Our final GFTW grant report

Reblogged from the Web Monetization community

Project Update

Audiotarky logo

We’ve launched the site publicly, officially “at” Mozfest which saw a nice bump in traffic. We’ve also had some local press which got us some interest from artists. We’d had a target of 50 bands/artists on the site by the end of the grant and now have 177 (with 671 tracks between them) - so that’s nice! Streamed payments to the site have covered hosting costs for the coming months, which I think is another, slightly smaller, success.

The album the grant funded has been released. Without any promotion (beyond sending the link to friends) it’s made about the same as selling a CD. Again, not setting the world alight, but a decent starting point, and proof that the model works for small independent artists.

Progress on objectives

All the objectives have been met. We’ve released the site and its been a factor 3 more popular than we’d aimed for, with fairly minimal marketing budget and a very “MVP” UX for artists (sorry for the google forms!).

We’ve open sourced some components, but not had much response to them to date.

The album the grant funded has been released.

Key activities

I think we’ve achieved most of what was intended. I’d hoped to be able to provide some numbers around streams & associated payments, but we didn’t collect sufficient data to demonstrate anything clearly. I can say of the |approx 2000 streams from mid-May to mid-August, almost half were done with Coil. We also decided early on to move away from the “scraps” idea in the original submission, and it’s interesting to read the experience of the freesound team who ran into similar issues to what made us rethink.

Communications and marketing

I think we underestimated the amount of work here. We need to address the following issues;

  • a number of vastly larger and better known incumbents (Spotify, Soundcloud, Bandcamp etc.) - why should an artist spend the time to get an ILP enabled wallet and upload tracks to a new service?
  • WebMonetisation/Coil is still new technology - this is limiting both as its an extra hurdle for artists and the number of paying listeners is small (but hopefully growing)
  • a lot of FUD around anything/everything crypto (though I think Coil do a good job of making this transparent)

We had a good message, but needed to get that out at a scale and that wasn’t what our grant was capable of funding.

What’s next?

The site essentially pays for itself currently (its hosting fees are modest) so keeping it online and growing organically and improving incrementally is the current plan.

We’ve applied for a grant from Ripple to build an NFT market place on top of what is already in place - if we get that we can build more and faster. We’re thinking we can do something interesting combining NFTs and WebMonetisation. Off the back of that making some more of the “back office” infrastructure would be required. Today we don’t need an artist login, which is a benefit of Web Monetisation, but with the NFT stuff we will. This means building an auth{z,n} system, better track upload experience and being “closer” to the wallet & XRP ledger.

Rafiki from Coil is interesting, too, and hopefully easily adopted. We’ve added a similar, but less sophisticated, feature to the site to allow for “direct artist support”. Replacing that with Rafiki would be good.

What community support would benefit your project?

Help spread the word! If you hear something you like on Audiotarky.com use the share links to tell your friends (and let them know you’re using Coil too)!

Additional comments

This has been a great experience, thanks to the organisers & backers, to all the artists that have signed up and listeners who’ve streamed.