Selling Mobile Music in South Africa


I need some help. In a big way, and fast. First a bit of background. I’m a partner in a new record label that’s just been started in Cape Town, StereoType Records. We have some great artists that we’re busy recording at the moment and the music that’s coming out of studio is of the highest quality (Chad Saaiman, one of our artists is getting lots of radio play for his new single Moving On.) I accept and understand that mobile is the future, not only in our country, but globally and as such would like to make our artists music available to download to a cellphone. So, I did the first logical thing and started googling about to see how it all works. Not much there unfortunately. I remembered seeing iTouch selling some music available as a download, so I decided to look them up and call. I picked up the phone, dialed the number on the website and I was put through to the Content Department, which made sense. And then nothing. Three messages later still nothing. I finally managed to speak to someone in the content department who said that they would see what they could do for me and get back to me via email. Then nothing. Called them back, and finally managed to wrangle out that they need me to send them a copy of the song I would like to sell and they would then consider whether or not it’s worthy of selling on their service. I also got a rough breakdown of how the service works:

  • User pays R5 for a mobile download.
  • The cellular network (in his example it was vodacom) takes 50% of that. Cheers R2.50
  • iTouch takes a (mythical) percentage for marketing the song
  • iTouch takes 75% of the ‘royalties’ (I’m not sure what exactly that means)
  • The record label gets 25%. This is then to be split between the producer, singer, songwriter, etc.

So, if I were to sell my tracks online for R5, I’m looking at getting about R1.25 per download (his figures). Not too bad considering that iTouch are doing the (supposed) marketing for me through their respective channels. ‘Cool’ said I, send me the documentation outlining the specs of the service. ‘Great’ said he. Then nothing. As things stand it’s almost two weeks down the line and all that’s happened is that MTN’s made a fortune off me calling iTouch trying to convince them that they should let me make them some money and send me the damn details so that I can go ahead and start selling music. So, after that long winded story, I have a question: Are there any clever people out there who know how I can go about setting up a mobile content delivery system so that I don’t have to use a service such as iTouch. Or even better, does anyone know of another service besides the all seeing i that I can contact? In all likelihood, if I get a reply to this post sometime in the next week, take three months to build the mobile download service and another for marketing the music, I might have my first single on sale before iTouch even send me the technical specs. Then nothing.

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Lester

Hi, my name is Lester. I'm a music lover, an avid blogger and a bit of a geek. In addition to being a people person, I'm fascinated by the internet and over the last 4 years I've become very passionate about technology, especially email marketing, blogging, social media, and community management. Thanks for reading my blog ;)

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