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How will a customer buy songs and how will the artist get paid? What exactly are the things musicians will get in trade for their music? Will it be a fixed rate?

The customers will buy music with the Opus token which the artists will then receive in return for their music and this will most certainly not be a fixed rate dependent on, for instance, the dollar; instead it will depend on the market at any given time.

If you want this project to grow, you should try to recruit more famous and established artists.

This is a very good suggestion and recruiting famous artists is something we will be doing closer to the release date of the Opus platform. Our team has started researching this issue and looking for artists who have publicly stated support for the blockchain, though contacting them at present would be somewhat too early, considering that the development has only just picked up speed.

Are you building an interface to take fiat payments directly and convert those to Opus tokens for the purchase of music?

For the time directly after launching the platform, customers will need to possess Opus tokens to purchase music; however, we are planning to build a tool making the payments in fiat easier in the long-term perspective of the development.

Are you targeting artists with existing (currently exclusive) agreements? We’ve only seen unsigned artists so far.

Currently, we are focusing primarily on unsigned and somewhat lesser known artists, thus following a path similar to that of Soundcloud for the first few months. However, we welcome all artists who would be interested in joining us at Opus and encourage musicians, both signed and unsigned, to fill in this form or to email us at info@opus-foundation.org to begin our collaboration. As was stated in another question, we do plan on contacting more established artists closer to the launch date.

Do you have a rights management expert on the team or plans to work with one in 2018?

This is a very complicated subject and we certainly plan on working closely with an expert in this field in 2018 to ensure that everything goes smoothly in that regard.

Do you have an initial geographic focus for new artists?

At present, we would like to focus on artists from the US, and then later also on artists from China, though we are not excluding European artists and we welcome musicians from all over the globe.

Why are you focusing primarily on USA and China based artists if your company is based in Europe?

Our team has a vast network and potential partners in the USA and China, which is why this will be our primary target. Lots of people have reached out to us from these regions and expressed enthusiasm and a willingness to work with us in these markets.

Of course, we will not be rejecting artists from other regions, including Europe, and will certainly be paying close attention to them.

Could you describe how users will be able to get a private key to decrypt music from IPFS?

The application programming interface (API) will refer to the blockchain to verify if the user has the right to play a certain track. If the answer is yes, a private key will be sent to the Opus player along with the desired track, where the track will subsequently be decoded. The specifics of the encryption of this private key is something we are still working on.

Will we be able to buy Opus tokens with fiat on the website in the future?

We would very much like to have an option like this and we are researching all the possibilities to make this happen.

Will there be a subscription service on the platform, where users will be able to pay a monthly fee to use your services? Will there be free streaming?

There will be a subscription model where users can pay a regular fee for our services, but we will not be offering a free streaming option.

What is your approach to solving scalability issues?

This is a great question; however, it is still a bit too early to answer in full. This will become clearer as the development progresses to a more advanced stage.

We are considering AWS Lambda and Google Cloud for scaling the backend, namely the API and PostgreSQL. Our developers are also looking into alternative blockchains in case any problems with Ethereum arise, and adding more IPFS nodes.

Are you still planning to use Ethereum or are you considering building another blockchain/ building your own?

This is also a bit too soon to answer and will become easier to address further down the line. For now, we are using Ethereum and will closely observe how it works. In case we run into any issues, we are also researching the use of Hyperledger or other platforms.

How will Opus affect the Ethereum blockchain?

We will be talking more about this when we are further along with the development. Data will be read from Ethereum in real time and we are not quite sure how it will behave with, for example, several hundred thousand queries at once. The write to Ethereum will occur a few times a day and will not affect it.

How many people are on your team?

At this time, we have eight team members working on the Opus platform full-time:

  • Bokang Jia
  • Chenchao Xu
  • Mateusz Mach
  • Philipp Siemek
  • Konrad Szałapak
  • Tomasz Szafran
  • Mateusz Gruszka
  • Krzysztof Mosakowski

We are also collaborating closely with various freelancers in a range of fields, so as to work as efficiently as possible

As an artist, as the price of the Opus token fluctuates, will I be able to set my prices in regular currency so that it will convert automatically into Opus tokens? How will you address potential OPT/USD volatility?

Most likely. From a technical standpoint, this is certainly achievable; however, from a business perspective, we are still analyzing various options. This is a very important issue and there are lots of aspects to consider, but for now, this will probably be the case. We will update you more on this topic at a later time.

Will you be making updates on GitHub?

We have noticed that there is an increasing amount of competition in music streaming and the blockchain, so we most likely won’t be publishing all of our code and we won’t be developing in the open. This decision is not final and is subject to change, but that’s the conclusion we have reached for now.

Will Opus try and add big star artists or will the focus be primarily on indie musicians?

Currently, it is somewhat too early to get in touch with more established artists, but once the platform is completed and tested, we will be contacting super-star artists and hopefully get the opportunity to work with them.

Are you planning to allow users to publish playlists and get paid by the listeners?

The short answer is: yes! We are definitely planning to make this option available, you can read more about this topic in our whitepaper.

Will users be able to download tracks and listen to them offline?

We will most likely include this option in our first version for our mobile app but not on the Opus web player. This still requires some more work, but we are confident that you will be able to listen to your favorite music offline.

Does the streaming model affect an artist’s payouts?

What sets Opus apart from existing music streaming platforms is the idea of giving artists the highest possible percentage of the revenue, and this goal has not changed. Right now, it is difficult to say if artists will get 97%, 95%, or slightly less, because this depends on how quickly our user base will grow and what the costs of maintaining the platform will be, but we promise to do everything we can to ensure that artists get paid fairly.

Will subscriptions be gathered and equally split among all artists or will payment be based on how many times a song is streamed?

We will most likely use a smart contract which will distribute revenue in a manner proportional to the popularity of the artist (i.e. how many times a song is streamed). This does not change the situation much from our previous, buy-to-own model, where the payout for an artist was also dependent on how many times a song is played. We will make sure that the payouts will be fair.

With the streaming model, smaller artists might get paid somewhat less compared to the most popular musicians. Instead of buying their songs, will it be possible to tip them a certain amount for any song?

Tipping artists is an excellent idea! We will certainly research this and try to implement it in our platform. We would like to thank our community for giving us all sorts of suggestions, it is because of this that we receive new ideas like this one that we can start working on right away.

Will there be a place in the platform where we can see new uploaded songs that can give small artists a boost?

We do want to have an option like this available on the platform.

By switching to streaming, will Opus be similar to existing music streaming platforms?

Comparing Opus to some of the world’s most popular music streaming platforms in terms of User Experience would certainly be a great compliment and would make us very proud. What makes us different is that we will be giving artists a fair share of their revenue compared to other platforms, and allowing them to monetize their work with more ease.

Opus will be very different from other players mostly from an artist’s perspective, but we will also work hard to make the User Experience unique. We are focusing on people who are aware of the current problems in the music streaming industry and who want their favorite artists to get paid fairly for their hard work.

With the streaming model, how will you disrupt the music streaming industry? What will happen to decentralization and instant exchange of property? What if your competitors add an option to receive payments in cryptocurrencies?

What sets us apart is the percentage of the revenue that the artists will receive. Even if our competitors introduce cryptocurrencies to their services, they still have issues with storage and so will not be able to take such a small cut from the revenue for themselves and give the artist the vast majority.

Can artists remove their music from the blockchain?

If an artist decides to remove music from the platform, the key and hash of this track containing administrative information will remain on the blockchain, but it will become invisible. Users will no longer be able to listen to the track which means that it will, effectively, be deleted.

Are there any fees using IPFS in your case?

For now, there are no fees for using IPFS, but this could change. If we add more IPFS nodes, the owners of these nodes will most likely charge a certain amount.

How will songs be tied to the users?

Every time a track is played, it will be noted who played it and when. This information is necessary to figure out artist payouts and music suggestions for users based on their history.

What happens if Ethereum fails as a platform? What mitigation is there in place against this? Is the underlying technology platform-agnostic?

Our base is on PostgreSQL, and Ethereum is a part of that base. We are researching using the Raiden network because PostgreSQL is not fully decentralized and does not allow signing transactions to ensure that data will not be changed afterwards. We will update you on this when we finish our research.

Where did the name ‘Opus’ come from? Did you choose it because it sounded good or is there a story behind it?

The idea of Opus came to be from discussions and thoughts on the music industry and the problems it faces. Part of the discussions were about how, ironically, music as an art form (also sometimes called the artist’s magnum opus, in Latin) is often disregarded by the music industry, which is why musicians frequently receive a shockingly small fraction of the revenues they generate. What started as a few interesting conversations over some cups of coffee soon turned into Opus.

The founders decided to create something more fair, more transparent. They wanted to give the artist’s magnum opus back to the artist, and so the name Opus was born.

What do you project as the maximum file storage of Opus?

Let’s do a few calculations Assuming we have 10 million tracks, of average size 10MB (about 4 minutes long) each, and the mp3 bitrate of 320kbps corresponds to 2.4MB/min, we will need approximately 100TB of disk space.

We will be establishing our own IPFS nodes on different continents to ensure that the platform works seamlessly and files can be accessed without any significant delay. We are also looking into using systems such as Filecoin, where users are rewarded for sharing their storage.

Will Opus be a fully decentralized system, or there will be centralized points to store, for example, decryption keys and information about the music (artist, album, cover image)?

The first version of the Opus player will not be entirely decentralized, but it will be as decentralized as we can make it. There are a lot of factors to consider to ensure that the platform is of the highest quality and easy to use, and that will allow us to continuously develop it. Holding off fully decentralizing the platform is, presently, the best course of action.

Blockchain technology is relatively new and most startups operating in this area are still experimenting and trying out new ways to solve problems. As such, having the first version of the player be fully decentralized would entail various risks, including the possibility of piracy and copyright infringement without a system to verify tracks uploaded to the platform, which we intend to build.

We constantly have our mission in mind and therefore, following the launch of the player and the development of technology, we will strive to make Opus as decentralized as possible. The approach we are taking at the moment will guarantee that the platform is fully functional and will not be put at risk in any way, which full decentralization at this time cannot promise.

From a technological point of view, a proof-of-work type blockchain is not suitable for transaction systems because of the high frequency of saving data. We will be using the tested and scalable solution provided by PostgreSQL and the server giving access to the API. We are also researching side-chain systems like Raidos and Ethereum sharding technologies for alternatives.

Do you plan to make the project open source after some time so that it could become truly decentralized?

For now, we are not developing in the open because of the increasing competition in this market. As described in the previous question, the first version of the Opus player will not be fully decentralized to ensure the long-term sustainability of the platform; however, with its continued development and the growth of blockchain technologies, we will certainly consider taking this approach and developing in the open.

What is Raiden and why could it be implemented?

Raiden is a side-chain used to group microtransactions and sending their results to the Ethereum main-net. This uses state-channels technology, which groups the transactions before sending them to the main-net. Raiden thereby reduces the time and cost of completing transactions on the main-net and would potentially allow for the scaling of the platform to help a great number of users adopt the Opus player.

We are considering using the next generation of Raiden, called Raidos, which would enable better smart contract scaling, not only for transactions with ERC20 tokens.

We are still closely observing the development of Raiden and will update you in due time to let you know if we will be using this technology.

How will piracy be handled on your platform?

This is a very important issue which we take very seriously. There will be a system to verify the authors of every track. There are two options we are considering: a team that would check that every track is what the person uploading it says it is and that the person uploading it has the rights to the file; the second option is integrating the platform with DRM.

Have you considered also adding other physical music-related content to the platform, such as trading concert tickets?

This will not be possible in the first version of the player, but we are considering adding more content in the future.

Will anyone be able to upload content to the platform?

Yes, following the necessary verification, anyone will be able to upload content to the Opus player.

With the initial userbase, do you think 5% of the revenue will be enough to sustain the maintaining of the Opus player?

According to our initial calculations, 5% should be sufficient to maintain the platform; however, we are flexible and ready to adapt to changing situations.

How is the network held up on IPFS? Are there miners specific to Opus?

When an artist uploads a file to the platform, it is uploaded to our IPFS node which then syncs it with the other nodes connected to our own. This process is automatic. Following the sync, the file will be available in the gateways of all the connected nodes, which should be done almost in real time. In practice, however, the delay usually takes a few minutes.

What will OPT accomplish for a subscription streaming service that fiat can’t?

Cryptocurrencies are natural for blockchain-based systems. Furthermore, by using cryptocurrencies, we can implement our smart contracts, guaranteeing transparency and control over how the funds are distributed.

If the Opus platform will accept Ethereum and even Bitcoin potentially, what is the use of the Opus Token?

Bitcoin and Ethereum payments are solely for convenience, these currencies will be automatically converted to OPT in the backend. Users who hold OPT will have more possibilities on the platform in the future.

To verify the identity of artists, have you considered letting token holders do this and earn tokens in the process?

This is a very interesting idea. For the time being, this process will be done by our team to ensure efficiency and a speedy recruitment process for artists.

What are the key features of Opus that distinguish it from other music DApps?

Opus is one of the very few blockchain-based projects with a working demo, as well as a scientific whitepaper that focuses on the technologies behind the platform rather than making flashy promises. We are also far ahead of our competitors in terms of the development and making various strategic decisions. Some of our competitors, for example, are still not sure whether they will be a streaming platform or pursue a buy-to-own model. Furthermore, we have already had global exposure by being featured in media outlets such as ForbesBusiness Insider, or The Huffington Post.

Our team is very skilled at running startups; indeed, Mateusz Mach, our COO, is a Forbes 30 Under 30 winner, and our team of developers has very extensive experience with developing projects based on the blockchain.

Perhaps what distinguishes Opus most from other music DApps, and what will make Opus succeed, is our incredibly amazing and supportive community.

Besides Ethereum Raiden, are you looking at other DApp platforms to scale your product in the future?

Currently, our research will stick to Ethereum Raiden, but we are not dismissing other options if they prove to be more useful.

Are you planning to involve a QR code function for tipping and transferring Opus tokens to musicians?

Smart contracts transfer tokens automatically to the artists, whether that is the revenue generated from the subscription fees or from tips. In future versions of the player, we will be considering integrating a QR code function.

Will the team be attending more conferences?

We are planning to not only attend conferences, but also sponsor them. We will release more information about that soon.

How does Opus escape the issue of streaming platforms when it’s about to become one?

One of the biggest flaws in existing streaming platforms is that artists do not receive a large part of the revenue they generate; in fact, most of the revenue goes to the company behind the platform. With the development of IPFS and other decentralized technologies, we will be able to significantly reduce storage costs and as such, we will not require a large cut from the profits of the musicians. Instead, artists will be able to keep the large majority of their revenue.

Smaller artists are often unable to make a living from music streaming. How is Opus solving this problem rather than contributing to it?

This is a very big problem for many artists who are trying to make a living from their music. Aside from the increased profits artists will have at Opus, we also ensure transparency with our smart contracts. At existing music streaming platforms, the revenue distribution is shrouded in mystery with no one really knowing where the funds go. We will be very open about this, which the smart contracts will accomplish.

Other streaming platforms promote their biggest artists and all their newest releases. At Opus, we intend to market all our artists, both superstar artists and the more indie artists still trying to establish themselves. We find this approach to be fairer for everyone involved, both for the artists who will have the opportunity to share their music with the world, and for the users who will be able to discover more music that they may not necessarily find on platforms that only value their greatest stars. Opus is aimed primarily at independent artists who are still not fully established in this competitive industry.

Have you looked at options to accept credit cards and purchase OPT directly from the platform?

We have looked at a large variety of options to make this possible. Accepting cards on the Opus platform would make it very accessible so this issue is important to us. While we figure out exactly how to do that, the situation will be such that users will have to purchase tokens from exchanges first, but as soon as find a solution, this option will be available.

Are you considering letting OPT be staked on the platform and give the user some rights for making decisions, proportional to the number of tokens owned?

This solution would make the platform more decentralized, which is precisely what we are going for. From a technical standpoint this is certainly possible and we are looking at different ways to use DAO on Opus. The final decision of whether or not we will implement this will depend on tests we are planning to carry out directly after the launch of the platform. We’ll talk more about this soon, so stay tuned.

Will users be able to set up a wallet on the platform?

Accessibility and security is a vital aspect of the platform. Users will be able to set up their wallets from the account settings panel on the platform. This will be a simple, fully secure process.

Does Opus plan to embrace any fan royalty distribution or crowdfunded music production for artists using the platform?

Regarding fan royalty distribution, it is possible to set up a smart contract that would automatically distribute part of the artist’s revenue to selected fans. Crowdfunding music production is also very much doable. Engaging our community is something we take very seriously and want to do as much as possible. The implementation of both functions will depend on extensive tests we will carry out after the release of the platform and the subsequent reaction of our users.

Are you still planning to have an offline mode, where tracks can be downloaded and listened to without an internet connection?

The short answer to this question is: yes, definitely! The only thing that could potentially hold us back are legal matters. We have worked out most of the details from a technological standpoint and we are ready to roll out this function, but we cannot include this function until our lawyers have finished their legal analysis of the situation. As soon as we get the green light from them, you will be able to listen to all your favorite music without an internet connection. We would kindly ask our community to have some patience with this matter and to understand why we are giving a non-definitive answer like this. The blockchain sector is still very new and there are still lots of things for lawyers to figure out. We are being careful to ensure that everything we do is up to the highest standards.

Are there plans to launch a free version of the player, where artists could offer selected tracks to get people interested in Opus?

We would like to take this opportunity to thank our community for the constant suggestions! A fresh take on this project and new ideas always help us optimize the platform and make sure that there is nothing we’re missing. Now, to answer the question, for the time directly after the release of the platform, there won’t be a free version because we would like to stay ahead of schedule and not delay the release. However, as soon as the first version will be ready to roll out, we will get to work on a free version of the Opus player.

Will subscriptions have limited devices per user or IP addresses to prevent abuse?

Security is among our top priorities for the platform. We will be monitoring the traffic and filtering out anything suspicious to prevent abuse. There will be a variety of protective measures in place, such as limiting the devices per user.

Existing streaming platforms generate additional revenue by selling advertisements. Will Opus sell ads in exchange for OPT?

For the time being, we are not planning to sell ads on the platform because we would like for Opus to be as decentralized as possible. In the future, though, this might change. As the crypto and blockchain community grows and the gets adopted into the mainstream, we will take into account various protocols and systems that would allow us to sell and manage ads in a decentralized manner.