You’d think that owning music is a thing of the past, yet the iTunes music store still does over a $1 billion a year selling downloads. Streaming may be putting a big hit on downloads, but a new online store called Voltra is coming at it with a new approach that might benefit both music consumers and artists alike.
Voltra allows users to listen to an entire song once for free, and then pay a small fee for each consecutive listen. After the 10th play, the track is fully paid for and officially owned by the user. Best of all, the dreaded 30 second preview is gone from the service and there are no ads. You listen for free, then if you like the song, you then begin to pay for it.
Voltra users also has a premium membership tier for the typical $10 a month. The stream-to-own deal is still the same, but the user’s files are automatically backed up to Amazon’s Glacier storage. The advantage here is that if a user cancels the account, there’s little danger of losing your music like with some other services.
How is this better for artists? Artists who sign directly with Voltra will receive 100 percent of their earnings, since the company doesn’t deduct a commission from their song profits. And it’s free to upload your music as well. Reportedly an artist can earn 99 cents after only 10 streams on Voltra, compared to 226 streams on Spotify, 134 on Apple Music, and 146 on Google Play, so it’s a pretty good deal. Artists and labels can also opt out of this stream-to-own option, but so far it looks like most in the service’s catalog are going along with it.
The problem is that Voltra is just launching and the service’s desktop and mobile players are in beta (they’re free to download). According to the company there’s about 5,000 users in the beta program and a song catalog of around 3 million so far.
This is a pretty cool idea. Let’s see if this gets some traction. Find out more at Voltra.co.