Under the traditional listen-to-earn system, websites incentivize users to listen to music and leave artist reviews. The amount of income a user earns varies from one platform to the next. In general, however, income depends on the length and quality of the reviews and how many hours are spent listening to music.
Listen-to-earn is a system where users earn rewards by listening to music and writing reviews.
Listen-to-earn platforms that reward users with cryptocurrency have also become more popular in recent times.
With most concerts canceled because of the pandemic, musicians have been forced to find another way to reach their fans and earn a living.
Platforms based on cryptocurrency tend to be more complex and diverse in function than the traditional model outlined above.
Some platforms foster intimate relationships between artists and fans to crowdfund new projects, while others focus on the social media or streaming aspect of listen-to-earn.
In the next section, we’ll take a more detailed look at this exciting and emerging industry.
Fountain is a podcast streaming app where users can earn bitcoin while listening to their favorite content.
Users can also be compensated for listening to advertisements and sharing audio clips with family and friends.
Fountain is one of several companies that believe users should be compensated for their time.
According to CEO Oscar Merry:
The time and attention we give to tech platforms is incredibly valuable. Every minute that you spend consuming content, creating content, or viewing ads, increases the value of the platform you’re using. Most free apps we use every day don’t recognise or reward this – but Fountain is different.
Bitradio is a community-centric radio platform featuring more than 119,000 stations.
Listeners are rewarded with Bitradiocoins which can then be exchanged for bitcoin. Alternatively, they can hold their bitcoins and own a share of the company’s websites and services.
Bitradio also offers an ad-free premium product where listeners can earn 20% more reward points and support the continued development of the platform.
Current is similar to Bitradio in that users listen to curated radio stations to earn reward points.
However, points are rewarded based on the completion of daily tasks such as filling out one’s user profile or listening to 30 minutes of music.
Current also employs aspects of gamification with bonus points awarded if the user maintains a daily streak of check-ins.
Points can be spent on in-app features, gift cards, electronics, other physical products, and charitable donations.
Audius is a platform that connects artists with their fans in a familiar music interface.
Importantly, musicians can create timestamped and immutable records of their tracks that are secured by a decentralized network of node operators.
Audius is a listen-to-earn platform for artists that allows them to build a fanbase, share behind-the-scenes content, run contests, and publish music without having to sign a record deal.
The native platform token $AUDIO can be used to unlock premium features such as gated content and custom badges. What’s more, artists can stake tokens to run discovery or content nodes that enhance platform visibility and earn them a share of network fees.
Is learn-to-listen a viable business model?
Blockchain technologies offer the ability to provide built-in incentives into the platform, with the potential to align the two sides of the platform.
In short, the main promise, is the fact that the community can become a built-in force, into the product, which works, as a primary advocate for the platform.
According to this thesis, a decentralized platform can scale more easily, and reduce the costs associated with marketing and distribution (which are usually the most expensive components for centralized platform business models).
However, it’s worth pointing out a few counterpoints to this view.
Winner take all
In domains like arts and music, it doesn’t matter how decentralized might be the technology underneath.
It’s a domain where winners take all. In short, it’s driven by power laws, where very few artists take most of the profits of the industry.
However, if a blockchain-based business model can help a larger number of artists to make a career with a very small audience, this is where things get interesting.
In short, if an artist can leverage the listen-to-earn business model to make a career with a tiny audience (like 100-1000 fans), things become interesting.
If the blockchain becomes another place, where a few artists take it all, then, it’s just like Web2.
In other words, building solid unit economics which makes sense for many artists isn’t an easy fit.
And while the promise is that of decentralization and re-distribution of wealth among artists, it’s not easy to achieve.
Speculation and borderline Ponzi schemes
Where the built-in economic incentives are the strength of blockchain-based business models.
In periods of market expansions, where interest rates are low, and investors take massive risks, it becomes hard to separate speculation from the real product value.
Take the case of a token, for a decentralized platform, which rises in value, simply based on speculation, because there is no underlying activity on the platform.
In that case, it’s important to look at the core metrics of the platform.
Risk of centralization
Even if the blockchain underlies these platforms, in reality, the blockchain can be used only for certain parts of the platform.
And even there, there are initial incentives to distribute most of the ownership of tokens to a few, core people, working on the project.
If this situation stays the same over time, then there is not much difference between the traditional venture capital model and a blockchain-based one.
- Listen-to-earn is a system where users earn rewards by listening to music and writing reviews. Platforms based on cryptocurrency rewards tend to be more complex and diverse in function.
- Fountain was one of many platforms to be developed in response to tech and social media sites that profit from their users and provide little in return. Bitradio and Current are two listen-to-earn platforms that reward users for listening to curated radio stations and podcasts.
- Audius is a listen-to-earn platform built for artists who can build a fanbase, share behind-the-scenes content, run contests, and publish music without a record deal. The native token $AUDIO also facilitates network security, access to exclusive features, and community-owned governance.
- Definition of Listen-to-Earn: Listen-to-earn is a system where users earn rewards by listening to music and providing reviews, often through online platforms.
- Emergence of Listen-to-Earn Platforms:
- Listen-to-earn platforms have gained popularity, particularly with the rise of cryptocurrency-based rewards.
- Musicians and artists seek alternative ways to engage fans and generate income, especially in the absence of live concerts due to the pandemic.
- Complexity of Cryptocurrency-based Platforms:
- Cryptocurrency-based listen-to-earn platforms offer a range of functions beyond traditional review and listening incentives.
- These platforms may involve closer artist-fan relationships, crowdfunding for new projects, social media interaction, and more.
- Examples of Listen-to-Earn Platforms:
- Fountain: A podcast streaming app that rewards users with bitcoin for listening to content and engaging with ads and sharing.
- Bitradio: A radio platform where listeners earn Bitradiocoins, which can be exchanged for bitcoin or ownership in the platform.
- Current: Offers reward points for listening to curated radio stations and completing tasks, with gamification elements.
- Audius: Connects artists with fans, allowing timestamped records of tracks secured through decentralized networks. Uses $AUDIO token for premium features and artist engagement.
- Viability and Challenges of the Business Model:
- Decentralized Nature and Built-in Incentives: Blockchain technology enables built-in incentives, potentially fostering community advocacy and scaling more efficiently.
- Winner Takes All: The music industry often follows power laws where a few artists dominate profits. Blockchain models could support smaller artists to build careers.
- Speculation and Product Value: Speculation can inflate token values without real platform activity. Core metrics should be considered to distinguish real value.
- Risk of Centralization: Despite blockchain foundations, certain parts of platforms may still be centralized, impacting token ownership and distribution.
Connected Business Model Types And Frameworks
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