This is an obvious point for Music Ally readers, but while we’re in a transition from sales to streams and ownership to access, that doesn’t mean sales and ownership of music are entirely dead concepts – particularly for independent artists.
Bandcamp has long been flying that banner, but now it has competition from startup Voltra, which pitches itself as “a digital music player and shop for people who want to own their music”.
It’s just as much an iTunes alternative then, with its desktop application for Mac, Windows and Linux, and a companion mobile app coming soon.
The store sells DRM-free music, while also operating a “stream-to-own” model: “You pay a little bit for each stream — and after the 10th stream, it’s yours.”
Voltra is also promising labels and artists that they’ll get 100% of their sales on its store: “We don’t take a cut.”
How does Voltra make money? By charging users $10 a month for a premium membership with cloud storage and backup among other features, and $5 or $10 a month for a pro membership for artists and labels respectively, offering more analytics and the ability to divide payouts.
Co-founder Paolo Fragomeni tells The Verge that Voltra’s beta test has around 5,000 participants, and a catalogue of nearly 3m tracks.
“I really believe that it’s possible to have a sustainable business with really cool premium services where the ultimate ethical objective is to try to have the artists be paid,” he told the tech site.