This week, South African hip-hop star turned entertainment content entrepreneur Siyabonga Metane, popularly known as Slikour, launched United States of Creatives, a platform to help creatives digitally monetise their works.
United States of Creatives, housed under the “Slikour On Life” digital entertainment content platform, comprises two core products: SOL Distro and SOL Wallet, which was designed to be an easy way for artists and creators to benefit monetarily from their fans’ support.
TechCabal caught up with the multi-faceted Slikour to learn more about United States of Creatives, its mandate, more details about its suite of products, and how tech can help creatives make profit from their work.
TechCabal: Please tell us more about the United States of Creatives platform.
Slikour: The idea behind that was to create a digital ecosystem for artists to avail their creations to their fans who are the final consumer. The problem with artists is that we just create, but there is no centralised social transactional area for consumers to actually go and purchase and interact with these creations.
How it works is that artists are now able to consolidate all the revenue on one platform, whether it’s merchandising, products, events, etc. They are also able to consolidate the revenue from the platform to build a financial profile.
TC: Can you walk us through the United States of Creatives suite of products?
Slikour: We have two core products which are Slikour On Life Distribution (SOL Distro) and Slikour On Life Wallet (SOL Wallet).
SOL Distro is a distribution platform that allows artists to distribute their music to various streaming platforms. In addition to that, we have also written a book with a lawyer that helps artists with managing their publishing. Also, there is also financial information around helping artists invest in alternative vehicles like stocks and bonds. For that, we have a fund and asset management company guiding us to do that. The end goal here is to eventually allow artists to turn their creations into an asset management business.
SOL Wallet, on the other hand, is a fintech platform which allows fans using Mastercard cards to do ecommerce and point of sale purchases on the platform. Users are also able to send mobile money to other people or merchants that are also using the platform, as well as move funds from their bank cards into their SOL Wallet or SOL Mastercard. Fans can also buy tickets on the SOL Wallet and if the event owner has added the whole journey of drinks and merchandise, they can also pre-order their drinks and merchandise before they arrive at the event and just pick up instead of waiting in a line.
In the long term, SOL Wallet will have what we call a “Creators Loan”, which will allow creators to get instant loans to cover gigs they do with corporates which usually pay between 60 to 90 days.
Apart from those two products, event owners and promoters will also be able to sell multiple things on the platform, including merchandise, beverages, etc. Additionally, when you use our SOL MasterCard which is a virtual debit card, you get charged zero rates.
TC: How is revenue split structured between the creators who will be using the platform and the platform itself?
Slikour: In terms of SOL distro, the splits are the industry standard, which is 80% to the artist and 20% to the platform, unless under special instances in which we are willing to negotiate with the creator. For every other product on the product suite, we are going to charge the creators based on each transaction which happens via our platform.
TC: United States of Creatives launched this week. From the traction that you have garnered so far, are you optimistic about the future of the product?
Slikour: Of course! We never did this so we can fail and we’re going to make sure we make it work. Our motivation is that we are creating a solution for creatives. What we want to achieve is helping these creatives get the most value out of their work.
TC: What role do you think technology platforms like United States of Creatives will play in growing the music industry in South Africa?
Slikour: I think tech will only be as good as the needs of the times. We are building a platform which resonates with the needs of the time. Tech will always be key, just like anything else that answers the needs of the masses. This is not an idea that was built off of being intelligent or being smart. It really was built off the need. So going forward, technologies which really address the needs of consumers at a particular time period will be widely adopted.
In return, these technologies would then help creatives to really extract the most value out of their work which is a win-win situation for all ecosystem players involved.
*Interview has been edited for clarity and length.
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