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How Much Does Audius Pay Music Artists?

Audius is a blockchain based music platform with lofty goals. Their goal is a future where music fans directly support the artists they love directly, with no middle-man and instant payments. Artists upload music to the platform for free, listeners consume it and pay artists directly, and listeners can make money by sharing and engaging with the songs or by making playlists on the platform.

They want artists to get paid more than they do now which is a vision any music artist can get behind.

They’ve grown considerably since 2018 and in 2022 they have around 250,000 artists and seven million listeners on the platform. So is Audius a platform you should join? Maybe, but they still have a lot of work to do.

How much does Audius pay per stream?

$0.00. You read that right, they pay absolutely nothing per stream at the moment. All their talk about making sure artists getting paid more and enabling a better connection with fans is just that – talk.

They do indeed have some type of monetization method, however it’s more of a ‘reward’ system than actual monetization. Here’s how it works:

  • Every week the top 5 trending songs on the platform get a reward
  • Every week the top 5 trending playlists on the platform get a reward
  • Every week the top 5 trending API integrations get a reward

This means as an artist on Audius you only get paid if you have one of the top 5 trending songs that week.

If you find an article online that claims Audius pays upwards of $0.35 per stream, they are likely using an example of an artist that won one of these rewards, and divided out the $AUDIO (the token they use on the platform) amount received at the current rate by the number of streams the song received.

$AUDIO Token

As I mentioned above Audius pays artist with their cryptocurrency $AUDIO token. If you aren’t familiar with how cryptocurrency works, they’re structured around a virtual currency that has value based on its function / utility, supply and demand. It’s not a new concept with Audius, and its similar to other currencies like Ethereum and Solana.

One issue with cryptocurrencies is that they have a massive fluctuation in value over time. The value of 1 $AUDIO token started at around $0.10, and now it’s around $0.30. While that sounds good on paper, when you realize that in the middle they’ve had several spikes over $3 per 1 $AUDIO token you can see how volatile it is.

So if you were to get paid 100 $AUDIO that would currently be worth about $30 USD, but its not unreasonable that 1 month later it could drop to being worth $20, but it could also increase to $40 just as likely. The price is very susceptible to market forces similar to the stock market.

The fact that payments are made via $AUDIO and not a ‘fiat’ currency (regular money) causes this issue, but its also what gives Audius the advantage of promising instant payments to artists (someday, when they add a monetization system).

Turning $AUDIO into Cash

How do you turn these tokens into money though? If you’re not familiar with this stuff this will likely be a frustrating process. While apps like Robinhood and Coinbase make it easy to buy crypto, Audius is not on the popular exchange platforms. To turn $AUDIO into cash you need to transfer it to a wallet, use that wallet on a service like SushiSwap to swap your $AUDIO for another cryptocurrency like Solana or Ethereum, and then transfer that new crypto into an exchange that allows you to sell it for fiat currency.

It’s not a fun process, and a copy-paste error at any stage can easily result in lost tokens that cannot be recovered, and fees will be incurred at every transaction due to the way blockchains work.

The hope is that over time they can make this process more streamlined and less error-prone, but at the moment it can easily take you over an hour to figure out how to pull this off for the first time.

So I Shouldn’t Join Audius?

This is hard to answer – generally the more platforms your music is available on, the better. Audius has a very nice vision for the future, and they’ve been pulling off some impressive partnerships with companies like TikTok, and they’ve managed to allow users to integrate NFT’s into their profile to encourage sales. In addition this year (2022) they added a tipping feature so fans can tip their favorite artists.

The tipping feature is fantastic, but I doubt most artists care about the NFT integration especially considering NFT’s have largely vanished from public discourse with the great crypto crash of 2022. NFT’s are also largely ridiculed online by the general public, something I generally agree with.

If Audius can pull off a solid monetization system artists will likely flourish to the platform and start driving their fanbase there as well. Artists that get in early will likely reap the rewards from this surge of new listeners as with any new platform.

I would say its worth signing up and uploading some music to the platform so you have a presence there, but I wouldn’t spend any effort driving people there yet.