It sounds like the ultimate tongue-in-cheek sales pitch to target millenials: An environmentally friendly streaming music service that pays artists in Bitcoin, and plants trees in exchange for streams from customers. All you need are references to vaping and craft ale, and you’d have a comprehensive 20-something hipster bingo card.
In fact, it’s a serious new venture by streaming music upstart Feedbands that targets indie musicians. In an attention-grabbing effort to carve out a niche in the shadow of giants like Spotify and Apple Music, it’s come up with a musician-friendly way to generate streaming royalties that are beneficial to artists and listeners alike — while maybe even helping save the planet in the process.
“What we are trying to do is turn music streaming into something that directly fights climate change,” Graham Langdon, founder and CEO of Feedbands, told Digital Trends. “Our new platform plants one tree for every 100 qualified streams. In order to maximize our effectiveness, we are leveraging Bitcoin to provide incentives at every level: Paying artists more per stream than Spotify, paying listeners, and paying people per-stream rates when they sign up other listeners and artists. Our hope is that the incentives maximize the number of streams and thus, number of trees being planted.”
Artists get paid 1 cent per stream, which works out to slightly more than double what Spotify pays out. Unlike Spotify (and every other streaming company out there), this is paid out in the Bitcoin cryptocurrency. Listeners, meanwhile, can earn Bitcoin by listening, as well as by scouting other listeners using a link embedded with a special referral code. As a result, they are able to passively earn Bitcoin by inviting other fans to use the platform.
“We were inspired by Ecosia, a search engine that returns the same results as Google, but plants trees as people search,” Langdon said while describing Feedbands’ origins. “They’ve planted over 50 million trees, and they’re planting another one every second. Lots of people out there are actively choosing services that are having a regenerative impact on the earth. It’s a movement that is happening now at the intersection of technology and the environment. We’ve also been following Bitcoin for years and believe that it will likely revolutionize every aspect of the economy and redistribute wealth much in the same way the internet did over the last few decades.”
While there have been plenty of concerns voiced about the decidedly non-environmentally friendly results of Bitcoin farming (Feedbands disputes some of these findings), it’s certainly an interesting new approach to music streaming on several levels.