The world’s first blockchain smart speaker? What the hell is that?

Of the many new pieces of tech introduced at SXSW this year was Volareo, the “world’s first blockchain music speaker.” What the hell does that mean?

Volareo is the product of a Dutch company. Like other smart speakers, it plays music from Spotify and other music accounts. But it also seeks to create a meaningful relationship between fan and musician.

This speaker is connected to the Musicoin blockchain, which allows users to send more money per stream to artists when they listen.

Let’s say you’ve hooked your Volareo to your Spotify account. When the music plays, the artists are paid at the standard Spotify rate. But if you heard something you really, really like, you can applaud. Volareo will sense that and automatically send more money (about 10 cents US) from your Musicoin account directly to the artist. That’s more than ten times the standard Spotify payout. If you’re listening through your phone, you can send the extra cash by tapping the app.

Each Volareo comes pre-loaded with $10 US to get everyone started. About 2500 musicians are already signed up and waiting to be tipped.

Interesting idea, but will we ever become used to applauding our smart speakers? Who knows?


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38519 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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