Senegalese startup JokkoText wants to give African music artists the boost they deserve. So what’s the solution? Make the fans an offer they can’t refuse.
Created by web developer turned entrepreneur Mamadou Dione, JokkoText is an online platform where music artists from across Africa can list their singles and albums for sale or free download.
A big music fan and producer himself, Dione wanted to provide an online tool which facilitates artists reaching local and pan-African audiences, as well as maximising their revenues.
So far, so simple. This side of the platform is much akin to iTunes, Dione says.
However, here’s the twist. Fans have the option of activating the “Rokki” feature of the platform – a revenue sharing capability which rewards fans for sharing their favourite music via social media.
“When the Rokki formula is activated, the fan who shares his favorite music on social networks or websites receives two per cent commission for each sale originated from the link that he shared,” Dione explains.
“By rewarding fans, we encourage them to engage and share the songs and albums. Like this we’re further helping artists with their promotion.”
This is not JokkoText’s only revenue channel. The platform also charges a commission fee to artists for sales through the platform – which allows for payments to be made via credit card, mobile money, and SMS carrier billing.
Launched to the public in April this year, JokkoText already has 15 artists selling via the platform, and Dione is just beginning to look at marketing the platform.
“We’re in the first steps of promoting the platform. Marketing will make our expansion pretty easy, because artists can join online from anywhere, which is a great feature,” he says.
According to Dione, while the artist-side of the music industry in Senegal has already shifted to the digital arena, it is actually consumers who have not been able to make the shift, although due to no fault of their own. He says payment options have hindered consumers in being able to make use of digital music platforms. This is why JokkoText places such a focus on the consumer side of transactions.
“Artists are aware that the internet is the new main route for music. Most artists have a Facebook profile and a Facebook page. They are aware of internet growth. Low-cost smartphones are the main reason of this rapid growth. The only boundary for artists is to get to know how the solution – like ours in this case – works, their rights and benefits. When they have a basic understanding of it and realize that it fits their needs, they’re usually ready to use it,” Dione says.
“When it comes to music consumers, the irony is that there is almost no “old” solution in Senegal, for example. No tech-based music solution has been popular or successful yet. The old ones were barely used because the payment method was credit card. Our Senegalese users like the SMS and mobile payment methods which are quick and efficient.”
For now, there’s a lot of work to be getting on with for JokkoText: onboarding new artists and users – across the platform’s 50 African and European markets – is the first priority; and SMS shortcodes are due to be activated on the platform in Senegal shortly.
The startup is also looking for funding and partners to help build out its vision of a virtual ecosystem for music artists and fans.