For those who don’t necessarily buy into the sensation of collecting records and maintaining a record player setup – because owning CDs and MP3s is just so much easier – I understand your thinking. There’s a significant advantage of being able to store literally hundreds of albums on one’s portable listening device. My current iTunes library has about 26 GBs worth of music; I started with about 1GB in 2006. While I could carry around a CD player, I would rather not. I can easily carry my entire music library in my pocket, through my phone.
Despite my subscription to Apple Music, I have found it troubling that my access to most licensed music takes away that feeling of actually “owning music,” either physically or digitally. Streaming’s dominance in the music industry is a compromise, at best. Streaming services’ controversies of not paying artists enough money, or leaving music collectors feeling empty for taking away the perception of ownership, have called into question the future of music streaming. However, one up-and-coming streaming service, Voltra, has emerged as music’s possible solution to the streaming controversies.
the new music App that fully supports artists
Founded by Paolo Fragomeni and Aprile Elcich, Voltra is a program in beta testing that doubles as a music player and music store. It “promises [that] artists who sign up directly with Voltra will receive 100 percent of the revenue from the streams and purchases of their songs.”
After much discontent with the payment figures of other mainstream streaming services, like Spotify or Apple Music, who reportedly pay artists a fraction of a penny for every stream of a song, Fragomeni and Elcich wanted to create a program that would strongly support the artists.
Voltra doesn’t just advertise itself as a music streaming service that would be a financial miracle for artists who sign up with it; Voltra also has the goal of sustaining the feeling of music ownership with its listeners. Voltra incorporates a feature called “stream-to-own,” and it’s designed to help users better decide what music they want to own. This feature scraps the industry standard practice of allowing 30 second previews of songs, and allows the user to stream a whole song once for no fee. After that, “the user pays a small fee for each consecutive listen.” After the tenth stream of that song, the user officially owns the song forever. Furthermore, Voltra has built into their program applications that give users suggestions about what music they should buy next, based on music they already own.
can voltra save local artists?
What does Voltra do for local music artists, who are constantly struggling to get their big break in the music industry? What does it do for those who are afraid of being forever stuck on SoundCloud? Voltra claims to have these artists’ backs more than any other streaming service. Fragomeni has stated in comments to The Verge that independent artists, which would include many local musicians in Austin, are simply not earning enough revenue from the popular streaming services.
If Voltra is able to make it out of its beta stage and become more mainstream, future artists who want to be paid adequately for their art will finally have a service to count on. Austin talents like Gasoline Boots and Edison Chair could choose to sign with Voltra and make some serious money, especially considering how talented both bands are. And even though I primarily get my music from CDs, Voltra is something that I might actually download.
Photo courtesy of Voltra.Co