Decentralized Music Streaming Service Audius Shifts Balance of Power, Says Bank of America

Audius moves “power, profits, control and governance from record labels and centralized [platforms] to artists and fans,” the report says.

AccessTimeIconJul 25, 2022 at 2:12 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 6:50 p.m. UTC

Audius’ decentralized music streaming platform provides artists with greater profits and increased control, Bank of America (BAC) said in a research report Thursday.

Audius launched its mainnet in October 2020 with the aim of shifting the “balance of power and profits from intermediaries, such as record labels and centralized DSPs [digital service providers], to artists and platform users,” the report says.

The platform plans to distribute 90% of revenues to artists and 10% to node operators by removing intermediaries, resulting in a “decentralized DSP that shifts power, profits, control and governance from record labels and centralized DSPs to artists and fans,” the note says.

The streaming service said last week that it was offering a new feature for creators to monetize their content by allowing listeners to send tips to artists via its governance token AUDIO.

Bank of America said the music industry is ripe for disruption. Still, Audius’ adoption trends and limited music offering relative to larger DSP’s are likely to limit “short-term disruption risk,” however, disruption over the longer term is still possible.

Competition is an issue, as leading DSPs have built “economic moats” around their businesses by offering large music offerings through record labels and by leveraging personal data to improve the user experience, the note says. Smaller DSPs, such as Audius, are faced with a “Catch-22 scenario,” as user adoption is needed to push artists onto their platform, but it also needs artists to join to drive user adoption, it added.

The bank notes that while Audius’ platform has attracted mainstream artists, including deadmau5, Diplo, Skrillex and Weezer, its usage growth has slowed since December 2021.

There are also potential legal risks related to Audius’ inability to remove music that infringes on copyright that should not be ignored, the note added.

The platform said Saturday that it was aware of reports of an unauthorized transfer of AUDIO tokens from the community treasury after it was the victim of a hack.


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