Nigeria’s potential as a technology market hub continues to attract attention from international organizations. Swype Global Ltd, a UK digital startup has made a strategic entry into Nigeria with a 50 percent investment in SGL-Swypatune Nig. Ltd. This entry is in a bid to properly harness the potential of music talents in Africa using digital technology.
The entrance will serve as a catalyst for strategic partnerships with relevant stakeholders who are poised to embrace the vision of leveraging digital technology, primarily focused on eliminating the barriers impeding the growth of upcoming artistes in Nigeria.
Music talent discovery in Nigeria still hinges on a traditional media model, a situation which creates limited access, ambiguous criteria and lack of transparency, as opposed to a digital based platform which provides more transparency, equal access to contestants and eliminates stage fright.
Having developed an intuitive digital platform dubbed SWYPATUNE – an App which will be available on the Google Play and Apple Stores by 2019 – Swype Global Limited has laid out a strategic roadmap to solving the common problems faced by many upcoming artistes before,during and after a music talent show.
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With the likes of established financial houses like Fidelity Bank and Zenith Bank, and entertainment figures like Ice Prince, Ade Bantu, Chopstiks and others already in conversation with Swype Global, the CEO, Peter Atorough, believes that having the right strategic partnership is a critical aspect of SGL-Swypatune’s business model.
“We have developed partnerships internationally with key technology and monetization content developers, but we are interested and actively searching for local business partnersand sponsors who will key into this vision and help transform the economic landscape of Nigeria. We have had interesting discussions with established artists like Ice Prince and major potential sponsors like Zenith Bank and Fidelity Bank.”
“As a specialist in Digital Consumer Behaviour and Supply Chain Management, I think of the 360-degree business model:the whole idea is to eliminate multiple intermediaries through a digital based concept, and to bridge all the barriers encountered during the process of a talent show while offering value to all partners, sponsors and App users.”
Peter, who is also a professor at The Robert GordonUniversity in Scotland, isn’t ignorant of the fact that some developers are already building quick fix Apps which do not address local needs.
But he explains that while the likes of international app publishers like Facebook and Snapchat do not put the Africancultural orientations, environmental factors, as well as perspectives into consideration, Swype Global Ltd is founded on the philosophy that digital mobile technology represents the biggest and boldest opportunity to transform the economies of Africa. This is particularly relevant to Nigeriawhere Swype Global is looking to create new employment opportunities in the digital mobile technology space.
“If you visit Spotify for instance, no Nigerian music content is listed in the top 100 songs. That is a huge gap and Swype Global Ltd is bridging that by seeking the right stakeholders who will come on board and help us “drive a local digital platform built specifically with a deep understanding of Africa’s economic and social realities.”
“During my visit to Nigeria, I have had the opportunity to meet and observe many aspiring artists performing or rehearsing their acts. I have met the likes of Queen X and Malyna, all excellent performers with huge potential but poor exposure due to limited opportunities to showcase their talent at a national level. This is where Swypatune will make a huge difference.”
Peter remains optimistic that Nigeria has a huge potential to overcome the issue of being so much reliant on Apps developed for Americans and Europeans. Providing more insight on the 360 Degree model, he said everybody who gets involved directly or indirectly with the digital platform, either as partners, sponsors or users, gets rewarded one way or the other. “This is how we do things in Africa; we share the rewards for the benefit of all stakeholders. Every day, international App publishers make huge money from your use of their apps. You think it’s free; but in reality, you are giving them a whole lot and getting nothing in tangible rewards from their profits. Swype Global wants to do things differently.”
Active users of the Swypatune App get credits in the form of Swypa Coins when they engage in different activities, and can use their credits to redeem fantastic offers on the app; vendor partners from different sectors, including hotels, cinemas, travel agents and retailers, can directly create and advertise their best offers on the platform for free; while sponsors or partners get a revenue share or advertisement exposure to the millions of Swypatune users.
“Users can use their Swypa Coins to redeem offers from food vendors, travel agencies etc. In a situation where an offer is worth £12 and a user has £8 Swypa Coins, such a user can borrow Swypa Coins from friends or top up their credit through their network’s airtime or bank card.”
The SWYPATUNE App will serve as a contest platform for music talents in Nigeria. There would be a crowd source entry (anybody can upload their music content on the Swypatune App). With the help of an efficient algorithm built in the App, 100 entries would be shortlisted after a review.
According to Frank Fotso, an engineer and one of Swype Global’s directors, “There will be three series in a year with each series producing 1 winner. The members of the public will have the opportunity to vote and determine their No 1 tune, thereby directly deciding the winner of each series. The winner will get N10 Million towards recording and establishment, including post contest management and mentoring. There will also be weekly prizes presented on a Weekly TV slot showcasing the week’s No 1 song and Swypatune users.”
Swype Global Limited is a U.K based company which owns the sister company SGL-Swypatune Nig. Ltd. It is a pan-African organisation with directors from Nigeria, Ghana and Cameroun. According to Effe Sackey-Barnes who is responsible for the marketing directorate, “the company’s objective is to harness the possibilities of digital mobile technologies to expand access to opportunity for people who live in developing economies, wherever there is a connection. We will provide applications that are educating, entertaining, informative and help our users discover their inner talent. Our applications will be aimed at empowering people to create opportunity for themselves and for others, especially in Africa.”