The new smart speaker is called Volareo, and it is a streaming speaker which pays musicians when the listener decides to clap. The appeal to consumers is that the music streaming would be free. The appeal to the artists is that the artist gets paid based on listener appreciation.
As well as the clapping option, listeners can offer their appreciation to the artist by pressing a button fixed to the speaker.
The speaker, a joint Dutch and Hong Kong development, and it links with the Musicoin Project and ROCKI initiatives, aimed at paying artists more money from streaming music. The Volareo is the first music playing device to take advantage of blockchain technology.
As part of the scheme the Volareo speaker will allow users to listen to free music for the lifetime of the speaker.
Royalties are paid to artists using Musicoin blockchain. This is a direct challenge to established streaming services most of which issue just 10 U.S. cents per play to artists. This is something that many musicians and singers feel aggrieved about. This includes a campaign initiated by former Talking Heads front man David Byrne, called ‘Respect’ (which was covered by Digital Journal, see: “Streaming music rips off artists, says David Byrne.”)
To better compensate musicians the Volareo device enables listeners to further engage their favorite artists by issuing them with tokens. Currently Musicoin’s online music platform has some 2,500 artists signed up. One of the aims is to encourage music fans to discover new artists and different music genera.
Commenting on the novel consumer-to-industry scheme, Nick Yap, who is founder of ROCKI, states: “Blockchain technology offers levels of engagement from fans and compensation to the artists that were unimaginable years ago. Powered by Musicoin, we designed Volareo to work seamlessly with this new movement.”
With Volareo, each smart speaker will come with a unique wallet address which is pre-loaded with $10 worth of Musicoin. The speaker will become fully available towards the end of 2018.