Solana are used to disrupt existing industries and systems, in this case financial services.

Audius fits in a larger process that we read as the rise of Web3. Based on cryptography and peer-to-peer interaction, and tokens, Web3 environments re-introduce ownership, p2p, data neutrality, permanence and verifiability to the Web.

Previously, Web1 was a read-only environment and Web2 allowed for interaction and a responsive algorithm. While the Web2 was a frontend revolution, the Web3 is a backend revolution. It is a set of protocols led by blockchains like Solana, that intend to reinvent how the Internet is wired in the backend, combining the logic of the Internet with the logic of the computer. This is why some refer to blockchain as a distributed world computer.

NFTs and platforms such as Audius draw on blockchain (such as Solana) to re-introduce ownership to artists and users.

Blockchain-based music streaming platforms such as Audius are set to heavily disrupt the music industry by empowering artists. This is achieved by cutting out middlemen and paying artists directly.

Absent in most traditional music streaming platforms, Audius provides a range of fan engagement opportunities that connect artists with their audiences. Think of interviews with famous artists and insightful podcasts. 

And it’s not just about bringing artists and audiences together. It’s also about offering the tools anyone would need to develop their skills and grow as an artist. For example, every two weeks Audius offers challenges to create tracks using sample packs created by top producers.

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