Recast launches radio-on-demand iOS app in South Africa

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Recast, an app that combines radio and music streaming by offering radio playlists on-demand, has launched its iOS app in South Africa, claiming it is making it easier for the radio industry to catch up.

Recast takes the playlists of radio stations from all over the world and allows users to listen to them as they would on any other streaming music service.

Previously available online, the service launched on iOS earlier this week and went on to become one of the top products on Product Hunt for the day.

Founder Richard Oakley told Disrupt Africa the response so far has been “fantastic”, and any feedback would be invaluable as the Cape Town-based startup planned further launches in the next few months.

He believes Recast has found an exciting niche somewhere between radio and the music streaming industry.

“When it comes to music, the ultimate goal is to create the perfect playlist – services like Pandora write algorithms to try and automate, while individuals spend hours on end organising iTunes and Spotify libraries into them,” he said.

“Broadcast radio, however, has already perfected the art of music playlisting – understanding how to get the right mix of familiar and new, genre-specific and adventurous, and exactly what their audience will want to listen to.”

He said, however, the problem is that radio as a music experience is “full of inconvenience and interruptions”, such as advertisements, presenters, repeated tracks, and no way of skipping forwards. Recast was launched to solve these problems.

“While the idea might initially come across as ‘anti’ radio, we actually believe Recast can be very beneficial for radio stations, too, which is the side on which our business model is built,” he said.

“Listeners are already turning to services like Pandora and YouTube when they want to listen to nothing but music, and it’s those people we’re targeting – we want them to carry on listening to their favourite station Recast, instead of just music on those services.”

Oakley said while radio stations are great at initially deciding what music to play, it is very difficult for them to measure how listeners actually feel about the music on their playlist.

“But when someone tunes into a station on Recast, they’re self-identifying as someone who wants to listen to the music from that station, so any data we can collect about them is really valuable feedback,” he said.

“We store analytics about how they’re responding to the tracks on the playlist – where they skip them etc – and then expose those insights to radio stations, so that they can know when they should be playing tracks more, or less, or not at all. We’re also exploring some other features like stations being able to test new tracks within Recast’s audience before adding them to their on-air playlist, as well as white-label products for their own properties. It’s early days still, but I’m really excited about the opportunities in this space.”

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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