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After finding success in the Middle East’s music industry, AudioSwim’s founder shifts focus to Philly artists

Albert Carter grew up in Philadelphia and got his start in the music industry here. He wants to give back to the city that raised him through his startup.

Albert Carter. (Courtesy photo)
Before living in Dubai, Albert Carter was a rapper in Philly.

Carter, who was born and raised in Germantown, got his start learning about the music industry in Philadelphia before moving to North Carolina and eventually the United Arab Emirates.

During the pandemic, Carter started AudioSwim, a company that helps musicians monetize their work through digital music distribution, NFTs, publishing, merchandise and royalty investments. At the time, he was working in the music management industry and saw how hard it was for artists to make money without live concerts. He wanted to solve the problem.

Carter said he simultaneously became more interested in cryptocurrency, blockchain and NFT technology. He thought about how he could combine that newer technology with existing platforms. The result came through AudioSwim: Royalty investments allow fans to invest in artists using blockchain, and then potentially make money from them when their music does well.

“Essentially, it’s like equity crowdfunding for musicians,” he said. The platform “will give artists upfront capital to do whatever it is that they need, whether it’s pay bills, get something to eat, record a music video — whatever it is that they need in order to survive during those moments. And then if the song actually blows up, then the fan can generate revenue from that.”

AudioSwim aims to be a sort of one-stop shop for artists, Carter said: It’s a management company, it manages music distribution and contracting, it’s a tier one financial brokerage, it’s licensed to do blockchain with NFTs, it hosts live events, and it helps artists collaborate with each other.

The company works with artists from around the world and focuses on expanding their presence in the Middle East. He said Dubai is a great place to do that because of how many people know of it and visit from around the world. In the past three years, Carter said the company has passed 2 million streams, and worked with 23 artists on 66 projects.

“What I find is most artists, they look at streaming as their source of revenue — streaming and shows — but then they kind of miss out on the other opportunities that’s available to them,” he said. “Royalty investments is a relatively old concept when it comes down to music, but most independent artists don’t know how to connect with their fanbase enough to monetize from their fan base.”

Carter’s team is small — just three right now — but he wants to expand his reach in the music industry back to where he came from, Philadelphia. He plans to travel back and froth from Dubai to this region for the time being as he gets the company ready to launch in Philly in June.

He also wants to find Philly artists and bring them into the global stage through the connections and partnerships he’s made around the world.

“I wanted to do something that’s going to give back to the city,” he said. “I believe that the next sound that’s coming from the States and urban music is actually going to come from Philadelphia. It’s never left, it’s always been there. But I think there’s going to be a new movement and we hear it a lot over here.”

Carter said his understanding is that artists should try to become successful outside of the US before trying to find success in here because the American industry is so crowded. He focus is now to find talent in the US and help them succeed on a global stage.

Sarah Huffman is a 2022-2024 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Lenfest Institute for Journalism.
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