“HeadsbyBuju” is a collection of 10,001 unique NFTs of Buju’s face. Holders of these NFTs will get perks like access to physical and virtual concerts hosted by Buju, merch items, and a part of the revenue the musician makes from specific music projects.
It is, perhaps, the first time any African musician will use crypto technology to establish a connection with fans and reward them.
Will fans want these rewards?
The project, scheduled for release this year, is divided into three quarters.
In the first, the “HeadsByBuju” project will be minted publicly and pre-sale will start. Holders of these will get perks like access to special events and interactions with Buju, AR filters on Instagram and Snapchat, and even access to PlaySpace.
In the second quarter, holders will get special access to Buju’s concerts, events, and studio sessions. Future releases will also see holders getting real-life perks like discounts to restaurants, clubs, hotels, and health centres.
Since the first satellite was launched in 1959, over 5,000 satellites have been sent into orbit. Presently, however, there are just over 3,372 satellites in space. Of that number, the US owns at least 1,897, China owns 412, and Russia owns 176.
Over the past two years, more African countries have been in a race to send out more satellites into space. The 2021 edition of the Africa Space Industry Annual Report shows 125 new satellites have been lined up for development in 23 African countries by 2025.
The craft race
As Conrad Onyango states, the reason for Africa’s space race is evident: governments need to meet the rising demand for connectivity, which is fueled by fast-changing data consumption patterns. Africa’s internet penetration rate currently stands at just 39%, and many are left without access.
Rogan hosts the world’s largest podcast—The Joe Rogan Experience—exclusively on Spotify, and it generates a whopping 11 million listeners per episode. Lately on the podcast, however, Rogan has expressed some views on the COVID vaccine which many tag as misinformation. For example, the podcaster has been known to state that hospitals are financially motivated to falsely attribute deaths to COVID. Rogan has also expressed distaste for vaccine mandates.
So, what’s the problem?
Well, Neil Young—who has 6.7 million listeners—believes that Rogan is misinforming people and using his platform to influence millions of listeners across the globe. And they want Spotify to take action and remove or sanction Rogan’s podcast.
The streaming platform, unsurprisingly, refused to budge and Young, in response, ordered his music label to take his music off the platform.
Spotify’s decision is unsurprising as the platform signed a deal worth over $100 million with Rogan in 2020. His podcast generates thousands of dollars in ad revenue for Spotify, and losing the controversial commentator could cost the platform a lot.
The platform does have policies against misinformation, and it recently told the Wall Street Journal that it had taken down over 20,000 podcast episodes that spread COVID-related misinformation. Rogan’s was not one of them.
Following Young’s exit, Joni Mitchell—a folk singer who has 3.7 million listeners per month—also announced her departure from the platform, urging other artists to shun the platform.
Earlier this morning, in response to the exits, Spotify—through its CEO, Daniel Ek—stated that its role was not to be a “content censor”. Ek also noted that the platform would now add content advisory notices to any podcast that explores COVID.
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Across Africa, most people save up lump sums before making important purchases. For a long time, it was rare to spread purchases across several months, compared to some regions of the world. In recent times, however, buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) startups have begun to offer this option to teeming customers across the continent. Some of them received millions of dollars in VC funding in the past year, signalling a vote of confidence in their ambitions.
According to a PYMNTS’ report, 9.6% of millennials worldwide had used BNPL as of September 2020. This demographic constitutes a large percentage of Africa’s population. Traditional credit is only accessible to a small minority across the continent. In sub-Saharan Africa, the ratio of credit to GDP is only 18%, while that of South Asia and Latin America are 37% and 47%, respectively. Thus, with the recent economic downturn in many African countries, the offer of BNPL becomes a great alternative.
The numbers back this potential. For instance, e-commerce in Africa is expected to grow by more than 18% annually from 2021 to 2024. Digital wallets are set to gain ground, accounting for more than one-fifth of e-commerce spending by 2024. Also, transactions via mobile wallets are expected to double by 2024.
The promise of BNPL startups to users is payment flexibility. Yet, there are concerns about credit rating. As credit facilities across the continent are still evolving, the BNPL model has its work cut out for it, and managing default will be critical to its sustainability. Hence, it is important for BNPL startups to partner with existing financial institutions and telcos to navigate this and drive the adoption of their offerings.
Finally, it is important for players within the industry to embrace interoperability and ensure that defaulters do not have a field day switching across diverse platforms. The buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) revolution has just begun and young Africans are set to partake in it.
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