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Senegalese hip-hop artiste Nicolas Omar Diop aka Nix

Senegalese hip-hop artiste Nicolas Omar Diop aka Nix impressed at the Acces convention held in Nairobi late last year with his presentation about Deedo, a music streaming app he co-founded. He is confident the app would sustainably cater to the African sound palate and increase record sales, writes Cynthia Mukanzi

What led you to find the music streaming app Deedo?

I had released music and uploaded it on music streaming platform Spotify and was thrilled that I had just gone international, but many of my fans couldn’t access the platform.

Then I went on tour to Gabon and saw a bootleg CD of my music being sold on the streets and this showed me that these people wanted my music and the best way to get it to them was to come up with a streaming application they would access with ease.

I wanted to create a music platform that Africans needed and make it available for everyone. I approached Awa Girard, my co-founder, with the idea and this is how Deedo was born in November 2017.

Why did you feel the need to connect more with your home audience other than just concentrate on international fan base?

Once you build a proper foundation at home and sell your brand, you can then venture into the international market. Until we understand the importance of this, artistes will not sell records in the continent the way they should. There will always be a gap between big artistes from Africa and for instance, those from the US, in terms of record sales, if we do not fully tap into our local markets.

And exactly how could this be attained?

As artistes, we can better our economies by embracing home audience and other factors such as building a culture of streaming our own music. This is why Deedo is essential.

It is fit for the continent’s music market with multiple African genres. It comes with ready-made playlists and gives priority to African music, since it hosts music from other continents as well. It’s giving African musicians a fair field to compete for listenership.

Speaking of money, how did you fund the creation of Deedo?

First of all, I work with a team I collaborated with to make Deedo a reality. I partnered with my co-founders Awa Girard, Benoit Girard and Babylas Ndiaye to chip in funds, as well as crowd funding. We are a small team, but efficient.

Which music would you say is being streamed the most via the app?

People login into the app for a lot of music genres and I cannot say there’s one that surpasses the rest in popularity. But we see artistes who are not known across the continent being put forward. A lot of music that isn’t mainstreamed is finding a way out through Deedo and it’s amazing to see this transformation.

Again, this is so incredible because we need to connect on a pan-African level in order to grow our audiences locally and regionally. We also noticed that a local musician might have low views on YouTube, but their performance on Deedo would be high; which goes to show that this app is doing what it was set up to accomplish.

Has Deedo been integral to your growth as an artiste?

It is working for me too. I released an album two months ago and it has been doing well on the app. While I was looking out for myself as a musician and entrepreneur, I also wanted to build a solid music ecosystem that can benefit artistes in Africa. We can go on tours and sell tickets or get views on YouTube, but we must make record sales and this is one way to do so.

Is this a sustainable project?

I have confidence that Deedo will stand strong. Africa is a place where people love music and more artistes are being born every day, coming up and looking for such avenues. When my team and I were setting up the app, we knew it will be a long-term success and we built it to last.

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