Voltra beta testing a stream-to-own digital download store

Voltra logo canvasA new music startup is hoping to reach music collectors who want the convenience of digital listening with an artist-focused business model. It’s called Voltra, and it is an unusual hybrid of streaming and digital downloads.

On the listener side, Voltra is catering to the people who aren’t satisfied with the consumption approach of most streaming services. “There’s a pretty significant population of people who collect and own music, and I think that product space was a little bit neglected,” co-founder Paolo Fragomeni told The Verge. “As music lovers, we really wanted to have a product that was totally focused on music ownership.”

Many digital download platforms offer free 30-second previews for a user to decide if they want to purchase the full song. Instead, Voltra uses a stream-to-own model. Users get one listen for free, then pay a small fee for each additional stream. After 10 listens, the user has fully paid for the track and owns it for good. Paid subscribers still need to pay for their individual tracks, but they buy in for access to the Voltra Audio Archive, which automatically backs up their music files.

Voltra also aims to improve payments to artists. Performers who sign up directly with Voltra will receive all the revenue from streams or purchases of their work. For labels, Voltra takes a cut of 10%. Artists or labels can also choose to opt out of the stream-to-own approach.

Voltra is in its beta phase, and Fragomeni said about 5,000 participants have registered so far for the test period. The store currently has a library of about 3 million tracks. The company is targeting a launch date in May.

Anna Washenko