A Deep Dive Into: Audius

Everything you need to know about Audius in under 5 minutes.

What Is Audius?

Audius is an innovative dApp and decentralized music streaming platform that promises to put power back in the hands of creators. Their mission is to free artists from the shackles of intermediaries and middlemen, giving creators access and full autonomy over their music distribution.

At the time of publishing, Audius currently has 1.9 million active users, 200,000 tracks uploaded, and $123 million of $AUDIO staked.

Audius is currently an Ethereum-based music streaming platform looking to overtake the dominance of Spotify, SoundCloud and Apple Music. However, Audius has begun porting parts of its model over to Solana. Currently, its content management system has been moved over to the Solana ecosystem, and we expect that a full transition will eventually be made in order to scale long-term.

“Audius is uniquely impacted by scaling challenges because of its current level of usage. I couldn’t be more thrilled to present this scaling roadmap for our community to execute together with the Solana ecosystem — this gives us a viable path to reach 100s of millions of users and beyond.” 

Roneil Rumburg, Audius Co-founder & CEO

Pain Points Audius Sets Out To Solve

Labels, distributors, stores, publishers, rights organizations, streaming platforms. These are just a handful of the intermediaries involved in the music supply chain. Whether you’re a bedroom producer or an established artist, profits are divided and diluted.

On top of that, music royalty rates are pretty abysmal, and for the most part — at the whim of centralized organizations. Profit-first attitudes to prop up share market prices drive these royalty rates even lower.

In 2019, the music industry generated a whopping $20 billion in revenue, yet only 12% of it reached the artists’ pockets. Compare this with the NBA and NFL, where 47% to 51% of the profit is bagged by the players themselves.

Centralized platforms are also susceptible to human error, which have led to bad and non-standardized metadata, missing contributor credits, unidentified recordings, copyright infringement and more. This means musicians potentially miss out on payments.

Centralized platforms also have the ability to de-platform and censor artists.

How Does Audius Solve Them?

Audius exists as a web, desktop and mobile application that mimics SoundCloud’s look and feel, but with a host of decentralized mechanisms baked into the back end.

  • Users can upload, stream and verify authenticate their files on the blockchain. High-quality audio files are stored in a decentralized ledger and file storage system.
  • Audius enables artists to release their music and prove ownership over their creations. This ensures a fair share of profit and all related claims.
  • Users can either buy AUDIO tokens or earn them by listening to ads on the platform. This rewards users for their attention, paying out a fraction of a cent per song. This pushes the royalty split up to roughly 85%, compared to the average of 70% on leading streaming apps.
  • An open-source protocol defers the responsibility of hosting, allowing uploaded content to be distributed among those who register as node operators. The theory here is to protect artists from copyright issues and the clutches of major labels.

The Token

Audius’ utility is derived from its $AUDIO token, released on the mainnet in October 2020. Here’s a quick overview of its core features.

  • By staking, token holders can participate in securing the network and receive fees as an incentive. Additionally, artists receive a higher probability of fan discovery for staking.
  • Token holders have the privilege to participate in the governance of the platform and vote on its future direction and features.
  • Artists can unlock services like artist tokens and badges, and receive voting power from fans who want to share in their success.
  • Further monetization token features are planned for a later stage.

Audius also runs on a decentralized governance structure, where all the stakeholders have a say in the decisions and strategies that are implemented for improving the platform’s performance.

The Audius Core Team

Audius’ team includes engineers, entrepreneurs, blockchain experts, and audiophiles. 

  • Roneil Rumburg: Roneil is the co-founder of Kleiner Perkins early-stage seed fund. While working at KP, he was responsible for seed funding investment into AI and blockchain technologies, including Lightning Labs.
  • Forrest Browning: Forrest is a Forbes 30 under 30 recipient and, most recently, the founder of StacksWare, which is an enterprise data center management platform.
  • Christina Rowland: She is an ex Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.
  • Dheeraj Manjunath: Before joining Audius, Dheeraj was the co-founder and Director of Engineering at Triblio.

Investors and Partners

Major investors of Audius include:

  • Kleiner Perkins
  • Multicoin Capital
  • Lightspeed
  • Coinbase
  • Blockchange
  • Pantera

Notable advisers and partners of Audius include:

  1. Deadmau5 – Electronic Music Producer
  2. RAC – Electronic Music Producer
  3. 3LAU – Electronic Music Producer
  4. Adam Goldberg – Co-Founder & Managing Director, Standard Crypto
  5. Bing Gordon – Co-Founder of EA Games
  6. Tom Schmidt – Partner at Dragonfly Capital
  7. Greg Hazel – Chief Architect at BitTorrent
  8. Ash Pournouri – Avicii’s Fmr. Manager
  9. Justin Kan – Co-Founder of Twitch
  10. Robb McDaniels – CEO at Beatport
  11. Jesse Grushack – Senior Strategy & Product at ConsenSys

Funding Rounds

Audius has successfully raised a total of $8.6 million in funding over 2 rounds. Currently, the company is funded by 9 investors, along with Blockchange and Coinbase ventures which were recently added.

The post-money valuation of the company was $50 Million as of 30th July 2020.

History and Roadmap

Here’s a quick overview of the Audius roadmap.

Genesis: Shortly after the company was founded, Audius released a whitepaper detailing all the plans for the architecture. The company also released the first operational implementation of Audius Smart Contracts, discovery node, and content node.

Private Alpha: Six months after establishing the company, the team began inviting users to become familiar with the protocol and provide effective suggestions. In this phase, access to the platform was provided on an invite-only basis. This helped the management identify and iron out major issues in a controlled environment.

Testnet: The Audius Protocol started welcoming its first 3rd party node operator into the network, with artist content and metadata being hosted by the end-users for the first time.

Mainnet Launch: The mainnet launch of the platform is the start of the Audius platform token, allowing artists, fans, and curators to customize their piece on the platform, as a value-added user.

Cross the Chasm: The community of Audius would be rolling out a new mechanism for owning the content and revenue that was not possible before. This mechanism would be backed by crypto native primitives driving the protocol under the hood.


  • Streaming Giants: SoundCloud, Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, and other centralized major players compete in the same space as Audius.
  • Emanate: Emanate is a network marketplace for musicians and fans, powered by instant payments and automation. They connect and reward users for participating in music creation, distribution, promotion and more.
  • Corite: Corite engages in a digital music platform designed for fans who want to invest in music and earn revenue. The business was founded in the year 2018.
  • Larala: Larala is a social networking and music platform established in 2010.
  • Mixhalo: Mixhalo focuses on providing a real-time audio platform, delivering a high-quality and immersive experience for live events.
  • Tencent Music Entertainment: An online music platform based in China, founded in the year 2016.

Wrapping Up

Your decision to invest will depend on your outlook on the future of the music industry, and more specifically — decentralized music platforms.

The prospect of bringing fairness back to creators and musicians is one that most of us can get behind, but it’s not going to be an easy road ahead. They are going up against centralized music industry giants such as Spotify, SoundCloud, Apple Music, Amazon Music etc, and they’re not going to topple their legacy overnight.

That being said, musicians and creators being able to earn more is a powerful narrative that could have a strong network effect among the creative industries, but only if they are able to deliver on their promises, and market the project well. As with apps and dApps of all sizes, success will be dependent on its ability to drive user adoption.

As always, do your own research before buying into highly speculative assets such as cryptocurrencies.

More Stories
A Deep Dive Into: Solstarter