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Audius raises $5m from investors including Katy Perry and Nas

Decentralised music streaming service Audius has announced a $5m funding round that includes investment from some big names in the music world.

Katy Perry, Nas, The Chainsmokers, Jason Derulo and Pusha T are among the artists backing the blockchain startup, along with Sound Ventures (the firm co-founded by veteran manager Guy Oseary), Electric Feel Ventures and former Sony/ATV boss Martin Bandier.

The funding comes as Audius reached its latest milestone: six million monthly active users listening to its service.

The company emerged in 2018 with $5.5m of funding, and was quickly dubbed ‘SoundCloud on the blockchain’ for its focus on independent artists uploading their music to its decentralised platform.

It has since raised further funding rounds – $3.1m in August 2020 and $1.25m in October that year – and built its community of listeners and artists, while also exploring NFTs and co-launching a fund for artists with two other blockchain firms. Most recently, Audius added a feature enabling artists to share their music from its platform directly to TikTok.

What’s interesting about today’s news is that Katy Perry, The Chainsmokers, Nas and Jason Derulo aren’t DIY artists: they’re firmly rooted in the traditional system of label and publishing deals. If they want to put their music in Audius, there will be some licensing hoops to jump through.

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Katy Perry gets into NFTs and takes stake in Theta Labs

Theta Labs is one of the faster-growing companies in the blockchain/crypto space, thanks to the popularity of its Theta token. “A little over a year ago, Theta traded for 4 cents. It’s now around $6,” as Bloomberg noted in a report on the company’s plans to get into NFTs.

There’s a music angle here too: Katy Perry is not only one of its first clients, but she is also taking a stake in the company. There are more details on her plans in this Coindesk story: Perry’s NFTs will be launched around her upcoming Las Vegas residency, and will be based on the concerts.

“My fans can own a special moment of my residency that’s both a digital collectible as well as an IRL experience,” was how she described it in a statement.

That hints at the NFTs being bundled with ticket sales, or perhaps offering seats at the concerts as rewards, Kings of Leon-style. Fans can pre-register here for more details ahead of the NFTs going on sale in the final quarter of this year.

Posted inSandbox

Sandbox Issue 268: YouTube Premiere Playbook

Lead: YouTube Premiere Playbook – Youtube offers dizzying depth of content (500 hours of video uploaded each minute) and breadth of fan access (over half of music fans regularly watch music videos on the platform). It also means that uploading a great music video is not enough – artists must reach the fans that care and […]

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Katy Perry’s ‘Smile’ album comes with its own video game

The new Katy Perry album comes out tomorrow (28 August) and ‘Smile’ will be accompanied by its own promotional game. It’s a partnership with computing brand Dell – or rather, with its high-end gaming sub-brand Alienware.

The game is called Katy Quest, and from the clip shared by Perry on her socials, it appears to be a collection of circus-themed mini-games, riffing off the theme of the video for the album’s title track.

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Sandbox Issue 254: The Rise of Music Podcasts

Lead: If you aren’t making or appearing on a podcast, do you actually exist? Even with DSPs and record labels investing in them heavily and building whole podcasting divisions, there is still the issue of licensing music for them that is holding back their creative potential. Yet beyond that knotty problem, the sector is still an […]

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Sandbox Issue 219: The Tools and Trends That Will Shape 2019

Lead: A new year and a new slate. To kick off the year, we speak to marketers around the business and around the world about what tools they think will be indispensable and what trends they believe will shape 2019. From AR filters and scarcity to algorithmic personalisation of playlists, the continued rise of Latin […]

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Does Katy Perry really have 100m Twitter followers?

“Today we #WITNESS history. Congratulations @katyperry, the first to reach 100 million followers!” announced Twitter’s official account on Friday.

The company encouraged fans to share their “favourite Katy Perry moments” in celebration of the milestone – no, her new album going in at number six in the UK albums chart that day doesn’t count, cynics – but there has been some discussion of just how accurate the 100m milestone is.