Other early and noteworthy musicians who are stakeholders in Audius include Katy Perry, Jason Derulo, Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda, Steve Aoki, the Chainsmokers, and Disclosure, per a press release. A group of veteran music executives is also investing, including former Sony/ATV Music Publishing CEO Martin Bandier, Madonna and U2’s longtime manager Guy Oseary, and manager Mark Gillespie, whose clients include Frank Ocean and Calvin Harris.
Audius is set to announce a $5 million round of strategic funding on Thursday. The venture launched in 2018 as a streaming service built on blockchain technology, also used to support NFTs, or non-fungible tokens.
“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.”
Bandier said, “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’ draw is that it favors artists and permits them to be paid faster when fans play their music. With blockchain, 90 percent of earnings from monetized streams go to the artist immediately, while 10 percent goes to the community that keeps Audius operating.
Audius’ latest funding follows its new deal with TikTok, which made Audius the first streaming service to team up with a beloved social media app. Audius currently has more than 6 million monthly users and is free to use, though that might change soon.
The last time so many music industry power players invested in a streaming platform was Tidal, which Jay-Z revitalized in 2015 with a slew of celebrities on board, including Beyoncé, Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, and J. Cole.