KasiMP3, a web platform that allows music artists to earn royalties by sharing their music for free was founded in 2012 by Mokgethwa Mapaya, a South African with not just a heart for township music but as a way for the artists to earn royalties with ease.
According to Mapaya, the web platform is a third incarnation of one of his previous projects, Shipa Music, which was initially a music store before he turned it into a freemium platform.
Mapaya, at 29 years old, founded KasiMP3 after his Matric studies with varius unsuccessful stints at trying to get a college qualification.
He says he tried IT at Vaal University of Technology but dropped out after 6 just months. He similarly dropped out from Computer Systems at the same university and after spending two years at the Tshwane University of Technology in SA he again dropped out but don’t feel sorry for him yet.
With a belief in himself and the skills he had acquired along the way, Mapaya went on to work for 3fifteen as a c# Developer, Datacentrix as a Workflow Developer, MinNet as a C# Developer, Liberty Life as an Integration Developer, nVision as an Integration Developer and Business Connexion as an Intergration Developer and has built systems for clients such as Vodacom, Sappi, Alexender Forbes, South African Breweries and Supply Chain Navigators. His story can go on and on.
TechMoran caught up with him and this is KasiMP3‘s amazing story.
What inspired you?
I just wanted to have a platform where people can access township music. I then noticed critical flaws in the engineering of the music industry mechanics that needed to be fixed. I believed the business models were all wrong and obsolete, and I saw great value in using IT industry solutions in the music industry.
I saw that Facebook, Twitter and Google are already deriving their revenue from freemium business models, and I thought the music industry had to start following the same trend.
Take us through your features and KasiMP3 works?
How many users so far so far?
Before the forced December shutdown, we had 260,000 unique visits per month, from March 1 to the March 25 we had 209,714 unique visits, 90% of the visits from mobile devices.
What is your business model?
KasiMP3 uses a freemium business model. Songs are given [to] the consumer for free and in return we make revenue from the ad space. The revenue from the Ad space is then taken through a financial model that was inspired by the insurance industry.
The model enables us to pay an artist ZAR0.20 per song from revenue of ZAR0.005 generated from the ad space. We pay artists R0.20 specifically because the artist would make approximately the same total if he was going to sell the song instead.
That’s because according to the IFPI, one in 20 online downloads are legal, meaning if an artist makes around ZAR4 by selling a single download, then he will need to make ZAR0.20 per download if he were to give away all 20 the downloads for free.
Any competition in SA?
iTunesSA, Simfy, Hulkshare, Datafilehost and Soundcloud.
How unique are you from them?
The engineering behind my business model is out of this world.
Any funding yet?
I like the romance of making it from nothing, I know history is watching all my moves, so I’m very strict when it comes taking the easy way out. I thought of asking for funding before , but it often makes me feel like I’m cheating, and I would then opt to do best with the little I have.
The other thing I don’t like about involving “capitalists” is that it automatically simplifies KasiMP3 into a business instead of a movement for change.
The only challenge is the environment I’m building KasiMP3 in, costs are stable, music is being uploaded and the visits are going up, the only challenge is that in my environment white people think little of black inventors and black people think even lesser.