As the streaming landscape competition continues to get more competitive between the likes of Spotify, Apple, Amazon and others, finding competitive advantages to drive paid subscribers has never been more complex.
Despite a crowded landscape, some platforms have carved out a unique place for themselves in the world of music streaming that creates a focused and unique value proposition for creators and fans. One such platform is Audius, which uses blockchain technology to offer clarity and transparency for artists.
Through Audius’ disruptive platform, artists can upload their music and have an immutable record of owning that content. If the content is misused, musicians can easily prove ownership of the intellectual property and take the appropriate measures to stop it from being used without their authorization. It also gives musicians more control with regards to the monetization of their work and enables them to connect with fans directly.
We spoke with Clayton Blaha, Audius' Head of Partnerships, about the newest feature on the platform: the Remix Contests Dashboard, an interactive dashboard that allows users to download stems from artists and submit remixes. Blaha gave us exclusive insights into where Audius stands now, why EDM is at the core of its user base, and what we can expect from them in 2022 and beyond.
EDM.com: With over six million users on Audius' digital streaming service, compared to other genres, how big of an influence is the EDM community within the platform?
Clayton Blaha: EDM is definitely a passion for the Audius founders and just about everyone at the company. Also, it's not a secret that producers of dance music tend to be very savvy in reference to new digital tools like Audius—they create their music almost entirely in the box, and in my experience most of them begin learning the basics by remixing. This new dashboard is meant to help engage those fans while giving them the ability to practice their craft.
Maybe we'll see the next big festival headliner emerge from Audius the same way they did from SoundCloud back in the day? That potential is definitely in the DNA of Audius.
EDM.com: Can you share with our readers what makes your music fans unique on Audius when compared to the other digital streaming services such as Spotify, Apple Music, or Amazon?
Blaha: I think the primary difference is that Audius does not differentiate between creator and consumer the way centralized, top-down platforms do. The lines have been blurred and the many-to-many connections that a network like Audius facilitates means that anyone with a laptop can add value to the community in a lot of different ways and they do. Producers are curators, mixing engineers are power listeners, fans are rappers, Discord mods are DJs, and they all benefit from making the Audius network a great place to enjoy music and the culture around it together.
In 2021, Audius announced a new $5 million round of strategic funding from several of the biggest names in the music industry. The capital injection partnered Audius with some of the biggest names in music on and off stage including The Chainsmokers, Katy Perry, Nas, Steve Aoki, Jason Derulo, and many more.
EDM.com: Can you share how this latest funding round is being used to push the platform forward in 2022 and beyond?
Blaha: The raise was an exciting moment for us because it really was an indicator that some of the biggest and smartest people in music are recognizing that there are so many new alternatives to the traditional streaming paradigm. Will they all stop working with major labels and uploading music to Spotify via traditional distributors? Probably not right away. But they do recognize that a lot of the tools that got them to where they are now aren't available to everyone, and even less so in 2022.
We took their enthusiasm as an indicator that they're interested in providing opportunities for the next wave of global superstars and we plan to work closely with them to not only get the word out but to capitalize on those alternatives and build a fanbase with us that's more directly connected to their artistry in a way that no other platform facilitates.
EDM.com: Additionally, in 2021, Audius integrated with TikTok’s Sound Kit. Can you share with our readers why this partnership was so important to your users and if more integrations with TikTok or social platforms may come in the near future?
Blaha: It was great for our users because TikTok is the most important music discovery tool on earth currently. The ability to upload your music to Audius and have people Dueting over it within minutes was something that we were eager to offer our community- no other streaming platform has launched anything similar yet. I can't discuss much about the future, but I can say we will always be looking for ways to strengthen the bond between creators and their fans.
EDM.com: Most recently, Audius partnered with Dillon Francis to launch the “Real Love” remix contest and debut the company's new "Remix Contests Dashboard." How did this partnership with Francis come to be?
Blaha: Dillon is just a really, really smart and forward-thinking artist, and he loves interacting with his fans. Anyone who follows him on social media knows that. He jumped at the opportunity to drop the stems on Audius because the feature makes it so easy to keep track of them. All the remixes are there threaded underneath the original track and now he can listen to them all in one place. He's been using Audius the same way he used to use SoundCloud and it's working really well.
Dillon Francis, who partnered with Audius to launch an exclusive remix contest.
EDM.com: The “Remix Contests Dashboard’ will be able to display all of the ongoing remix competitions in one place on the Audius platform, allowing aspiring producers to survey and select the songs they’d like to reinterpret and re-release. Can you share the process of how this new feature was developed and why it was important to launch it for your 6 million-plus users?
Blaha: We built this feature because of the feedback we had received from a lot of artists and what we saw happening on social media: all kinds of artists giving their stems away with no real means of keeping track of what the fans did. Also, when I was with OWSLA, we'd often sign people based on their remixes of Skrillex songs—I'm pretty sure that's how Sonny heard Jai Wolf the first time. It's a great way to break out and get heard and that's why many people use Audius. It was a no-brainer for us.
EDM.com: When looking beyond the "Remix Contests Dashboard," what other features or product upgrades can Audius users expect to see into 2022 and beyond?
Blaha: We're going to be announcing a lot of really paradigm-shifting features soon, so definitely stay tuned. I don't want to go into detail, but the mission to enable and empower creators is always going to be at the core of everything we do and we have big plans for the coming months.