The exciting thing about ‘high-potential’ music markets – but also sometimes the scary thing for the biggest western music companies – is that they won’t necessarily follow the templates laid down in the most mature markets. And, indeed, that the innovations they come up with may provide lessons for the rest of the world.

It’s too early to tell whether PopRev is one of those, as it’s only launching this week, but it’s certainly one to keep an eye on. It’s the result of a partnership between Nigerian music streaming service uduX and financial startup PiggyVest, with the companies saying it “fuses elements of crypto-currency, social networking and influencer nodes, reward mechanisms, micro-investment, and real-time analytics”.

Launching in mid-May, PopRev will enable fans to invest in music and artists, and to share in the revenues created. uduX says that the fan-investors will be able to track the performance of the tracks that they have shares in, while also encouraging friends to play the music, and thus increase its value.

“PopRev will help grow the local music industry – it  will see revenues flowing to Nigerian and local artists from both Nigerian and international investors – and that will feed back to the entire music ecosystem here,” said uduX CEO Chidi Okeke.

The idea of fans investing in music isn’t new: there are a number of companies in the west offering music-equity crowdfunding, for example in publishing works or recordings. However, what we haven’t seen is that taking place within a streaming service itself, as a core feature of the platform.

Is that something that could work well in the west? Again: caution. We don’t even know if it will work well in Africa yet. But it will be fascinating to watch when the first artist investments go live on uduX in mid-May. One hint may come with the approving quote in the announcement, from Afrobeats star Davido.

“An initiative like PopRev will afford a lot of creators who, for example struggled through the lockdown, the privilege to create without concerns of funding. This is timely and needful,” he said. If uduX can attract stars of this calibre to not just support PopRev, but use it, this really could be a big deal.

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