Audius Founder Roneil Rumberg unveils plans to level the playing field for artists and musicians

3 min read

Brian: It’s super exciting and I’d love to go a little deeper on this because I look forward to there being an Audius of video in the future and who knows, maybe you’re going to bring that to us at some point? We can talk a little bit about that you know, youtube and some of those things after this, but just to finish up with the AUDIO token. 

First of all you know you guys are big. Your market caps is over half a billion dollars, and you’re 120th in the rankings. You have a sizable network. As far as that AUDIO token, I can buy it and stake it and help use the network and get a return, I can get buy some AUDIO tokens and then get special access. if I just upload content will I accrue tokens over time, or how else does that token get used or distributed if I was just an artist or a consumer?

Roneil: So there’s this ongoing inflation in the token supply and the proceeds of that inflation go to two places. One is the folks staking the

Token, and two is to folks who are making the network more valuable in all of the different ways that that means. 

To be clear the network doesn’t have this premonition of how valuable a given user is, there’s a direct chain of actions that a user can take that allow them to earn a reward out of that inflationary pool. If you show up to Audius with no money in your pocket, with nothing but interesting content,  or a knack for curating playlists you can start to go to work on the network curating content, posting new content, reposting it, and engaging with it. 

You can actually earn tokens over time through all of that activity so you have the opportunity, and over time this will continue to be the case to earn your seat at the table as a user. 

If you care about this network you want to effectively work for it through these different activities. You earn ownership of it over time too through these decentralized mechanisms for distributing ownership. So that’s the mechanic that makes Audius self-sustaining over time. If our company went away tomorrow all of that stuff would keep working. I’m not saying we are going away but if we were to, all of these mechanics self perpetuate the core mechanisms around Audius, and then the community can vote to change those mechanics over time.  

So that’s the other Lever there, so there’s a continuous changing of the different mechanics that folks can use to earn ownership in the network through their work. There’s also lots of work being done by the community right now around anti-fraud and anti-abuse because there’s if there are mechanisms to earn ownership like this there’s always going to be a small percentage of bad actors that try to farm. We even saw scandals like this play out on other networks, where there were venture firms farming airdrops on Defi networks. 

For example by using hundreds of wallets to deposit small amounts over and over again or doing these sorts of things. So the community has the power to define what is abuse and to put structures in place to stop it.

Brian: But that’s something you empower the community to do. You pay

them a percentage of the tokens. It’s anti-fraud, anti-abuse and to police the network in a way the community ends up wanting it to be. But you’re being proactive about that because if you’re not something will go wrong and it’ll end up being a mess?

Roneil: that’s exactly right. That’s our take at least is that even thinking about issues like content moderation, giving the community power over them our community has actually continually improved processes around dealing with copyright infringement for example, and other things. Because 99.9 percent of the community doesn’t want that stuff there, and it’s actually for that reason that many folks in the traditional music industry have started to get pretty excited about Audius too. 

Which I think is an important thing to note, I don’t think Audius actually displaces labels or publishers. What Audius displaces are these distributors and music supply chain middlemen that sit between the artist and the fan. if an artist wants to sign with a label that’s their choice and their prerogative. Whether or not that makes sense in their specific case that’s up to them to decide. Audius as a network doesn’t differentiate between those folks and the independent folks. 

Everyone is on a level playing field and has access to the same tooling and tool chain. Actually, that part’s not quite true, because I know folks that the labels have built their own tooling now to engage with the network so that’s an interesting bit with respect to the future of Audius,  is that you know the community around the network feels very strongly that they don’t want it co-opted by the incumbents of yesteryear, but those incumbents are equally enfranchised to engage here in the same way that any user is. 

It creates some really interesting dynamics and you know I have my personal opinions on this. I think if anyone is it’s showing up and behaving in good faith on this network, the network should treat them equally. It’s interesting to see some factions of the community feeling mad that the old industry behaved in this way so we’re going to make a new industry and then we’re going to behave the same way, and this is not how you address these problems, but it is amusing. And look ultimately it’s not my choice how these things play out that’s the wildest part of this whole journey, is that it is in the community’s hands at this point.

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