Waabeh is the slang word for great or awesome in sheng – (hybrid language of English and Swahili). The name captures what Waabeh aspires to be; a great platform, providing great and locally relevant audio content.
Apart from Music, Waabeh also has Podcasts, Audio Books, Radio documentaries and Educational Material. Currently Waabeh is available as a Web-based and Android application, with tracks ready for listeners to discover.
TechMoran caught up with the awesome team and this is what they told us.
What is Waabeh?
Waabeh, Africa’s Audio Marketplace as is called has the latest music by musicians from Kenya and across the continent. Waabeh allows users to listen to music or download it from the Internet. Buyers though have to pay for the tracks through a mobile money system already integrated.
We currently have over 500 tracks and the numbers keep growing daily.
We have music from JustaBand, Eric Wainaina, as well as timeless tracks from , Mercy Myra, Five Alive, KSouth and “Jongo love” a 12 part fast paced drama set in grimy ghetto of “Jongo” in Nairobi, as well as excerpts from the Kenyan Constitution.
So far have partnered with various musicians and content producers to make their music and content available on Waabeh.
Just recently Kisima Awards used our platform to stream all the nominated music online for listeners across the world to listen, engage and vote for the various nominees online.
We further partnered with another Kenyan musician, Kevin Provoke to push his new single to over 200 people in one day and we just concluded working on an audio format of Kenya’s new constitution in partnership with the National Council of Kenya Law Reporting. The audio format is now online.
Who is your competition?
We do not have much of competition in the African market. The closest is mdundo a Kenyan a music-only scratchcard service and Spintlet a similar music-only download service based in Nigeria, focused mainly on the West African Market.
There is also Itunes & Soundcloud that have very little African audio content and primarily serve users based in the Europe and the Americas.
What inspired you to launch Waabeh?
Focus. Africa is the only market that has seen steady overall growth over the last 5 years and the projections for the next 15 years are astronomical. We realised that surprisingly for a continent such great potential, a billion people and 1000s of different cultures, no one has created a product that allows us to tell, distribute, and archive our stories in culturally relevant manner: through an audio platform.
Our culture is still primarily transmitted verbally and the problem with this that it gets lost, diluted and we are unable ultimately to turn it into a beneficial resource. We saw the vast opportunity presented by this as well the growth of smartphones, and internet access across the continent.
Having also worked in Kenya as well as Pan African entertainment industry for the last 12 years, I saw the challenges faced by audio creators with amazing content but lack the ability to distribute it.
While there could be similar products Waabeh’s core platform is built on the ability to stream, download and it is an audio market, which makes it very different from the rest of our would be competitors that have only focused on a small segment, music, and their products are mainly targeted at the youth [ 13- 25] and are only download based.
Take us through your different features?
Waabeh is an Audio content publisher that has two kinds of users, the audio consumer and the publishers. For the consumer, our biggest offering is to be able to stream content through the various channels, Apps, Mobile Web, and Web.
Our content is available in four main categories:
Music, Life, Education and Soul. Music provides the best of African music, Life provides material that is meant to make life richer and fuller, here we have amongst other information the constitution of Kenya, Education provides Audio books, we are currently working at making available all current 8-4-4 set-books in drammatised audio format here.
In Soul, we cater for the inner man, and here we provide church sermons and motivational talks.
In addition they can be able to download the content, depending on the publishing rights some of the content is available free for download e.g. the constitution, and the church sermons, while content like Music and books need to be paid for download.
Based on our algorithms we are able to determine some of the most popular listened-to content, and we offer “mix-tape of the week” to our users.
On the other hand we have the content publishers, for them, each has a way for creating their profile, where they can upload,manage their content and interact with their funs, and track how their work is doing through our unique and customised reputation management system that combines the power “gota”, listenership and pageviews.
In addition, we have studied the market and acknowledge that there is very little of locally relevant content easily available for distribution, therefore, for content publishers who do not have their work or would want to have their work in audio format, we offer recording services that guarantees high quality audio for downloading and streaming, which they can make available in all other mediums.
We offer a feature that allows listeners to access content either directly from the Waabeh platform, but also within the publishers own website through an embedded audio player streaming within the confines of their websites, as well as a badge.
Have you raised any seed funding or are bootstrapping?
Waabeh is a labor of love, fully bootstrapped by the founders and funded by them. We opted to
make sure we have a product that works well before sourcing for any outside source of funding.
This allows us some level of independence on the growth of our product.
How do you want to make money out of Waabeh?
Waabeh has three revenue streams: Advertising, Streaming and Downloads.
Advertising; our projected biggest source of revenue is from advertising. Unlike traditional advertising, we will have advertising 3-15sec unobtrusive ads embedded in all the audio content.
Streaming; we will have premier content that users will be charged an affordable monthly access fee.
Downloads; this is a traditional model, whereby, users pay to download content.
Payment is through mobile money, credit cards and our own proprietary credits system.
How will Musicians or the public benefit?
Waabeh is not only a music platform, but it also is place to listen to all kinds of audio content.
It empowers the audio content creators by providing a platform that allows the distribution and monetization their content.
Built in tools on the platform for musicians and audio creators the benefits are threefold:
First we solve the problem of obscurity and invisibility by having an easy way to get discovered
over multiple platforms[ online, native applications for Android, Nokia, BB and IOS].
Secondly,our multiple income streams ie, subscription, advertising, downloads and streaming ensure
more income avenues are now available to them. Thirdly, by dealing with audio creators directly
Waabeh eliminates middlemen, pariahs and the headache of monetization of their content.
Other benefits include detailed statistics about their content usage and their audiences.
For the users, Waabeh solves the problem of discovering great African audio content as well as painless and legal way of obtaining it. We believe that the users of non music audio content [Education and Soul] will eventually be our largest user base as they will be coming to us to solve their immediate problems e.g. ability to access to education curriculum on the phone as an audio book.
In two years, what do you want to achieve?
This year we have just only set up in Nairobi, Kenya, in the next two quarters we plan to firmly expand our network across the country to audio content creators [publishers, podcasters, independent radio producers] as well as expanding to the rest of Eastern Africa.
We also want to be the first service that is synonymous with distribution music and audio, on the African continent.
Who is on your management team?
The 4 person Waabeh team [ Tim, King, Jeff and Ciku] bring on board their solid reputations, stellar resumés and a combined 25 years in Development , UI and system design, Music business and branding. The team is passionate about solving problems Africa’s problems using technology.
Waabeh’s Chief Excitement Officer, Tim is a musician who loves tech and whose main responsibility is to get the world excited about Waabeh. Tim has worked in the Music business for 12 years gaining such notable clients such as Warner Bros Gaming LA,Tiger Aspect, Universal Music Group, Endemol, BBC, ActionAid, Safaricom and Reuters.
Kingori – [ ki NG ō ri ]
Our Binary Masseur [CTO] is in charge of making sure the 1s and 0s make sense. With vast experience in engineering and development, Kingori is our international man of coding mystery.
Waabeh’s Pixel Architect whose sole responsibility is to ensure everything looks and feels great . His work has been seen offline as well as online for a wide array of clients such as, Capital Colors, Ihub, Pivot East, Azma Clothing, Apprentice Hub, Rock Resorts.
Ciku [ sh ē K ō ]
Waabeh’s official Gangnam Styler is a recent addition that completed our team, has a background in system design and has worked in different capacities across Africa.