Apple Music From A Zimbabwean Radio Personality's Point Of View

Like most people who follow news on technology, I was waiting to hear what Apple’s entrant in the music streaming space would be like, what it does better than existing ones like Spotify, where its flaws lie, etc.

Also, like many, now that it’s here there is no better time to take it down the lens, take a step back and actually get a better sense of what it means now that streaming is about to take over traditional music downloads — what birthed the iTunes store in the first place.

At least some have already given their opinions on whether the “system has already been gamed and no one else seems to notice” or whether Apple Music is messy but really sticks to its promise.

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I decided to hear from a part of the industry itself, from a world away that has not exactly adopted music streaming the same way developed countries have.

I got to interview a local (Zimbabwe) radio station personality and she was kind enough to offer her views on Apple Music and streaming as a whole, how it might affect artists and how it may also influence radio (not only online but traditional radio too)

Her name is Stephanie Kapfunde.

Steph has been doing radio for as long as I’ve known her. She also hosted a local radio show on technology where she interviewed local technology guests to get an idea on what was moving the needle, what was not and some of the biggest flaws in the technologies. At one point, she interviewed a local online publication duo on why mobile payments or online payments were seeing sluggish adoption, and the response came from how people needed to find an explicit convenience from it.

She clearly has an interest in technology, and she helped weigh in on Beats 1, Apple Music and streaming services as a whole.

(Note: this interview has been edited for clarity)

More Of The Same

Beats 1 Apple Music

Me: Based on how Apple Music or more specifically Beats 1 works (a single, global radio station live 24/7), does it sound like something that would eat up traditional radio?

Steph: I do believe this plays out in more ways than one. One point that sticks out the most is content. Locally, the legislation on all radio and television screenings/broadcasts require to have 60–70 percent of local content.

With that being said, that gives traditional radio an upper hand — something Apple Music nor Beats 1 can’t touch. The same goes for the radio personalities that people have grown to know and love. But even with that, the service will be great for consumers overall.

What can you consider the main sticky point with streaming services on a local perspective?

The issue of data being costly. We are not yet at that point that connectivity is that ubiquitous or affordable and that sets a lot of people back, especially from trying out something like music streaming.

The other, equally challenging problem facing music streaming is the absence of local content — I think people would likely try out streaming given that content becomes available.

Music discovery is touted one of the main strong points of Apple Music. Can this help people be more open to other genres of music?

There are rising genres that can help people get something out of it, and Apple Music (together with other streaming services) will make it easier for other genres to get noticed more than they ever would.

For example, and this is just an artist, Tinashe Makura has been doing music for so long and she’s only been acknowledged last year. So for something like this to happen means that might also scale down on the time it takes to get exposure.

Given your experience in the world of music, can you say this on-demand approach to music listening will level the playing field for the artists?

Absolutely, when it comes to that point where we overcome the issues that come with internet access, a lot of barriers that come with music listening that make it hard for any rising artist to break through will be way less hard to get through. With music streaming, the choice on what to listen to lies in the hands of the consumer — which is good.

Next Steps

On what she plans on doing next, she mentions how she’s also focusing on her new role as Editor to a yet-to-be-launched (on Wednesday, I’m told) online magazine called Enthuse. This magazine will be focused on covering topics that relate to African arts and culture.

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This article first appeared here.