Interview conducted by Munashe Gumbonzvanda, blogger at TechMasai – Guest blogger
“Aneto Okonkwo is an entreprenuer currently in the African Dispora who founded MyRadeo. He also is a passionate blogger active at African leaders, discussing the type of leadership by people of citizenship of an African country he respects and appreciates.
We caught up with Mr. Okonkwo and asked him a few questions concerning his projects and outlook on the music industry.
TechMasai: What Is MyRadeo
Mr. Okonkwo: My radeo is a microblogging service for music. It helps you share and discover songs with your friends. It’s like Twitter for songs or Pandora if your friends pick the songs for you. Its free, easy and there’s no account signup.
Its still early days but it has some pretty cool features and we are adding new ones every day.
I initially started using it just with my friends, and now many of their friends use it regularly which is very encouraging. Its been exciting to take a simple idea and evolve it over time based on feedback and the way people use it. In the next few months, we plan to improve our integration with Facebook, expand the mobile experience, and eventually even launch a desktop version to integrate with iTunes.
TechMasai: MyRadeo is a new innovative music service. What impact do you want to achieve on how music is shared and consumed
Mr. Okonkwo: We want to make it easy, fast and fun to share and discover music with your friends.
There are more songs than ever before and its hard to keep up with new songs. We believe that traditional music discovery channels are not personalized or fast enough. Your friends can help. Your friends typically know what type of music you like and why. Even when you don’t like the same artists or types of music, your friends’ tastes influence you and your tastes influence them.
For example, I don’t know much about Country or Bluegrass music, but two of my friends really enjoy these genres. They used My radeo to post some of their favorite songs, and left comments about why they liked the songs. I listened and I was surprised when I liked the songs too! Thats the potential of MyRadeo.
If the site is successful – when someone makes a new friend and asks “What type of music do you like?” the friend could respond “check out my radeo page”
TechMasai: The music industry has taken a hit due to online downloads and streaming. What relationship does MyRadeo have in relationship to the current circumstances in the industry.
Mr. Okonkwo: Recent published surveys show that while overall music sales are declining, legal downloads and streaming are increasing. Myradeo is focused on improving the streaming music experience by making it easier and more personalized.
MyRadeo is also offering a more democratic alternative to the traditional radio that you hear in your car, by giving artists and music labels more opportunities to expose their music to listeners. On My radeo, fans are essentially promoting their favorite artists and songs to their friends. We have many reports of users who go on to purchase new music or tickets to shows based on their discoveries on the site.
TechMasai: Start-ups by people of African origins have a hard time on average gaining capital and exposure compared to their first world counterparts. What can be done to help improve this setback on a national or continental basis
Mr Okonkwo: One of the reasons that Silicon Valley startups are so successful is because of the ecosystem of companies, schools and venture capital that exists in that region. In comparison, there are relatively few Africans in technology and we are so fragmented across countries that I think we could gain a lot from continuing to build a community offline and online.
One of my most memorable life experiences was attending the TED Africa (Technology Entertainment & Design) Conference in Tanzania in 2007. At the conference, I met software developers, entrepreneurs, and leaders from across the continent and the Diaspora.
Many of us still keep in touch and work together today. Blogs like TechMasai are instrumental in bringing people and ideas together. Also, there have been several BarCamp Africa conferences across the continent and tech hubs are forming in Nairobi and other places.
These venues can help us support and promote each other.”