Audius, which is developing the first decentralized, community-owned and artist-controlled music-sharing protocol, announced today that it has raised a $5.5M Series A round led by General Catalyst and Lightspeed, with participation from Kleiner Perkins, Pantera Capital, 122West and Ascolta Ventures.
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Audius will continue building its blockchain-based SoundCloud alternative, based upon an open protocol that will live forever and is operated by a fully decentralized community of artists, developers, and listeners collaborating to defend the world’s music.
Audius was co-founded by Ranidu Lankage, a Sri Lankan pop artist turned tech entrepreneur who signed with Sony at 19 and went platinum.
After one album, he left Sony and went independent to maintain more control over his work.
Ranidu still performs at major events like Ultra and Coachella, and is also dedicated to developing technology to help artists.
This unified mission drove Ranidu and his two co-founders, Roneil Rumburg and Forrest Browning, to create Audius and harness the unique potential of blockchain technology to help address the worst elements of traditional music-sharing platforms – namely the lack of artist control and transparency.
One of the first participating artists in Audius is 3LAU, one of EDM’s most successful independent artists, known for his music remixes and his cryptocurrency savvy.
“Artists need decentralized models for music sharing, and a stake in the platforms they contribute content to,” said 3LAU.
“Blockchain allows Audius to do this with tokens and decentralized voting-based governance so artists have a say in how the platform evolves. It’s a very elegant model and one which, as an artist, I find immensely attractive.”
Niko Bonatsos, Managing Director at General Catalyst, said, “I have known Ranidu, Forrest, and Roneil for a long time, and have always been impressed with their ability to blend art, technology, and business together. In Audius, they bring together all three skills, with a deep technical heart and a compelling solution for a very big marketplace. We’re excited to see the future of music evolve as the Audius platform launches into the ecosystem.”
“The music ecosystem is uniquely positioned for an exciting new entrant like Audius”, said Adam Goldberg, Partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners.
“They’ve truly built a world-class team of advisors and industry veterans. We couldn’t be more excited to work with the Audius team to achieve their vision for democratized creative control.”
Audius lets artists connect directly with their fans and distribute content to them without any middlemen.
They can build, nurture, and engage with a loyal fan base directly on Audius, and their account is backed up forever on a blockchain without any worries of a third party shutting it down.
Artists have complete visibility into where, by who, and at what time their content is being streamed, all while being transparently paid in real-time.
Audius has a built a world-class team of advisors from all spheres – crypto, tech, and music. Among these are:
- Jeremy Gardner – Co-Founder of Augur & Managing Partner at Ausum Ventures
- Paul Veradittakit – Partner at Pantera Capital
- 3LAU – EDM Artist
- Bing Gordon – Founder of EA & Partner at Kleiner Perkins
- Tom Schmidt – Product at 0x
- Greg Hazel – Chief Architect at BitTorrent