Audius dropped a cannonball on their community this past Friday with the release of their native cryptocurrency: the $AUDIO token. The decentralized music streaming platform and protocol surprised the top 10,000 users with tokens for contributing to the platform’s initial growth, leaving many artists and labels with thousands of dollars of $AUDIO. In this piece we’ll explore the reasoning behind the token, what it is, how to use it, the distribution, and what the future holds for artists & listeners on the platform.
i think its p clear at this point @AudiusProject is not fucking around
— 𝑺𝑨𝑲𝑨 (@soundslikesaka) October 23, 2020
There are no shortage of problems with how the current music industry handles payments and distribution. Legacy financial systems come with their own set of obstacles. Cryptocurrency has reinvented the way people can exchange value online, enabling systems that adhere to rules ingrained into their code instead of ones set by greedy companies and outdated laws. Audius leverages the Ethereum blockchain and other distributed networks to let users truly own their money, data, and content.
On Audius, artists don’t have to wait for distributors to send them their royalties. Not even Audius itself holds the keys to your wallet. They don’t host the music, and after enough time they won’t even own the protocol that platform runs on. It’s a new paradigm that gives power back to the people who provide value: you. By aligning incentives for platform and artist success through the value of the $AUDIO token, Audius doesn’t even need to take a share of revenue to be a profitable company. SoundCloud and Spotify wouldn’t hold the power they do today without the immeasurable contributions from the artists and fans doing what they love. Cryptocurrency enables us to cut out the middle man. It takes the reigns back from greedy corporations and gives people the tools to steer the ship themselves. It lets us create the world we want to live in, void of the toxic systems that have wreaked havoc upon the music industry for decades.
What is the $AUDIO token?
$AUDIO is a central building block of the Audius ecosystem. Holding it is like owning a piece of the network; it represents your stake in the projects success. The token is a reward mechanism that unites all participants in the ecosystem to make the project succeed. It’s a reason for new artists to join, for the team to deliver useful features, and for other stakeholders to bring value to the platform. It can be used in a handful of ways today with more use cases on the horizon.
Tech-savvy entities currently support the network by running nodes (servers) that deliver content (audio, song/user metadata, images, etc.) directly to users without relying on Audius or other companies to host and transfer the information. These node operators are rewarded in $AUDIO for their help, which gives them a larger share of voting power to guide the project to a better future.
In fact, anyone (yes, even you!) can use their $AUDIO to vote on upgrades to the protocol. The token gives you a voice in the ongoing evolution of the network, allowing people to propose improvements and signal their support for them. There are additional ways the Audius team foresees the $AUDIO token being used such as unlocking content and features/services, which you can read about in their whitepaper.
How do I use $AUDIO?
At the moment, there isn’t much that your average user can do with their tokens other than buy/sell them on Uniswap or Binance. More technical folks can stake their $AUDIO by running discovery and/or content nodes, which in turn will earn them more tokens as they continue to support the network. Starting in the next few weeks, users will be able to vote with their tokens on the Governance Dashboard. The more tokens you hold, the more of a say you will have in decisions.
Who received $AUDIO tokens?
The 10,000 most active users received an airdrop based on how many plays they’ve earned, their follower count, and likes on their tracks, playlists, and reposts. If you’ve been using Audius check your email! There’s a good chance you can claim some tokens on your Account Dashboard.
Unlike the SoundClouds, Spotifys, and other major tech companies that largely exist to extract money from their users, Audius rewards those who generate value for the project. In a remarkable gesture, they illustrated how much they respect their community by rewarding them with tokens for helping them get the project off the ground.
What better way to speak to the ethos of a community-owned and operated streaming protocol than by sharing the token responsible for shaping Audius’ future with the very people who helped us get to where we are today. – Audius
Audius airdropped 50 million $AUDIO to 10,000 users receiving an average of 5,000 tokens each. FUXWITHIT favorites such as Brownies & Lemonade, Phuture Collective and Good Society were each rewarded with ~60,000 tokens, and even we got a small handful for our blog account. You can read more details about the distribution and token launch in their announcement article.
audius is now officially the new soundcloud https://t.co/28T0BYeann
— tsuruda (@tsuruda) October 23, 2020
To those who have been plagued by industry incumbents for the duration of their artistic career, let this be a call to arms to reimagine and pave a new path— one in which every aspect of the experience is grounded in sovereignty and decentralization. We look forward to seeing you along the way. – Audius Whitepaper
There is a lot to be excited about. We’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg for what’s possible with user-operated platforms like Audius. We’re proud to be members of the community and thrilled to steward a bright new chapter in the music industry through innovative technology. Join us along for the ride and check out some of our favorite artists, labels and collectives on Audius below.