TikTok said on August 17 that it will work with Audius, a streaming music provider, to handle its large internal audio collection. Audius was an unlikely partner for the short-form video behemoth. It isn’t one of the mainstreaming services like Apple Music or Spotify, but it is a digital music streaming start-up created in 2018. Even odder, Audius is one of the first and only blockchain-based streaming systems to buy bitcoin in Dubai.
What is blockchain, again?
Blockchain is a distributed ledger system that stores and transmits data records without requiring centralized ownership. On these systems, transaction data is saved as individual “blocks” that are linked together sequentially by timestamps and unique IDs to form “chains.”
Individual songs are given unique codes, and clear records are kept each time a song is played in the case of music. It might also imply more simplified and transparent payment procedures.
Platforms like Spotify and Apple Music compensate musicians on a “pro-rata” basis. Artists are paid a percentage of the platform’s overall monthly revenue from commercials and membership fees, based on how many times their music has been played.
Independent musicians and experts have criticized the pro-rata approach for perpetuating a “superstar economy” in which the most successful artists receive the majority of monthly money. Audius offers a “user-centric” paradigm, facilitated by its blockchain infrastructure, in which artists earn money produced by individual users who directly stream their music.
That is, musicians are paid more directly from those who listen to their music on the internet. While the major streaming services have refused to forsake pro-rata payments, Deezer, a French music streaming service with over 16 million monthly active users, has made the first steps toward user-centric payments.
Now, it appears like TikTok is on the verge of following suit.
Independent musicians will be able to upload music directly to TikTok via Audius. Given the importance of music on TikTok and the platform’s proclivity for failing to properly reward musicians for their work, this would be a benefit for musical artists to easily sell or Buy Bitcoin in Dubai. According to a recent study on blockchain systems in book publishing, the technology has the potential to enhance intellectual property tracking and raise royalty payments to indie writers. The same might be said for TikTok’s independent performers, but a history of exaggerated claims and unmet promises calls for caution.
Although TikTok has given no indication that it would leverage Audius’ blockchain technology to build a user-centric revenue model, royalty payments per video play is a fair assumption. When musicians are compensated by a platform like as Spotify, they are compensated in cash. Audius, on the other hand, uses its own cryptocurrency, $AUDIO, to execute blockchain transactions.
Cryptocurrencies are digital currencies that are maintained on public ledgers rather than in banks and may be used to conduct transactions using blockchain technology. Although Audius’ co-founder maintains that most users are unaware of or disinterested in the cryptocurrency that underpins the network, the price of $AUDIO skyrocketed on cryptocurrency exchanges shortly after the announcement.
Because cryptocurrencies have such a volatile market, it may be hard to forecast whether artists would receive adequate remuneration if they accept payments in $AUDIO. Artists’ earnings will be determined not just by how often their music is played, but also by market speculation.
A user-centric strategy, on the other hand, is not without problems. For the idea to be really tested, record labels, music publishers, and digital platforms must all work together.
Anything less would generate fundamental inequalities for artists who use various services. Even TikTok isn’t betting all of its chips on the blockchain. TikTok announced music distribution deals with big labels and Indie consortia in June 2020, and TikTok announced a new collaboration with Spotify in July 2021 to offer premium services exclusively to European artists.
However, after years of dramatic claims and unmet promises that blockchain could revolutionize the music industry’s future, TikTok has taken a concrete step toward revealing what that future might truly look like for average musicians.