Q&A: Sinclair Al-Malik Obasi, founder, Snookbase.com

Snookbase.com is set to be the latest entrant into Africa’s ever-expanding entertainment sector where industry giants such as iROKING and Spinlet are still struggling with how to monetise music and video content. Founder Sinclair Al-Malik Obasi spoke to HumanIPO on the uniqueness of Snookbase.com, which is set to officially launch on April 23.

HumanIPO: How did Snookbase.com come about?

Obasi: African Music is growing but there is no place for people to watch and discover new talents and video tells a million words. We’ve got YouTube and Vevo, but they aren’t giving us enough visibility.

When I say visibility, I meant a platform built for Africans by Africans that can tell the original African story on how creative we can be. Music in the western world has to do with paid downloads, here it is different. Music in Africa is about access not ownership and that’s what we trying to give to Africa and African performers; a platform to showcase African talent in HD format.

What does your platform offer?

It’s a place to discover, share and connect with African videos, music, original features and more. You can upload videos, images and audios; giving the user a voice.

What impact do you expect it to have?

We want to be the number one spot to discover new acts and download African music. The major thing we want to nail here is discovery of new acts and then blending it with existing acts. We want to give African music and emerging African acts a voice.

How do you intend to monetise the platform?

We want to create a digital advertisement estate on the platform, but e-commerce would be another way to monetise it, which we are taking seriously: sales of event tickets, sponsorship of tours and sales of certain merchandise. We may charge people in the future for exclusive content.

Will the content be free?

Yes, music will continue to be free in Africa, here in Africa it’s about access and that’s what Snookbase will do to African music and comedy.

Do you think the content providers will embrace that?

The content providers, which are musicians and comedians, would want people to walk into their shows. We would help them spread that word across, so they get more people coming to shows and they earn better that way, although we are working on our royalties programme because we want them to enjoy something for their creativity.

Do you think free downloads are good or bad for the industry?

It’s not good for the industry but what can you do when piracy is king, you try doing an exclusive album or comedy classic, very little people buy it and you may even lose fans, but when you set it free, lots of people walk into your show and you earn that way. Anybody telling you he can kill piracy is probably lying, but Snookbase.com has a formula to help checkmark free downloads for audios, videos are basically what performers use to either drive more people to their shows, let people know of their presence or maybe sell a track, so we do videos so that we can show people the performers ability and let them either do a ringback tone subscription or either download the song using un-piratable business models or drive them to purchase a ticket , album or merchandise.

What are your strategies to become a dominant force in the midst of the multimillion dollar competitors in the market?

I am fully focused on African music videos and comedy clips; the way Snookbase gives itself an edge is that it allows user generated content to be uploaded, that would give that talented performer who can’t show the world what he’s got a chance to showcase his/her talent.

Most of the music platforms around are fully focused on audios. I do audios and videos, no syndication with YouTube, all is on the Snookbase platform. It’s a platform for Africa by Africans, simple.

I don’t intend tarnishing any platforms image, all of them are part of the great ecosystem, I’m about giving emerging performers and existing performers a platform to show the world what they can offer, and we intend on working with most of these “multimillion dollar companies”.

At what is the project presently?

Pre-launch stage. We are already up but we haven’t launched fully. We have already aggregated 60 per cent of African music videos and we still getting videos daily from artists from different parts of Africa to add to the platform.

When will you launch fully?

April 23. We want everyone to know that African entertainment now has a new home.

Image courtesy of Shuttershock

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