While we may never come to an agreement on what is (and is not) a tech startup, a new (tech?) startup, that is set to disrupt the Nigerian mediasphere, just soft-launched today. It is called Playspread and you’ve never seen anything like it. Playspread tracks billions of media signals in real-time and summarizes what’s being said about brands, people and products on the Web, Print Media, Radio and TV, so industry users can make better decisions, from a data standpoint.

Co-founder, Segun Jerome was a music promoter as far back in 2011, so he experienced first-hand, the challenges of the industry. There was no definite way for upcoming artistes to track their progress, save for random, and very unreliable, perceptions of how much airplay they were getting. In their search for a solution, Jerome discovered that existing foreign software cost a fortune to license and they didn’t quite satisfy the specific needs of the industry. So Jerome and his team decided it was best they built a local solution from scratch. The rest, as they say, is history.

 How Playspread Works

The back-end

At its core, Playspread utilizes Data Mining, Digital Signal Processing, Optical Character Recognition and a host of other hardcore tech. Playspread’s infrastructure taps into airwaves transmitted by Radio and TV stations (currently 12 stations, more to be added every 48 hours). It records and logs hours of audio and video content. Then the stored data is fingerprint scanned against Playspread’s current database of 13k Nigerian tracks, for identification. Web activity and Print Media are also tracked using Web Crawling and OCR tech. Save for Print Media, all data aggregation is done in real-time.

All these generated data must be stored somewhere. There’s about 10 terabytes of local storage, for starters, and everything is backed up in the cloud. And because processing is done in real-time, internet and power must be stable. They have that covered too with multiple ISP backups, inverters and generators. They mean serious business.

The front-end

All the collected data is presented to users in formats users can digest – graphs, charts and other analytic presentation mediums. Custom reports can be generated on request. All analysis is done in real time. The possibilities are endless, as long as the data is available, anything can be custom analysed –  social media activity, fanbase demographics, artist comparisons, joined charts, Radio and TV playcount, broken down station by station, minute-by minute, daily, weekly… Anything. Is. Possible.

Comparing Wizkid, Tuface and Olamide


Who is Playspread for?

Everybody really:

  • Entertainment bloggers who want to track artists activity
  • Artistes and record labels, for promotional purposes, monitoring popularity to decide where to go on tours, compare and contrast performance with other artistes, etc
  • Advertisers who want to decide which artistes to use for endorsements
  • Music agencies for tracking royalty claims, organising award shows.. etc

There’s also a branch-off, running on the same infrastructure as Playspread, called Adspread, targeted at the advertising sector. It will provide real-time data to measure how effective advert campaigns are, what brands are catching the most attention, audience measurement tools, sentiment analysis charts. Adspread is already working with media houses, ahead of launch, and it promises to be a game changer for the advertising industry.

Playspread also plans to branch into apps. Shazam-inspired apps that will gauge music consumption and enhance discovery are already in the works. They also hope to make APIs available in the future, so developers can tap into Playspread’s resources.

Your thoughts are welcome

Ideally, Playspread will employ a very flexible freemium model: some features will be free and accessible to standard users, others will be customized solutions on a subscription or one-off payment basis. However, as I mentioned earlier, this is a soft-launch, so a bulk of the features will be accessible for the duration of this soft launch, which will last about a month.  I should probably point out that things are just picking up, so  it will take a few days to get really representative graph outlines from available data.

Enough of the stories, head on the Playspread now, play around with it and come back here to share your thoughts.

Muyiwa Matuluko Author

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