I have discussed Spinlet in the past, albeit briefly, although I promise more discussions will be forthcoming. Right now, I am in observation mode as to these digital distribution companies and their plans to command a large profit share of Africa’s music markets. As they strategize for their hopeful takeovers, it is interesting to note their visions and goals for Africans and Africa. Ventures Africa recently caught up with Eric Idiahi of Spinlet and it is interesting to read what he has to say about being Africa’s next Itunes.
VENTURES AFRICA – Spinlet’s Group CEO and Chairman, Eric Idiahi, is one of the guest speakers at the Mobile Web West Africa 2012 Conference, taking place today in Lagos Nigeria. Described as Africa’s iTunes, Spinlet is a company focused on meeting the needs of music lovers by bringing the latest music in Africa to user-friendly mobile platforms. In this interview, Mr Idiahi sheds more light on the brand “Spinlet,” its ambitious goal to maximize the mobile space and expand the music industry on the Continent. Enjoy!
Thanks so much for helping us coordinate this (Andrew Mowbray at All Amber and Nwando Ebeledike at Spinlet).
Mr Idiahi, one of your goals at Spinlet is to provide Africa with the combination of music content and mobile devices. How does this work?
Africa has over 700 million mobile phone users. The mobile phone is considered the device of choice in Africa as there are many more mobile phones than computers or TVs, hence we believe the best way to deliver music to the African consumer is on a mobile phone.
We understand that Sami Leino and Ville Leino founded Spinlet in 2006. Why do you think it took so long to break into the African market?
They developed it with the intention of it being in operation outside Africa, they had no local market knowledge or understanding of the potential in Africa. On the other hand, the team at Verod Capital identified the opportunity to distribute music digitally in Africa and acquired the Spinlet platform to execute this.
What role do you currently play at Spinlet?
I am the Chairman.
Prior to joining Spinlet, you worked at Verod Capital, an investment firm you co-founded in 2008 that was instrumental in giving Spinlet its financial backing. What would you say endeared in Spinlet to have drawn your investment?
One of the biggest attractions to the company for us was Finland where it was founded. Finland and America are probably the two best tech hubs in the world. Leveraging on the track record of innovation in these countries to further develop Spinlet for the markets we target was a big plus for us.
How viable is the business? What is the marketing strategy for Africa? According to your website, services are not available in the West African region (i tried it here). Why is that?
Any new business or new ideas face many challenges, and there is certainly always a risk of failure. On paper the business makes a lot of sense. Itunes, Spotify, deezer , etc have successfully done it in other markets. Of course we can’t use the same formula they have used in those markets for Africa, but with our tweaks we hope it will be successful. Spinlet has not officially launched yet so it is not available for download anywhere. . . ”
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