A living document outlining the Nina Protocol

Our Goal

Nina intends to create a more equitable internet for musicians. Utilizing innovations of web3, Nina provides the infrastructure for artists to control distribution, publication, and revenue streams for their work in a way never before possible. In the legacy music industry, the infrastructure providers profit by taking a piece of the artist’s revenue. This is no longer necessary. Decentralized file-distribution, tokenized ownership, and transparent royalty payments circumvent the exploitative status-quo of the music industry. Artists, fans, and protocol stakeholders alike can have a direct say in the evolution of the future of music online via decentralized governance.
Music has historically been the route through which the mainstream is on-boarded to new technology. At Nina we believe an application that provides maximum value to artists and fans alike will bring the next wave of users to web3.

The Problem

The current music industry forces artists to submit to the rules of the platforms that distribute their music online. Digital streaming platforms have opaque royalty systems with lofty benchmarks to even qualify for payment. Online music sales platforms take exorbitant fees (for both the platform and payment processing) and offer no secondary market for fans. Physical releases are sold on an active secondary market from which the artist receives no compensation.

The Solution

Through the Nina protocol artists press record-coins which can be bought by fans directly from the artist. Owning a record-coin allows fans to stream the associated music from their personal collection. Fans can collect, trade or sell record-coins. The artist decides the amount available, the initial selling price, and the percentage of royalties they receive on secondary market sales. All royalties are programmatically shareable between artists, bandmates, collaborators, labels, management, etc. Each party is able to collect their share whenever they choose.
Nina collects no fees from artist sales. Instead, upon publication, Nina collects an upfront fee of 1.25% of an artist’s record-coin pressing to be stored in the DAO managed Nina Vault (if an artist presses 1,000 record-coins the Nina Vault receives 13). Nina collects a small fee of 0.5% from record-coin sellers on the secondary market which is deposited into the Nina Vault.
Artist’s pay to use Nina with the exact thing Nina allows them to create. Nina’s product is the protocol, the artist’s product is their music. All value-producing activity on Nina flows back to the artist, fans, and stakeholders who decide the future of the protocol.
The current model of online music distribution demonstrates that the cheapest option is always attractive to the public, is the same not true for producers? Why would you use a distributor that takes a percentage of your sales if there is one that does not? Direct to consumer services and the popularity of 0%-fee special events (like Bandcamp Fridays) illustrate that people are eager to bypass middlemen, and listeners desire the ability to directly support their favorite artists.
Fans have never been presented with the ability to re-sell digital ownership in music. Artists have never been included in secondary market sales of their work. With Nina, this is now possible.

Speed, Performance, Solana

Listeners expect the experience of music to be an immediate, on-demand service. The low-latency transaction speed of the Solana blockchain allows publishing, purchasing, and selling music to occur at speeds that rival existing centralized services. In many areas, such as royalty payments, Nina excels by order of magnitude. Whereas it can take up to 3-6 months to be paid by current streaming services, artists on Nina receive their royalties as soon as a sale occurs.
The low fees on Solana make it such that a $0.99 song truly costs $0.99, without high gas fees to move it from point A to B. Artists pay less than $0.30 in SOL fees to press 1,000,000+ record-coins. Fans pay less than $0.00001 in SOL to buy and sell record-coins. These negligible fees allow users to interact with a web3 environment without penalty and hesitation.
All record-coins on Nina are priced in USDC stablecoin so there is never any confusion regarding what the price of a release may be—record-coins remain relatively shielded from greater market volatility.

Transparency and Decentralization

One of the primary benefits of decentralized blockchain technology is publicly accessible transaction data. Fans know exactly how many copies of a release are available. Artists know exactly how many copies they have sold on both the primary and secondary market and at what prices. Artists, bandmates and management know the share that each royalty-rights holder of a release has and how much each party has been paid.
Browsing occurs directly through collections (eg. show me all releases held by fans who hold record-coins X, Y, and Z). Artist’s can see who holds their releases and can giveaway new content to accounts that meet a certain criteria (eg. all fans who have all of my releases on Nina, get this exclusive release for free).
Once governance is live on Nina—the decision making process that introduces changes to the protocol will be public as well—with any holder of the NINA governance token able to propose and participate in deciding the future of Nina.


Artists can choose to make their record-coin redeemable for physical items (physical albums, t-shirts, etc). They can convert existing tokens into redeemables if at a later point they decide to make a physical object. These tokens can either be redeemable directly (1 record-coin X for 1 Album X) or with an added fee (1 record-coin X + 15 USDC for 1 Album X)—providing artists with flexibility around pricing while also allowing fans to trade the not yet redeemed tokens on the secondary market. The ability to activate redemption functionality after the initial pressing allows artists to raise funds to cover the cost of manufacturing the redeemable.
On redemption the redeemer provides their mailing address, their record-coin is burned and they receive a redeemed token. The artist receives a notification in their dashboard with the mailing address—once they have shipped the item they can provide a tracking number which is visible from the redeemers account.

Nina is not a platform

The largest risk with a decentralized marketplace for music will be the same problem that any centralized service has: copyright and piracy. This risk is especially prevalent on platforms that surface content for users to discover and explore.
Nina circumvents this risk by becoming an extension of an artist’s existing online presence. The path to the music is through the same channels that fans already use to stay in touch with their favorite artists. An artist links their Twitter handle to their Solana account, tying all of their published material on Nina to their existing social media identity. Fans can search for artists and releases through these connected identities only. Artists can embed Nina player+market directly into their websites. By leveraging known, fan-facing identities, users can confidently purchase record-coins knowing their source.
Releases that have not been social proofed will be displayed with a warning that the artist has not been verified. Unverified releases will not be surfaced through any search on Nina. Other social media identity proofing mechanisms will be provided in the future.

Pressing-Plant Nodes

All audio content published on Nina is stored on the Arweave blockchain in the MPEG-DASH streaming format. Arweave allows for permanent non-custodial file-storage with a one time, up front fee (5MB costs ~$0.03). The Nina Pressing-Plant Nodes prepare and package the files for streaming delivery and pay the storage fee to Arweave on behalf of the artist. Node operators are incentivized to run Pressing-Plant nodes via rewards in the NINA governance token. The Pressing-Plant will eventually be open sourced and able to be run by anyone.

Nina Vault

Upon pressing a record-coin, a 1.25% of the total amount pressed is sent to the Nina Vault, a DAO managed treasury of all content published on Nina. The Nina Vault will also be the recipient of all transaction fees from secondary market sales. Uses of the Nina Vault will be decided by stakeholders of the NINA token.



Future Functionality

Subscriptions. Artists (or podcasters) can issue subscription tokens that grant holders access to all of their releases (or a certain subset of releases). Like the redeemables these can either provide access to content directly (via airdrops) or require holders to pay per “episode”. To replace the traditional habit of “Unsubscribing”, a holder of a subscription-token is able to sell it on the secondary market instead.
Royalty-right sales. Any royalty holder is able to transfer a percentage of their royalty-share to another user. Eventually there can be a mechanism for artist’s to directly sell their Nina royalty-rights on the open market.
Last modified 6mo ago