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JOOX eyes other African countries as it charts expansion

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Music-streaming service JOOX says South Africans have been receptive to the app, because of its strong focus on local content.

The Tencent-owned music app made its South African debut in 2017, making the country its first non-Asian market. It is also available in Thailand, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Indonesia.

In terms of taking the music service to other African nations, JOOX says plans of expansion into the rest of the continent are in the works, adding that more details will be available in the coming months.

With over 200 million downloads worldwide, JOOX indicates it holds a top five place in local download charts.

“Our South African music database is substantial, and we regularly work with local musicians in our marketing projects and campaigns − they are at the forefront of what we do.

“We’re also passionate about growing music-streaming in South Africa, and our commercial deals − like the one with DStv that gives access to our paid service for free − make streaming more accessible, and because of this, combats the kind of piracy that hurts local artists.”

The X-factor

South Africa’s streaming market has become quite competitive in recent years, with music apps like JOOX, Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer and Google Play Music making their services available locally.

However, unlike the other music-streaming apps, JOOX indicates it counts its “deep ties with the local music community” as its differentiating factor.

“We want to see South African artists succeed, and give them a platform to do so. We’re serious about this. JOOX has sponsored many major local music events since it launched in 2017, and our recent ‘Gig to Earn’ campaign is a direct response to knowing how South African musicians are suffering under lockdown measures,” says Brett Loubser, CEO of Tencent Africa Services.

Tencent Africa Services is a joint venture initiative between Tencent Mobility in Hong Kong and South African media company Naspers. It is responsible for the local operations and marketing of Tencent products, which include WeChat, JOOX and VOOV.

Subscribers can choose the free version of the app or access it as a subscription-based service, paying R49.99 for the VIP subscription on a month-to-month basis or R59.99 for one month.

Earning potential

JOOX has decided to introduce the ‘Gig to Earn’ campaign as a way to financially support local musicians. The campaign allows musicians to stream directly to their fans via the JOOX live video streaming feature, and get paid to do so.

The cancellation of music festivals and concerts as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in financial hardship for many local artists. Even though some have turned to virtual platforms to host live concerts for their fans as the lockdown rolls on, the performances remain a free service.

Through the campaign, JOOX says it pays artists R1 500 per a half-hour appearance. “This campaign is to address a very urgent need in many artists’ households. As JOOX, this meant trying to keep the campaign as accessible as it can be, while we’re still looking to uphold a standard the JOOX listener is used to.

“The result is that we’re accepting artists that have at least some recorded music, and a social media presence. An artist can currently appear four times in a month, though this may change subject to the influx of corporate sponsorships.”

According to JOOX, all users, regardless of subscription, are able to access the Gig to Earn livestreams.

Some of the musicians on the Gig to Earn schedule include Ami Faku, Juan Casey, Holly Rey, Manu Worldstar, Touchline, Ammara Brown, Bigstar Johnson, Charlize Berg, Chronical Deep, Dala Fam, Dr Malinga, Lee Scott and Vee Mampeezy.

JOOX adds it is partnering with some of the big-charting local artists for weekly ‘Big Live’ concerts. The first of these concerts, which takes place tonight at 8pm, will see Cassper Nyovest stage a livestream performance.

Loubser concludes: “We intend to keep the campaign running for as long as possible while lockdown measures are in place. While these necessary restrictions are in place, artists aren’t able to make money from traditional live performances, and we see a need to keep this support ongoing for the foreseeable future. We’re appealing to brands and businesses to help us achieve that through sponsorship.”

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