Today we are going to explore music streaming platforms on Web 2 and Web 3, specifically Spotify vs. Audius. Our new “Web 2 vs Web 3” series is where the team at Ripple breaks down the similarities, differences, and impact of similar technologies between the two.
Why did we start this series? As we learn more about the Web 3 space, the value of some elements is difficult to fully grasp right away. We believe that by comparing new Web 3 technologies and features to Web 2 features, we can draw better comparisons and therefore understand the value proposition of the features people are building in the Web 3 space.
You can check out the other articles here:
Music has always been at the center of our society and has continued to evolve every month, year or decade. Its expansion beyond borders has allowed us to intertwine songs, share stories through lyrics and, of course, express our creativity through unique beats.
As music has evolved rapidly, music publishing has had a slower development. From the beginning the music was played around us and played through the notes on paper. This moved to radios and television networks allowing for wider dissemination. Although this created an opportunity for artists to earn money from their music, it was necessary for the music to be licensed by publishing companies. Until the early 2000s and 2010s, this whole process posed many challenges for both creators and listeners compared to the flexibility we enjoy today.
Fast forward, streaming platforms such as Spotify have simplified the whole process considerably. The freemium SaaS model provides seamless access to millions of songs, introducing an entirely new approach to the music industry. This revolution has created waves across the globe and currently sits at a market capitalization of $29.25 billion. Although it has been a great platform for listeners, creators have continued to struggle under this model as it only favors the best artists in the industry.
That’s where Audius comes in. What if there was a way to give artists the right to their music while earning a fair amount of capital and royalties for each resale?
Spotify has undoubtedly become a household name serving 79 countries, 180 million subscribers, 406 million monthly active users and is available in 184 markets. Its traction came from ease and unlimited access, variety of music, SaaS subscription model, and cross-platform support (i.e. Windows, Apple, etc.).
For listeners, Spotify has become one of the best platforms for its variety of offerings. However, there are always two sides to any story. From the perspective of the artists behind the music, there are significant issues that the company fails to acknowledge. In the past, artists received a fixed amount for the album or song depending on the price. However, Spotify’s approach is to pay the artist based on their market share and distribution deal, indicating the number of streams associated with the song.
This approach clearly disadvantages small artists and prevents many artists from making a living from the music they produce. To provide additional context, Spotify pays artists between $0.0034 and $0.0054 per stream, which clearly demonstrates the divide between different artists on the platform.
Introducing a decentralized music protocol designed to be artist-controlled and community-owned. This alternative music platform gives everyone involved a slice of the pie, including listeners, artists, and node operators. With notable investors like Katy Perry, Nas, Steve Aoki, and many more, it makes sense to wonder how this platform differs from what we have today.
Recognizing the problems in the music industry, Audius is taking a unique approach to completely cut out the middleman and let artists generate their own profits. By connecting directly with fans, Audius allows artists to earn 90% of revenue and decide how they seek to monetize their music. Whether they prefer to offer their content at a flat rate for unlimited access or sell songs as non-fungible tokens (NFTs). By leveraging a peer-to-peer network and being supported by decentralized node operators, artists can continue to have full ownership of their content.
There is also a focus on $AUDIO, the governance token with a current market capitalization of $1.2 billion (at the time of writing) which obviously serves as the foundation of the platform. The remaining 10% of revenue is split among the node operators supporting the network. This means that the protocol takes no revenue share from its sales by remaining heavily dependent on the token’s success and community support.
- Both are music streaming platforms that allow artists to publish music and manage an audience.
- Both allow consumers to have unlimited access to a vast collection of music from industry giants.
- Both allow artists to connect with fans by offering streaming music and additional perks.
- Spotify is the main centralized music streaming platform and Audis is the decentralized music streaming protocol.
- Spotify promotes listeners with unlimited access to a large catalog of user-tailored music and limits artists to being paid based on the number of streams.
- With Audius, artists are favored allowing them to choose how they want to monetize their content, but copyright support is not possible due to its missing central authority. A limited catalog and brand recognition is also a difference between a small platform such as Audius which aims to incorporate industry leaders.
The iconic music industry is doomed to change and its flaws continue to scream in the ears of its artists and listeners. Although Spotify has enabled phenomenal growth for listeners to access unlimited music at any time, there are of course issues that are not recognized as a centralized platform powered by profits.
Although Audius is proposing several fundamental changes, including a community and artist-focused platform, it continues to face several hurdles as it seeks mainstream approval. Going forward, only time will tell if this new content-first model will be able to scale and compete with a giant like Spotify in its race to onboard more listeners.