Nigeria’s Mymusic.com.ng is due to launch in public beta a few weeks from now after its private beta launch in early January 2014 in a move the co-founders say will crack the code of digital music distribution in Africa.
Founded by Tola Ogunsola asCEO, Dolapo Taiwo as CTO, and Damola Taiwo as COO who all met in University about 14 years ago in the Department of Computer Science and Maths at Babcock University, the team say the platform is launching to the public with a boom after its second stage of product iteration.
“We are of the opinion that the problem has not been solved yet. Nobody has yet been able to crack the code of digital music distribution in Nigeria. We believe we have a winning strategy, a combination of processes, ideas and best practices to help Nigerian artistes get the reward they duly deserve for their creative work as well as connect them to their rightful consumers, assuredly a global one,” Damola told TechMoran. “We had always known day jobs were not our thing. We had all been involved in some entrepreneurial engagement at one point or the other. We were just looking for the next big problem to solve when the issue of music discovery and distribution in Nigeria stared us in the face. We thought we could give it a good shot based on all our experiences and here we are today.”
Damola told TechMoran that based on the early adopters feedback and reviews, the service is set to have no match in Africa as it focuses on the consumer and not the its technology.
“We want to ensure that even the unsophisticated user can benefit from the service. In Nigeria there are about 45 Million people who have access to the Internet through their mobile phones and a vast majority of them have their mobile devices as their only means of interaction with any form of technology. These are our target users who we consider unreached.
Damola says Mymusic.com.ng’s business model is simple. He says that though people who have the drive to steal music will continue to do so, the platform’s Mantra is to make stealing music more trouble than it’s worth by making digital music easy to find and purchase and price it reasonably, the vast majority of people will choose to buy rather than steal.
The three are at the moment creating multiple platforms and multiple payment methods for various target audiences so no one is left out. They are also employing some unconventional payment methods like direct Telco billing, which allows people pay for music using their mobile phone credit. Their major challenges have been in the area of funding and educating the audience on the advantages of the platform and on building trust.
“Any venture coming from Nigeria always raises a red flag. We have had to bootstrap to come this far. Right now we’re receiving support from close acquaintances in the form of angel investment. That can only go so far but it’s a step in the right direction,” Damola says.
The team has also spoken to a number of OEMs, Payment Processors and Telcos and they envisage partnerships will come out of these in a very short while to make them the major global distributor of all types of music from all over Africa in just five years. At the moment the platform is only accepting Nigerian music but have plans to market the service t a global audience from inception but int the near future Mymusic will expand to the rest of Africa and get their music on board.
The three are sure of the platform’s growth due to their varied experiences in the tech field already. Tola runs Infoworks Consulting, a software development firm, and through that platform, he has developed various enterprise level applications and systems in Nigeria. He is involved in projects ranging from payments to process automation.
Damola and Dolapo are brothers and they run a web and branding agency in Nigeria called Unotech Media. With Unotech, they have consulted for various businesses and organizations as well as state governments and political campaigns on branding and web projects. Damola in his earlier days worked in the UK for a few years as a web developer for a number of agencies and design studios such as ASOS.com, Grand Union Communications and Virgin Media. His brother, Dolapo worked with Elliott Thomas Ltd. in deploying a logistics application at the inception of the London Heathrow T5 project – a major development of the UK government towards the regeneration of Heathrow and the london 2012 olympics.
“The startup environment in Lagos is buzzing at the moment,”says Damola. ” The world needs to come here and see what people are doing. People are proffering solutions to various problems ubiquitously and I am sure that startups will be the next economic giants in Nigeria in the nearest future. The population is massive and this is just the beginning.”
Upcoming entreprenuers should know that the only thing standing between them and their goal is the story they keep telling themselves as to why they can’t achieve it. “In everything you do make sure you’re creating value first and your business model is clear. Returns (money) always run after value,” Damola concludes.