The San Francisco-based music-sharing blockchain platform Audius announced on Wednesday that it has raised $5.5 million in a Series A round from a pool of investors led by US venture capital firms General Catalyst and Lightspeed. The other investors that supported the project were Kleiner Perkins, Pantera Capital, 122West and Ascolta Ventures, all based in the US.
As a decentralized service, Audius intends to do away with intermediaries and let music artists and their audience freely engage with each other. This means musicians can view who streams their content, and when and where they stream it. They get paid in real time, thus correcting “the worst elements of traditional music-sharing platforms – namely the lack of artist control and transparency”, the company statement read.
In others words, Audius is hoping to become an alternative to mainstream platforms like Soundcloud and Spotify, it said.
The financial aspect remains a bit unclear though. Neither the press release nor the platform’s website elaborate on how music sharing will be monetized. However, co-founder and CEO Ranidu Lankage told Techcrunch that Audius plans “to use token incentives”, meaning users will pay for music with Audius tokens that are earned when listening to ads.
In the beginning, Audius will not feature any huge names from the music scene, but will rather put a focus on independent musicians. One of the first artists joining the new platform is US deejay 3LAU, who commented:
“Artists need decentralized models for music sharing, and a stake in the platforms they contribute content to. […] Blockchain allows Audius to do this with tokens and decentralized voting-based governance so artists have a say in how the platform evolves.”
The Audius service is a joint creation of Lankage, who is a known Sri Lankan musician, Kleiner Perkins engineering partner Roneil Rumburg and software specialist Forrest Browning. The launch date of the platform is yet unknown.