How Ability Elijah Is Helping Artists Buy And Sell Music Beats In Nigeria

Buying and selling of music beats were unimaginable in the past. Artists have to physically visit studios to produce their beat. But today, this is not the case. You can now buy and sell beats online. And the startup that is making this possible is Caketunes.  We caught up with the co-founder and Music-Lead of Caketunes-Ability Elijah. He shared his experience about running Caketunes, their ongoing projects, challenges and much more. Enjoy!

Can you tell us about yourself and Caketunes?

My name is Ability Elijah, Co-founder and Music-Lead at Born and raised in the city of Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Growing up, I spent a lot of time with my parents and siblings where I learnt the bits of staying disciplined in every facet of life, at times were almost very tough.

For, it is a beat marketplace, music production and music distribution company for African producers and artists. On Caketunes, users do not practically need a dime to go by the name “Entrepreneur”. This means that upon registration, every user, be it producer or artist is offered a unique store which does not basically take more than 3 minutes to set up and get them ready for business. Producers can then go ahead to sell their beats while the artistes can likewise upload their music for free. We actually adopted this model for easy and quick customer acquisition. We believe that by attracting more artists to free music upload, 30-40% of them might find interest on a certain beat for their next song and who knows, we might also end up mixing and mastering it as well, landing us to a two-way profit on one user.

How will you describe the reception of Caketunes by Nigerians so far?

Well, I won’t say that everybody is buying into the idea of Caketunes. Nonetheless, it’s been a nice ride seeing 65% conversion on every move we make to adopt new beats and producers.
Since inception, I have spoken with a good number of Nigerian producers and artists, and the manner in which the idea is embraced is one reason why we are still existing.

We have converted a good number of artists from buying beats offline to searching for the beats they love and producing their songs online and we hope that we completely transform this space in a short time.

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What are some of the projects you are currently undertaking?

Okay. The thing is, we are actually a fresh market and we need to start engaging our producers on marketing sets. So in the next month, we’ll be partnering with some industry guys to conduct social media marketing training sessions, in order to enlighten our producers and help them make quick leaps.

That already said; a perfect, personalized page should be a perfect match for the above program. What this means is that we are currently working on enabling our producers to own and host their personal beat selling a website with a domain name, good design templates and all that. You know, this technology requires a lot of time and carefulness to bring to life. So we are hoping that the entire webpage set up happens in less than 1 hour.

Not quite long, the Central Bank Of Nigeria disclosed how Nigerians are lagging behind when it comes to trusting their card details into a box they really don’t understand where it’s connected to. I’m a big witness, no matter how much you try to convince this person to pay online, they rather don’t, instead, they reject the product you offer. So I and my guys at Caketunes, decided to look into this issue after realizing that many Nigerians still prefer carrying money about. We developed under a traditional payment model, but instead of doing it the normal way, we made it a bit technical.

It’s called Ucode. This method enables our artists to pay via mobile transfer or bank deposit, proceed to send payment details to a 24/7 dedicated line and shortly get some codes made of numbers to unlock beats of specific prices. It may not be that fast, but it’s worth it. If you don’t want to use the provided tractor, then use the hoe. That simple.

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We have also partnered with Publiseer, a digital music and book publishing company in Nigeria. When I first read about this guys, I knew we would definitely work together someday. The partnership was designed to help our artists and producers stream and sell their contents worldwide in exchange for income. While this persists, clients over the Publiseer way are entitled to get 25% discount off every beat they buy on Caketunes. We both aim to simplify the way musicians distribute contents, and this time with just no dime attached. Basically, both companies share similar goals at some point and this is just a perfect reason why we are fit for this journey.

What is the difference between Caketunes and a regular record label?

A record label signs you in, handle all you need including your housing. Doing this, they are entitled to get a huge chunk of all you earn for a period of time, not until the deal is done, you still don’t own your person. But our case is different when we approve a producer or artists into our distribution program. Of course, we do a 30% percent sales charge thing but the whole of the other earnings remain that of the content creator or management company. So you see the difference now? We help our creators stay independent while earning good revenue from their work.

Running a startup in Nigeria is challenging. Can you share some of the challenges of running or managing a startup in Nigeria?

Running a startup is hard everywhere. That’s what I believe. In our case, about 40 of the new producers we meet, refuse to use the product because they are either scared we would mess up with their rights, others think we are scammers and our existence is all about using their creativity to buy a Porsche or Lamborghini.

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Now, let’s break down to the artists; these guys are the most scared persons ever. Let me shock you. The Paystack integration on our platform is a fancy, it’s just making everything look fanciful but no one uses it. They prefer transferring N50,000 to our bank account, even if it means they have to wait for 48 hours, it’s just fine with them. This is just one of the reasons why we developed U-code to help our customers pay faster in the traditional way. So in conclusion, our biggest problem is trust but I am sure we’ll kill it gradually as time goes on.


How will you describe business so far? Will you say it has been worth it? How will you describe the entrepreneurial journey?

You know, I used to tell people that it is not how many times you are rejected that makes you a failure but how fast you succumb and think you are doing the wrong thing.

Most of the producers and artists we reached to, turned down doing business with us for no stated reasons and sometimes, we begin to wonder if we are on the right path. Most emerging artists are not that financially buoyant, which brings our platform to the working class artists only. But we hope that in the future there will be very tiny prices for everyone. So far, I will say business has been so good and bad equally but we are looking with full hope to the future.
What message do you have for budding entrepreneurs?

My message to everybody out there looking to start a business is “Focus”. You must learn to stay focused at all times in other to achieve all that you want. Put simply; Achievement is when you have decided a focus. You must be ready to fight and lose. It will only teach you a lot more skills and prepare you for future duress.

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