It started with Apple who conceptualized the idea of iTunes music Stores. Launched in April 2003 and now Britain’s biggest digital pop shop, Apple’s iTunes music store is backed by all the major record labels and many independents. Of the 27 million tracks legally downloaded in the UK last year, an estimated 80 per cent came via iTunes.
Six years after this successful launch of an alternative means for selling music, a Kenyan enterpreneur, Kevin Muthuri, recently started KenTunes, an online music download site for Kenyan music.
The first partnership between KenTunes with Soundafrica– a Kenyan recording and Music distribution company owned by David Makali has made more than 100 music albums from various Kenyan music genres now available for download.
Sound Africa has the highest number of Afro Fusion, Rumba, Benga and Afro-Jazz artists from Kenya and beyond and this is the best move yet for a company that is becoming synonymous with African Music in Kenya through its weekly show on Citizen Television- Afrodizzia.
Altough the idea is great and is bound to market Kenyan music globally, it seems like the KenTunes website concept as a music store was not fully thought out.
– The website looks very static for an e-commerce entertainment site
– The music preview tabs are not flexible and so if you have crappy internet(those in Kenya) you cannot let the song buffer first for a more pleasant listening. I am having to contend with hiccuped bursts of music previews- doesn’t help much.
– The site has only two payment options, Visa and Mastercard(atleast those are the only that I saw) it seems, they have not partnered with PayPal or VeriSign. Anyone who does alot of online shopping knows better than to shop in a site that has not be verisigned. Websites are not secure anymore and anyone with free hacking tools can get your credit card details. Paypal is an online payment authority in most online shopping sites in the world.
– There is no info about the artists(it sometimes helps to know where the artist is from, their influences etc)
– The site’s logo could have been more original e.g some drums, Kayamba, orutu, flute etc the concept of headphones has been used by countless music websites
– The site is exclusively targeted at those in the diaspora. I would love to purchase same songs there and pay using Mpesa or Zap, I haven’t not yet learned to trust using a visa card for online payment.
– The site could easily be an avenue for artists who have not yet compiled an album to sell single hits.
All in all, it is a great initiative although still requires alot of work in fine tuning to meet world standards.