A messaging app offering music is not exactly new – as users of Line in Asia will know – but it is certainly one way to net that elusive younger audience who are abandoning old media and ’traditional’ digital platforms/channels such as Facebook and email. WeChat and Endemol Shine Africa are offering users the TurnUp Music service and it is aimed at heavily promoting local artists.
Brett Loubster, CEO of WeChat Africa, suggested that “the traditional music model wasn’t built for the benefit of musicians or the fans”, so – of course – TurnUp is designed to address this. Thabiet Allie, COO of TurnUp Music, said that artists get 70% of download revenue and the company will be investing in promotion and marketing around the service. It has a heavy focus on unsigned and emerging acts, acting as a store and distributor in one. “Our platform will allow you to upload your music, market it and make it available for download,” says the synopsis on the site. “The more downloads you get, the greater your opportunity to get time with our DJ’s [sic] to record your music in a professional sound studio or even to get a music video recorded.” Back in August last year, Connie Chan, partner at VC firm Andreessen Horowitz, wrote this about the evolution of WeChat: “While seemingly just a messaging app, WeChat is actually more of a portal, a platform, and even a mobile operating system depending on how you look at it,” she said. “It points to where Facebook and other messaging apps could head. Second, WeChat indicates where the future of mobile commerce may lie. Third, WeChat shows what it’s like to be both a platform and a mobile portal (what Yahoo could have been).”