Nas and Pusha T are among a group of music industry power players who have invested in a new streaming platform looking to rival Spotify, Apple Music and TIDAL.
Founded in 2018, Audius is a streaming service built on blockchain — the same technology behind NFTs — that allows artists to get paid quicker when people play their music.
According to Rolling Stone, Audius will announce a $5 million round of strategic funding later today (September 16). In addition to Nas and Pusha T, A-listers such as Katy Perry, Jason Derulo, Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda, Steve Aoki, The Chainsmokers and Disclosure are getting in early.
Audius has also received backing from a host of veteran music executives including former Sony/ATV Music Publishing CEO Martin Bandier, Madonna and U2’s longtime manager Guy Oseary, and Frank Ocean and Calvin Harris’ manager Mark Gillespie.
As Rolling Stone points out, the last time such a group of music heavyweights invested into a streaming platform was JAY-Z’s TIDAL, which launched in 2015 with over a dozen artist stakeholders including Beyoncé, Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna and J. Cole.
Like TIDAL, Audius offers artists increased ownership opportunities in the platform. But what sets the up-and-coming service apart from competitors is its expedited payment process. Thanks to its blockchain functionality, 90% of earnings from monetized streams moves to the artist in real time with 10% going to the community that keeps the streaming service running.
It’s this blockchain technology that has helped attract such an elite coterie of investors.
“I believe [blockchains] might be the most important technology to ever hit the music industry,” Nas said in a statement. “Everyone who uploads to Audius can be an owner. You can’t say that about any other platform.”
Martin Bandier added, “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.”
Audius’ $5 million funding arrives on the heels of the deal the up-and-coming platform recently struck with TikTok, making it the first streaming service to partner with the popular social media app. Audius currently boasts over six million monthly users and is free to use, although executives suggests the business model will soon change.