AUDIO Grants Committee - Extension Proposal

Learnings from Pilot

The AUDIO GRANTS (AG) pilot program has taught a great deal to its genesis Committee (AGC) over the past three months. Throughout this period, the AGC has mobilized a motivated group of creators to run operations and communication around a new web3 program. We are proud of what our team has accomplished in this initial trial period and strive to continue to learn and grow as we move forward. In the last month of the pilot, we have revised our structure, incorporating our learnings as a team and with community feedback.

We approach you today with a revised setup and highlights to date. The Committee appreciates your time and patience throughout the initial pilot.

Abstract

Over the past three months, the AGC has allocated almost half of its initial pilot amount to artists in the Audius ecosystem. We would now like to extend the program through the year (ending DEC 31 2021), incorporating a re-configured team built entirely from community elections.

AGC Recap

The AGC safe (Gnosis Safe) currently holds 50,757.002 AUDIO.
The pilot program granted 41,824 Audio to unique artists & initiatives over its 3 months of operations.

Highlights:

IRL art x MOCA show - Crypto native event promoting the intersection of music and web3, including live performance, NFTs and Audius education.
https://www.irlunderground.com/ - 2500 $AUDIO

Disclosure - Ongoing weekly remix competition for one month, hosted on Audius platform as part of the #MarketMonday series on Twitch (40k subs) - 1000 $AUDIO

Godfrey Meyer - VR music video involving prominent artists and digital creators spotlighting Audius - 2500 $AUDIO

SenjienZ - Audius party bot development in the Audius Discord
https://twitter.com/SenjienZ/status/1421111777551548417?s=20 - 2500 $AUDIO

Illexotic - Remix competition for a track off their new album, premiered on the Audius Discord with SenjienZ’s party bot - 350 $AUDIO

BRUX - Remix competition for a new EP on Deadbeats(Audius Gold Tier member), hosted on Audius - 2500 $AUDIO

Atlantis Worlds - Integrating Audius into the metaverse of Atlantis Worlds, a new digital space still in development. - https://atlantisworld.io/- 2500 $AUDIO

This is only a small selection from the pool of approved grant applicants. For a more comprehensive list, please visit the AGC Twitter.

Restructured Team

During the pilot, each Committee member naturally gravitated to a role they felt best utilized their skill sets. Each of these positions have proven essential to running the program, detailed as follows:

Metsa: Overseeing internal operations, ensuring that decisions and signatures on incoming grants are made in a timely manner.

Maxwell: Assisting metsa in overseeing internal ops, encouraging engagement on grant recipients’ initiatives in the Audius Discord, working with community event hosts to provide AUDIO rewards to contest winners

Verite: External Communications Lead, managing the AGC’s public voice on social media

PLS&TY: Social & Marketing Lead, ensuring Twitter is up to date, setting up AMAs.

Pat Lok: A&R Lead, overseeing outreach and onboarding of higher profile artists, driving exposure and traffic to AG program via their communities

Camoufly: Internal Strategy & valued contributor to discussions

Houses: Development, integration of internal operations with Airtable / Discord / Gnosis.

Galazy, StormwavZ: Moderators/Veto Board. Closely evaluating all incoming applications and offering insight on their potential impacts, vetoing grants if necessary.

In addition to those listed above, the remaining members of the committee fulfilled their duties by discussing, voting on, and signing off on proposals in a timely manner:

Oshi
Chet Porter
Pauline Herr
Matthew Chaim
FRQ NCY
Teen Daze

In exchange for acting as members of this committee, each of the above 15 members received a tiered amount of $AUDIO based on their role and participation. This amounted to a total of 3750 $AUDIO distributed per month, and would total to 11,250 $AUDIO over the extension should it be approved in the same manner.

Addendum of Members

Looking ahead, we’d like to ensure that the community has complete control over the lineup of this committee. Starting this next term, we will be transitioning to an application process, where all committee members who wish to serve for the proposed extension will need to complete a form and be judged by the community, including those involved with the three-month pilot. Our goal is to have a newly elected committee prepared to begin operations by the end of this month. Our flow for achieving this would be as follows:

Phase 1 (we are here): Initial proposal is released, decision regarding whether or not the AUDIO Grants Committee continues under the terms of this proposal is made by the community via Snapshot within one week of this being posted on the governance forum.

Phase 2: Should this proposal be accepted, we will release a form where community members can apply to serve on the AUDIO Grants Committee for the proposed period of time. All non-personal information contained in each application will be shared with the public, and every community member will be eligible to apply so long as they are in good standing with the Audius community (have not been banned from Audius’s Discord, Reddit, or Telegram communities, as well as this governance forum). The deadline for applications should be within the third full week of September (19th - 25th).

Phase 3: All applications will be shared with the community on the governance forum for discussion, and community voting will initiate for the proposed roles of the new committee. For each election, the community will vote between each applicant as well as a “no confidence” vote; should the latter be the majority pick, a new set of applicants will be asked to apply for the position in question and a second vote would take place. Unless a “no confidence” majority is reached for a proposed position, voting would end and the lineup of the newly elected committee would be announced during the last week of September (26th - 2nd).

Regardless of whether they are voted to continue through the extension, current committee members will be obligated to aid the newly-voted panel through their first two weeks of operations. This process of “handing over the torch” will not entail any $AUDIO payment.

Motivation

The pilot program has proven to us, as well as to all of our grant recipients, that $AUDIO can be an unprecedented driving force in propelling artist communities and initiatives forward. It can massively boost momentum in the careers of independent creators, while also introducing them to the potential behind web3 technology. As Audius continues to inspire and empower artists around the world, we believe the AUDIO Grants Committee is a perfect avenue for augmenting creators’ endeavors and rewarding their fans.

Specification

Grant the right to distribute the remaining ~50k AUDIO tokens in the committee multisig found at 0xeABCcd75dA6c021c7553dB4A74CACC958812432A.

The committee is responsible for overseeing the distribution of monthly rewards to members and the ongoing allocation of AUDIO to grant recipients.

Any unused AUDIO that remains at the end of the extension should be returned to the community treasury, but only if the program is not extended after the next 3 month period.

Benefits

  • Provides artists with a more granular way to earn AUDIO for one-off campaigns
  • Empowers key contributors to seed the community with AUDIO rewards
  • Creates a funnel for creative experiments to be rewarded in real time, without having to go through on-chain governance

Drawbacks

  • High degree of trust to grant recipients.
  • Multiple committee members may be new to overseeing a grants program and governing large sums of tokens. Tokens distributed to community grants are not subject to any vesting.

Voting:

Voting on the continuation of the committee is tentatively planned to occur via Snapshot, a web3 governance protocol. Snapshot will allow community members to place one vote either in favor or against this proposal so long as they hold $AUDIO in a Metamask wallet. No transaction fees are required to vote (only a signature), and the amount of $AUDIO you hold will not affect the amount of votes you receive. The voting period should last approximately five days.

If voted yes, the program will move into community elections to bring in new members for the next term (until Dec 31 2021). If they wish to continue their duties, members of the committee’s pilot program will need to reapply and be considered alongside the community.

If voted no, the committee will cease to exist in its entirety.

Yes - Continue the AGC program.
No - Do not continue the AGC program.

Before voting goes live, we welcome feedback from the forum regarding any aspect of this proposal. Please provide your thoughts below. :slight_smile:

8 Likes

As someone who was very vocal with criticisms on the initial proposal of the committee, I fully support every single aspect of this proposal. I came here thinking of writing up all the negative views I had and had heard about the committees functioning and about how the community should be listened to - but no, every part of this new proposal is great.

During the first 3 months, it did come across like the committee was run in a dictatorial manner with lacking or little involvement from a lot of the members, many who seemed to be kept in the dark about the operations of the committee. I recall hearing from a couple people their proposals were turned down then questioned members of the committee who hadn’t heard of those proposals. It was also a little odd that many members had never posted on the Audius discord or Telegram channels yet were described as “prominent members of the Audius community” - they did, however, have a connection through the FWB discord channel. So it comes as great news that the committee’s members will be solely in the community’s hands with the no confidence backup in place (you really covered everything, this is amazing).

it is also reassuring to see that the members got up to such much in the background. It did seem like people were kept in the dark but this transparency shows that was not necessarily the case. I would be happy voting some of these members back on if this extension passes (I expect more community support over this proposal than the previous). I am still uncertain on whether 15 members is an appropriate amount, though members of the committee could comment on the workload of the different positions to get a better understanding of this. Also is the remaining $AUDIO enough if you’re now starting the 3 month period from the get go? It seems to be expanding quite quickly.

I think it would be cool to have a place where all submitted grants can be seen to help inspire others and just see what really goes into it. I believe this was discussed at some point in the previous proposal but never came to fruition.

Overall very happy with the proposed changes - much more room for the community to actually have a say in the election process (unlike last time where it was already set in stone and described as ‘community elected’). Can see a lot of community suggestions in this proposal itself which is great. Thank you for your transparency and detail around future operations.

6 Likes

edit - was not a reply so reposted…

1 Like

Hey Byte!

Glad to hear this proposal met your expectations. Internally we had a lot of discussion on how to extend the program so I’m happy that it took into consideration the main feedback from the first proposal.

In my opinion, having a seemingly large board helps with when members have life situations occur and the committee has enough active participants to keep it running.

The remaining audio should carry this through the rest of the year. We had to freezing distributing apps this month due to formulating this next proposal + hopefully getting approval to extend.
I’m in total agreeance with you that having a transparent spot for grants would be awesome! We have started to use twitter to highlight initiatives when the team gives out a grant. This helps, but yes would be nice to have a spot to read them in full.

Thank you for taking the time to read and comment, the team appreciates it and is looking forward to assisting in the next steps (contingent on the vote passing).

4 Likes

Just replying to show my support for this proposal. Its a good one.

4 Likes

As someone who led to the successful reform of the Audius Grant Committee, I would support this based on the following amendments:

Remove Phase 2 Clause

All non-personal information contained in each application will be shared with the public, and every community member will be eligible to apply so long as they are in good standing with the Audius community (have not been banned from Audius’s Discord, Reddit, or Telegram communities, as well as this governance forum).

As a decentralized platform, this clause is inherently NOT decentralized. Excluding banned users based on third party platforms (such as Discord) sets a precedent where the Audius Team gains total control over every decision related to the Blockchain regardless of actual voting outcome. If a user is participating in the blockchain (by owning a wallet), they should be able to submit an application. In this way, the community can truly decide whether they are a good standing member; not a handful of people.

Clarification
I would also clarify that the vote via Snapshot — while good in its intention — is misleading. If this post operates as a true Audius Proposal, then it still needs to be confirmed via blockchain which DOES require AUDIO. Although, this is likely due to the people backing the original proposal: The top 10 holders of AUDIO hold 92.32% of the circulating supply.

5 Likes

I agree with removing the phase 2 clause for the reasons stated above, such a clause shouldn’t exist if the goal is to empower artists and if left in this proposal when voting time arrives, will serve as the antithesis of Audius’ promise of an artist-owned platform and will likely dole out an unwieldy amount of power towards the Audius team in relation to the committee selection.

The $AUDIO Grants Committee has always claimed that they aren’t associated nor directed by the Audius Team and for the sake of decentralization and artists empowerment it should remain that way.

2 Likes

Hey switchupcb,

Understand where you are coming from in making this decentralized. A potential resolve to this is letting anyone & everyone apply but making an addition to the form that asks if one has been banned from those locations before. This would help ensure that the community is clearly informed on who they are potentially voting for if/when phase 3 happens .

Snapshot is the most used governance voting system in web3. It is a decentralized voting system. The team has thought through the “whale” potential of swinging the vote and that is why we have decided to go with a strategy that limits all votes to 1 (erc20-with-balance) you can read about that here . The minimum balance of $AUDIO needed to vote is 1 allowing equal access to everyone who holds $AUDIO. Snapshot is confirmed via the blockchain as one needs to connect with a wallet to vote on proposals.

6 Likes

I overly like this new one much better than the one which was presented 3 months ago, but that’s not to say that I don’t see an issue with it. I think the elephant in this room regarding the pilot term is the performance of the committee as well as the lack of transparency and communication with the Audius Community(note: “Audius Community” refers to artists, listeners, etc. who applied for a grant during the 3 month period).

For instance, it took close to 24 days for the first grant to be approved after the committee was paid. For the sake of transparency, I requested a post-mortem to detail what exactly occurred during first 1/3rd of the trial period for action to be delayed to that extent. Yet this is nowhere to be found on this proposal, nor was it was documented for the community. I was told that this committee’s top priority was transparency, but I have not seen it. Personally, before I can agree with this proposal, I need to see accountability and transparency.

Concerning communications, during the pilot, I frequently saw that users could not get support from this committee in a reasonable time frame. When users were able to contact a committee member, it seemed no one knew what the other was doing or even trivial matters such as why a grant was not approved. I think that’s something that needs to change going forward. A 15 member committee shouldn’t have that many issues regarding communicating with users or redirecting/notifying them to the appropriate individual.

4 Likes

Hi metsa, I support the Snapshot voting system as it gives more community members a chance to vote, without onerous txn fees.

I second this point. good compromise.

There should be a community-made agreement form for every AGC member to sign; they should agree to be transparent, as their top priority. Then it’s up the the Audius community to evaluate each AGC member’s performance. If a member is not living up to transparency, is AFK, or not meeting other expectations, there should be a method for the community to “impeach” an AGC member.

Overall I love the proposal. AGC is my favorite part of Audius. I believe it will tightly weave the Audius artist community together.

Full disclosure, I was approved for a grant at the end of the trial period, and I won’t receive my grant unless this proposal is approved. I am voting yes.

2 Likes

I think if this is the case users should be allowed to explain why they were banned in the form as well. If a user was previously banned erroneously or unfairly they should be able to justify why they were banned.

As bans are decided by a small group of individuals, the community should have some information on a ban rather than simply seeing that a user was banned.

3 Likes

Hey AudiusPlaylists!

Agree with you on transparency + timelines, in the past month we’ve done a ton of internal reworking to be sure that things aren’t slipping through the cracks. For most of us it was the first time running a Grant Program and dealing with the systems that were put in place caused some friction. I do hope you apply because it seems like you have some great ideas surrounding that.

We hosted a town hall last Saturday to answer questions from the community in the Audius Discord about the program and are working on a document summarizing the 3 months + questions we answered from that. This proposal was created to be presented separate from a post mortem type document.

Keep in mind that this prop is for the Extension irregardless of the members involved currently! We have community elections coming up (potentially) after the snapshot.

Hope that is understandable!

2 Likes

I’m a big fan of the AGC. I think its a really good way to draw attention to Audius whilst promoting the artist-first agenda that I think me and fellow producers appreciate.

What I would like to say is that I think more effort should be put into making these contests fair. Accusations of votes/winners claiming such a position through illicit means, whether that be botted votes or bias due to nepotism from a voting board or contest host should be addressed in a serious manner.

I recognise it may be the Audius team members’ opinions that the artist/contest host has the final say in the result of the contest, but in the same vein, it is Audius that is providing the funds, and therefore arguably has a greater say and responsibility in the process of moderating contests to make sure the outcome is fair and fulfilling for all parties.

1 Like