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Sri Lankan pop artist Ranidu Lankage is facing the suffering of artists in the online music space through his idea, Audius, powered by a blockchain app.
A decentralized music sharing platform, owned by the music community, Audius connects artists directly to fans and monetizes their work accordingly. "The online music market has been plagued by the lack of transparency when it comes to managing artists' rights and payments," says Lankage.
He began his career as a musician at age 19, Lankage achieved immediate success. His first album Oba Magemai was released under the brand Sony Music India in 2002. Since then Lankage has released four pop albums and has collaborated with artists such as DeLon, Anson of Trinidad's DID Crew, Holee Smokez and the MDT group of New York, Yohan Rakapakse, Yauwanan, Ranga D (The God).
To have a career other than music, Lankage went to Yale University in the United States in 2005 to take a course in Economics. Later, in 2007, he joined Google as a product manager while creating music.
Empowering artists was always Lankage's mission. Even while working in Google, he used 20% of his time to connect proactively with artists who were not served in electronic space. "I used to help them take advantage of Google's efforts to connect with the public globally," says the 36-year-old.
Having worked for seven years at Google, Lankage joined his "friend" from college Justin Kan to start a new adventure Kan is the founder of Twitch, a live video streaming platform.
Prior to Audius, Lankage experimented with a couple of other apps like Whale and Polly to connect artists directly to the public. But it did not work. Lankage then collaborated with "bitcoin enthusiast", Roneil Rumberg.
With the combination of music, cryptography and blockchain, Audius took off in 2015.
On August 12, Audius raised a $ 5.5 million loan in the cycle Series A, led by General Catalyst and Lightspeed Ventures, based in the United States, with investment companies, also based in the United States such as Kleiner Perkins, Pantera Capital, 122West and Listen Ventures.
What makes Audius different from other music platforms is that it offers artists an open ecosystem. Cut the intermediaries and link the artists directly to their fans on the app. Users will have to pay Audius tokens or earn them by listening to ads. Their wallet will then pay a fraction of a penny per song for decentralized streaming across the network, with artists receiving about 85 percent of about 70 percent of the major streaming apps. The rest goes to make up for whoever is hosting that song, as well as the developers of listening software clients, one of which will be built by Audius.
The initial goal of the company is to empower all independent artists through the use of blockchain technology. "Public blockchains are inherently completely transparent because of their open nature and we thought that bringing this technology into the music space would be beneficial to all participants.The artists need good distribution, attribution and monetization, this can easily be done through a blockchain network, "says Lankage.
Adds that Audius Inc is a temporary organization that was created to build software for the Audius protocol. The ultimate goal of the company is to build and distribute open source software so that anyone can use it to create apps to serve end users.
& # 39; No Journey is Without Challenges & # 39;
The failures have been blessings in disguise, Lankage believes. "I learned to be flexible and to move forward after my dreams".
Also establishing Audius was not easy. The language barrier was the biggest concern for him. "I had studied in my mother tongue, until I came to college in the United States and in the first few months I had to quickly switch from thinking in Sinhala to thinking in English," says Lankage, who was born and raised in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
"The journey was not linear," he says. "The ecosystem in Sri Lanka is very different and tight while the United States opens its eyes.When we were starting, it was hard to make room for that ecosystem.We have seen how partnerships fail, and the duplication of ideas is a great challenge, but in the end I understood that persistence is the key. "