Anne Odita, Content Creator, Onside Media met with Strma founder, Kudzani Murefu and spoke about his entrepreneur journey
What made you decide to enter the streaming service’s market?
I have always been passionate about music, from playing piano in church to producing beats in my teens. One day whilst living in Zimbabwe, I was listening to radio late at night and there was a particular local artist who claimed he had only made $300 in royalties after his song had been #1 for a good portion of the year. This did not resonate with me, and I truly felt that I needed to do something to counter this issue. That same night, I sketched the blueprint for a service that would offer music while compensating the creators fairly. That is where I started.
Did your schooling, and real-world experience influence your ability to start your Business?
Definitely, I have been selling products and service since the age of 16. In college, most people knew me from selling Android boxes, which became my source of income for 2 years during my college days. In the beginning, I was selling all these products because I needed extra money due of the cost of being an international student. My degree in coding from Niagara was also a big help in allowing me to reach the realization that I have always wanted to create something with my own hands. But to get there I tried 1000 things, take my losses as a champ, learn how to trade, sell, and market and package. I did all that by the time I was 21-22.
Strma focuses mainly on Zimbabwean artists and music are you looking to expand the number of African artists on the platform?
With anything you have to start very small and understand your niche market in order to be successful, once I am established, I can begin to scale from there. My vision is to grab the markets we know best, the small markets that no one is talking about or have been neglected. The South African Development Community (SADC), for example, is made of 13 small countries that have a total population of 600 million people, and all share borders. Our mission is to ensure we are the number one music provider for these people. Every city and town will use Strma as it is the go to source. The overall goal is to be the go-to brand for African’s 1billion+ market, so we have long & interesting journey ahead.
With big players in the streaming business do you feel like Strma will be able to compete?
There are indeed big players with resources, but currently they do not offer their services in 95% of the countries. Most importantly, the average working-class African makes $80-$200 a month, therefore asking them to pay a subscription fee at $10 a month would not work. So, the opportunity is there for an affordable option that offers a great solution which is Strma. We offer packages that reflect the economic position of most people. You can buy access for $2, or you can do a PAY-AS-YOU-GO plan at $0.50 for 150 songs. If we are able to get our name out there, I have faith that our model will win and artists will side with us, as well as the consumers. Many have tried but have failed either because they lack technology, priced themselves out of the market, or do not understand the local economy & its effect on consumption.
What is the best feature would you say Strma has to offer?
Sometime this year we will be introducing the Channels feature, which will be an online page created by artists/DJs/creators, where listeners can follow and have access to aggregated content within a specific genre or category. This makes the discovery of new music much easier. A great example will be like ROC NATION/YMCMB having a channel, where you can access all the music, list of artists associated with this record label. You no longer have to search for the artists individually. If you’re a promoter and are approved, you can also create a channel page that promotes some category and you will receive a portion of the stream royalty.
Where do you see your business in the next year? In the next five years? The next ten years?
This year our goal is to gain 100,000 users on our platforms. The following year the goal is to aim for 1million users as well as, obtain funding to strengthen our Advertising business, and to launch our Video platform. In 5 years, we should be in 10 countries and on our way to the rest of Africa.
As told to Anne Odita, Content Creator for The Onside Media, Canada, For comments get in touch [email protected]