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Technology advancement across the world has changed whole system

By Adalla Allan
Monday, June 21st, 2021 00:00 | 3 mins read
KRG The Don.

Technology advancement across the world has changed how a lot of things are done. As Allan Adalla writes, music consumption and commercialisation are some areas positively affected by this.

With the internet accessible in every corner of the world, music has also found space online, thanks to live streams.

Video streaming platforms such as YouTube has seen an increased number of users during the pandemic.

Audio streaming sites including Boomplay, Spotify, Tidal, Apple Music and Amazon Music have also set themselves up as the next big things as far as music consumption is concerned. 

Despite rising copyright infringement cases and taxes set by YouTube, artistes have started channelling their craft through these online streaming sites.

Just recently, Mejja’s hit song Tabia Za Wakenya that had amassed over 1.2 million views in just a couple of days, was pulled down from YouTube after an upcoming artiste lodged a complaint.

Although it was restored on June 11, Mejja said the copyright strike was ill advised and blamed it on hate. 

Being one of the most consistent YouTubers in Kenya, the rapper says he was not so active on audio streaming sites since different managements owned some of his songs, but recently he joined Spotify.

He advises artistes to join audio streaming sites as they hold a promising future.

“The good thing about audio streaming sites to users is that you can create your online playlist rather than going to the download options that may cost you much and need sufficient storage on your gadget.

Just like the compact disk, the flash disks will go extinct with time due to the rise of such  sites,” he tells Spice.

Mejja has produced many talents on YouTube including the Mbuzi Gang and Trio Mio.

He says that many up-and-coming artistes have been approaching him to feature on their videos so that their music hits.  

“Most people believe that music is incomplete without a video. These audio music streaming sites will help reduce that pressure, as here you only share the audio in your platform, which makes artistes equal,” he explains.

Effective alternatives

After KRG the Don’s YouTube channel was hacked recently upon releasing his new album Birthmark, he advised his fans to get his music on audio streaming sites, as his team was working on recovering the video channel, which went successful. For him, the sites serve as a good back up. 

“I have been in over five audio streaming platforms, and the revenues I earn through them are so far so good.

What is making these streams gain more popularity in Kenya is  that you can subscribe on the unlimited platforms such as iTunes for Apple users for a specified amount and listen to the music you want until the subscription period ends.

This is unlike other streams and downloading options where you need to dig into your pocket every time you want to listen to or download a song,” says KRG.

The Mathogothanio hitmaker asserts that audio streams have also given them easy time to choose the song whose video should come first through fan comments. 

“It’s hard to predict if fans would get interested in your music if you release it together with the video.

They might like the video and not the song. The response and number of streams we get from them through these platforms makes us make up our minds on which videos to start with,” he confides.

DJ Lyta intimates that just like YouTube, consistency is key for anyone to enjoy the big revenues  from audio streaming sites.

Being on three such platforms already, Lyta currently has 11 million streams.He is also the deejay with the highest number of streams in Kenya on Boomplay.

 “I go with what people like. I started with the Hot Grabba mixes when people loved the Jamaican dancehall genre. Now fans are in love with South African amapiano, mixes of which I have made.

Next time, if they ask for another genre, I will give it to them. That has been the secret behind the big numbers of streams,” he says.

Revenue avenues

According to Boomplay’s Camilla Owora, so far, the platorm’s catalogue has more than 10,000 Kenyan artistes. 

“Our app has two subscription options; premium and freemium. The premium option requires the user to purchase a monthly subscription plan for about Sh200, whereas the freemium option is free.

However, users on freemium are exposed to advertisements. Our artistes earn royalties based on their cumulative streams and rev-share from advertisements,” she says.

For a song to be uploaded on Boomplay, the artiste just needs to get a Content Management Software account that gives them back-end access to manage their uploads and data.

However, Owora points out that the biggest challenge they still face, as a digital service provider is piracy. 

“Piracy remains the biggest threat to the Kenyan music industry. We are consistently working with other relevant stakeholders to ensure we fight the menace that the industry has been grappling with for many years,” she says in conclusion. 

Adalla Allan

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