There’s a new smart speaker in town called Volareo, and it has a specific mission – leverage blockchain technology to help music artists actually make money from music streaming for a change.
Streaming music services like Spotify promises artists revenue through music streams, but under the current business model, musicians typically have to register at least 1.5 million streams to make anything close to a monthly minimum wage. That puts up-and-coming artists at a disadvantage – which is ironic since digital platforms like Spotify were supposed to benefit new artists by giving them a platform that old-school channels like radio or MTV never would.
The Volareo smart speaker proposes a different model. The speaker – which bundled with its own free streaming music service – makes it possible for listeners to ‘tip’ the musicians with a donation, by pressing a button or clapping their hands, explains Nick Yap, the entrepreneur who developed Volareo.
“Per Spotify stream, an artist earns about 0.72 euro cents. As an upcoming artist, that is not enough to cover your living expenses,” Yap said. “This smart speaker ensures that you can tangibly support your favorite artist.”
Payments to musicians are made via a blockchain system that uses smart contracts to process direct and transparent micro-payments in the form of a cryptocurrency token called ‘Musicoin’. Each play equals one musicoin (about ten cents). Yap says over 2,500 artists have joined this blockchain initiative and are already distributing their music on Musicoin.
Yap adds that the Volareo speaker also provides a way for artists to know who their listeners are. “This allows you to respond even better to the wishes of your fans, for example by scheduling a tour in a city where many of your listeners live. The fact that you, as a beginning artist, come into contact with your fans much quicker, will hopefully contribute to making the music landscape even more diverse.”