Streaming music service Audius isn’t quite like SoundCloud or Spotify: it’s a fully decentralized service built on a blockchain network, rather than relying on centralized servers and oversight. It’s also now the first streaming service to partner with massively popular social media service TikTok to let artists easily port their tunes into the app.
Audius has been chosen as one of TikTok’s first partners for its Sound Kit functionality, which enables seamless transfer of songs into the video-centric app. With the feature, artists who post their songs to Audius can then make them available for TikTok users to include in their videos, which can potentially expose them to a very large audience.
TikTok reported having 732 million global monthly active users as of October 2020, and that last official tally has likely continued climbing amidst the ongoing pandemic; Audius estimates that TikTok’s user count has surpassed one billion. In July, TikTok reported that 75% of its United States-based users say that they use the app as a means of discovering new music.
“The workflow for getting songs into TikTok is fairly cumbersome today,” Audius co-founder and CEO Roneil Rumburg explained to Decrypt. “To avoid it, some artists even resort to holding their phone up to their laptop's speakers to re-record the sound for TikTok. With the Audius integration, artists who have content on Audius are able to push it into TikTok with one click.”
Audius now has more than 100,000 artists on its platform, and while the majority are independent and up-and-coming musicians, there are some well-known bands and artists in the mix—Skrillex, Weezer, deadmau5, Diplo, and Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda among them.
“The TikTok integration lets Audius artists link their following on TikTok back into Audius, and vice versa, which helps them grow their following on both sides,” Rumburg told Decrypt. “Social followings are often siloed, so artists are excited about being able to cross-pollinate their fans across as many platforms as they can!”
The decentralized service is driven by the Ethereum-based AUDIO token, which users can stake in the Audius platform to participate in governance decisions, as well as earn rewards for securing the network. AUDIO is also given out as rewards for top artists and active users, and token staking unlocks advanced features too, such as displaying NFT crypto collectibles on the site.
All governance and staking still takes place on the Ethereum network, though Audius announced late last year that it had shifted part of its platform over to Solana (an Ethereum competitor) to "help scale" its network.
Audius reports having more than 5.3 million unique users over the past month, a notable rise since the start of the year—it had fewer than 2.9 million unique users in January. April was the service’s largest month to date in terms of total tracks played, however, with nearly 7.5 million plays over the course of that month.
Audius launched its mainnet service in October 2020 with a livestreamed concert featuring deadmau5 and RAC. During that same month, the service distributed a total of 50 million AUDIO tokens between 10,000 artists and users on the platform. AUDIO’s price is up 15% over the last 24 hours to a price of $1.82, according to CoinGecko—the highest price seen since the wider cryptocurrency market tanked in mid-May.