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What is Audius?

The application of blockchain technology continues to exceed expectations, and its implementation in the Audius platform further demonstrate that the technology’s potential is truly endless.

Based on blockchain technology, Audius is a music sharing and streaming service with a special focus on helping creators like musicians grow, and monetise their content on the decentralised platform. 

Brief history of Audius

Founded in 2018, Audius was inspired by the current situation in the global music industry, which tends to favour celebrity artists over their fellow up-and-coming artists who, in some cases, put in the same or more effort than their celebrity peers.

According to industry statistics, the music streaming service has more than 450 million subscribers worldwide and raked in more than $13bn in annual revenue during 2020. Sadly, while there is a lot of money being made, critics allege that artists are being unfairly compensated for their work. 

It is for this reason (among others) that Audius was founded by an open-source community of artists, fans, and developers. Specifically, the Audius project is driven by a mission to give everyone the freedom to distribute, monetise, and stream any audio content.

What is Audius?

Audius is a decentralised music sharing and streaming protocol with a social media component. Specifically, artists are able to upload their audio content to the platform which subsequently connects their fans directly to the exclusive tunes leveraging the protocol’s interoperable nodes network.

Talking about the social media components, the Audius protocol comes loaded with several social media features which mainly help music creators build a fan base to which they can showcase their talent.

Being an open-source platform, Audius implement a community model where artists, fans, and tech developers can contribute to each other’s growth either directly or indirectly.

Although Audius is not the first to implement this approach, considering that the likes of Spotify and SoundCloud have been around for some time now, it is one of the very few to be built on blockchain technology. 

Notably, the platform operates based on a few fundamental beliefs that include the following;

  • Users should be compensated in proportion to how much value they create for the network
  • Artists should directly engage with and transact with their fans
  • Governance power should be earned by creating value in Audius, and shared consistently between user groups contributing to the protocol
  • Prices and earnings for participants should be consistent, predictable, and transparent
  • Access should be democratised – anyone can contribute to Audius if they follow the protocol rules, and all information is publicly accessible
  • Intermediaries should be removed when possible; when necessary, they should be algorithmic, transparent, and verifiably accurate

How does Audius work?

There are three major components that contribute to the operation of the Audius protocol; the nodes operators, artists, and fans. Specifically, the node operators execute the bulk of the job, and so they are further categorised into two types based on their respective functions.

The first category of node operator, dubbed ‘content nodes’ consist of a user-operated network of nodes that host content on their respective devices. In other words, interested users can volunteer to act as a storage cloud for music content, while also managing the required permission to access the content by other users.

The second node operator, on the other hand, is referred to as ‘Discovery nodes’ and while they are also user-operated, they are tasked to index the Audius content ledger, providing an easy-to-query interface for retrieving metadata.

Audius content ledger system

Talking about ‘content ledger,’ this refers to another core operational aspect of the Audius protocol which serves as a single source where all relevant data (content metadata, for example) within the network are being stored. 

Notable data that is being held in the content ledger includes audio content and their underlying metadata; a decentralised process of enabling content tracking, revenue management, and controlling ownership structure. 

The content ledger also takes an account of all participating nodes within the network, as well as the social graph of all users participating within the Audius network.

Furthermore, the content ledger houses the smart contracts which are underpinned to the base Ethereum blockchain. Likewise, nodes (such as content nodes) that operate within the content ledger act as independent validators for the network’s proof-of-authority (PoA) consensus algorithm.

Audius native token – $AUDIO

$AUDIO is the native currency of the Audius network, and it primarily functions as the utility token that aligns the governance and financial transaction within the network. Notably, members who stake $AUDIO token can participate as a node, and benefit from the network reward system, participate in the network’s decision-making processes, and finally, have access to other exclusive features.

For instance, once the token is staked, a regular user can participate in the Audius protocol, while creators and curators, on the other hand, can access exclusive features such as artist tokens, badges and earning multipliers.

With a total token supply of one billion $AUDIO, 5% totalling 50 million $AUDIO token was initially distributed to the top 10,000 artists and fans while 75% is to be distributed among artists based on stream count. Currently, the token is priced at $2.61 with a market capitalisation of approximately $1.3 billion.

Audius governance

Being a community-centric protocol the Audius protocol is governed by all stakeholders including nodes operators, artists, and fans. As such, they are empowered by the network native asset to implement and amend underlying parameters including feature integration, token distribution, fee pool allocation, set royalty rate, and distribution of staking rewards among other decision-making processes.

Ultimately, Audius protocol is one of the few non-financial blockchain-based streaming platforms for the new age economy, and boast a high potential to help creators thrive evenly in an otherwise unfair playground.


Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the author should not be considered as financial advice. We do not give advice on financial products.