Aurous, the ‘Popcorn Time for Music,’ Is Launching In Less Than Two Weeks

  • Save

You can shut down an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign.  But can you shut down a totally decentralized, BitTorrent-powered streaming music application?

That’s an urgent question for major labels and groups like the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), which so far don’t seem to have a solution for Aurous, the music industry’s next major menace.  Aurous, essentially the Popcorn Time equivalent for music, is now planning a major release on October 10th, with a svelt, Spotify-style interface and a massive, totally unlicensed catalog of millions of songs.

“October 10th right around the corner.”

from our partners…

Yes, Aurous had the audacity to mount a crowdfunding campaign, which was predictably shut down.  But Aurous developer Andrew Sampson refused to let that slow the project, and instead, is marching forward with a bootstrapping plan B.   “All Indigogo donations have been processed and refunded, thanks for your support guys!” the company confidently tweeted. “October 10th right around the corner.”

Aurous is promising a ‘content-id/DMCA’ system, which could resemble something like YouTube.  Or, simply be another successful exploitation of the DMCA’s safe harbor provisions, which have enabled massive levels of piracy on platforms like Google and SoundCloud.

The RIAA has yet to comment on the matter, though the group may have forced the Indiegogo teardown.  Beyond that, the group seems bereft of tangible solutions: in a recent Forbes op-ed, RIAA chief Cary Sherman outlined a flawed DMCA notice-and-takedown system that pushed the industry into ‘whack-a-mole’-style solutions, but offered little signs of progress in combating piracy.

  • Save

Rightscorp, an aggressive copyright enforcer and perhaps the badly-needed ‘bad cop,’ is one of the few organizations to offer at least some tangible strategy for dealing with Aurous.  “Aurous’ technology will be unaffected by take-down notices, site blocking and will not use Pirate Bay or any domain names that can be blocked,” the group warned in a recent release.  “It will distribute the music search metadata via the peer-to-peer networks, allowing the ability to stream large amounts of free music illegally and providing a very easy-to-use interface to the BitTorrent network.”

Christopher Sabec, Rightscorp’s CEO, noted in the release that going to the source is the only real solution for curbing the Aurous threat.  “Rightscorp’s ability to get individual seeders to stop seeding will be the only scalable way to stop this next explosion of free music.”


  • Save


Meanwhile, the impact of all this on paid streaming could be profound.  In a recent report, analyst Mark Mulligan noted that 56% of streaming revenues come from free, ad-supported accounts, with YouTube, Pandora, and Spotify the largest providers.  That accounted for $167.2 million during the first half of this year in the US, which is less than the amount generated by vinyl.

Separately, paid subscription growth is slowing, at least in the US: according to RIAA stats, the number of paying subscribers increasing just 2.5 percent during the first half of 2015, to 8.1 million.

And, it’s unclear how many of those people are paying full-fare, or even paying much at all: according to freshly-filed financial details from Paris-based Deezer, a major Spotify competitor, more than half of ‘subscribers’ are bundled within broader plans and haven’t even accessed a song within the past month. An even smaller percentage are paying full rate.

Written while listening to the Claptones podcast on iTunes.  Top image by (= dana <3 J.M =), middle image by Maura Teague, both licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC by 2.0).  Freemium graph from MIDiA, more on that report here.


22 Responses

  1. Jon Hockley

    I confronted Andrew Sampson on twitter and after about an hour of firing shots at each other he revealed several things to me.
    He thinks piracy is a good thing but then says sites like KickAss Torrents are far worse than his.
    He thinks his service will help artists.
    He doesn’t like me.
    He thinks people are entitled to free content if they can’t get access to/or can afford it.
    He thinks its ok to distribute free music because other services are getting away with it.
    Just like me he is a human being and wants to leave his mark on the world.

    • Anonymous

      “He thinks people are entitled to free content if they can’t get access to/or can afford it.”

      Like any other criminal on the planet — surprise, surprise.

  2. Anonymous

    In other news, you can now get rid of those annoying Digital Music News ads — even on your iPhone!

    Studies show that ads tap your battery — over 20 percent of it — so the new mobile adblockers not only eliminate spam and protect your privacy, they also save power.

    Plus, they’re cheap (or free) and incredibly easy to use on all platforms. That’s why Google and the spammers hate them.

    Get one today!

    • Anonymous

      The ads have gotten pretty horrendous here. Not going to lie. I enabled ablock about a year ago and remember on a couple ads being present. The other day I tried to post from a computer without adblock for the first time since then… holy shit. There are more ads and spam than content on this site.

      • Anonymous

        “The other day I tried to post from a computer without adblock for the first time since then… holy shit”

        Ha, I had the same experience last week when I opened Safari instead of Firefox on a Mac by accidence.


  3. What the

    Who are you people on here?

    I have never seen so many butt loving comments for big corps…does rightscorp own this site or pay you to post these ridiculous comments.

    Never on the internet have a seen such love for a company that sues people for getting culture on the internet for free. Big deal. The artist will be just fine and if not then maybe they suck and need to find a different career.

        • grownup

          Perhaps you should do more homework before commenting on things you obviously don’t understand?

        • Universal Indie Records

          14? That would explain it. You’re still a kid who doesn’t understand anything about anything. Let’s revisit this in about 10 years.

          • Samuel Bellamy

            In ten years there wont be a need for revisiting this. The RIAA will be history and everyone will “pirate” whatever data that they want. Sorry if your antiquated mindset can’t see that. Maybe if you we’re a bit more imaginative you wouldn’t have to whine on some obscure internet forum about something that will never affect you.

          • Anonymous

            “In ten years there wont be a need for revisiting this. The RIAA will be history”

            Funny, that’s what you guys said ten years ago.

          • Anonymouse

            Yes and as far as composers are concerned it’s already hit rock bottom. I earn one tenth what I did ten years ago composing… and I am a working composer – many aren’t working at all. What you seem to have missed is that if educated and professionally trained composers disappear from the equation, all you’ll hear is music that sucks. And if there should be someone who you might want to listen to, you’ll pay a premium just to get the worst seat.

          • frank pyne

            ” if educated and professionally trained composers disappear from the equation, all you’ll hear is music that sucks “- Lol… I doubt if I have anything in my music collection from an “educated and professionally trained composer” Maybe try being a little less pretentious and up your own ass and you might write something worthwhile. Then you wouldn’t have to blow your trumpet on such lost causes.

  4. PJ Wassermann

    It seems that DMCA’s safe harbor provisions are the root of the problem.

  5. James Blunt

    The copyright period is 70 years after the death of the author. And rights holders want to extend it even further.
    What the music industry STILL refuses to recognise is that ONLY the customer defines value, not the not the middle man, not the supplier – they only define price. Like every other industry on the planet, the customer defines value.
    And due to repeated rip-offs by the music industry over the past several decades, that value is approaching zero.