In case you haven’t already heard, SAMA award-winning Skwatta Kamp graduate, Slilkour, has got 37618 solutions to making local music profitable and iTunes isn’t one.
Now more than ever, local hip hop is beginning to foster its own culture. Having grown up in the kinds of circumstances which I did, hip hop, and much less South African hip hop was a minute factor in my life, if a factor at all. But you wouldn’t say so from the amount of hip hop that colours a young website I run called fdbq.co.za
Part of what I’m creating over there is a space where local music matters. Because, well, dammit, it does. But it’s a humble beginning (albeit about two years old now) and I’m virtually a nobody (in the circles that matter). But what are the people who do matter in the circles that matter doing about what matters – that is local music? Enter Slikour.
You may not be aware of this but Slikour matters and happens to roam in the circles that matter and happens to do things about things that matter. Had you any idea that he is the Consulting Editor for Rolling Stone Magazine? Well, you get no points for guessing that he’s the man behind Slikour Onlife. And I’m led to believe – by a trustworthy source who has worked with Mr Siya Metane and shall remain anonymous – that this is a man who hustles. But then there’s the 37618 Store and this is where being someone who matters in the circles that matter matters.
In a move that can only be described as sheer genius, Slikour teamed up with the progressive team at Bozza to create the 37618 Store. The idea? Make studio quality singles by local artists available to the masses. And the masses means the masses i.e. from those who can only afford to purchase their groceries at Woolies to those who just need to get by and so make use of a BlackBerry Curve.
By simply SMSing the name of a local track to the shortcode 37618 – to which, as you have probably figured out, the online store owes it namesake – at the cost of R7.50, you will receive a link to download your desired track and then it’s all yours. It’s thanks to its “non-platform” approach that it’s accessible to any mobile device across any platform. And lest we neglect to mention that it doesn’t require the use of a credit card in order to make purchases (Yes, Apple fans, I’m aware of iTunes vouchers. I use them myself. But still.). And if that doesn’t sell you, on average, it’s cheaper than iTunes whose singles normally hang out in the R9.99 neighbourhood.
So, maybe not 37618 reasons exactly. Maybe not even three plus seven plus six plus one plus eight. It’s 11PM as I type this so I have no desire to count exactly how many reasons have been mentioned herein. The point here is this should neither be yours or my concern. The point here is that I wish I had thought of something like this first and you should acknowledge a brilliant idea with me when you see one. In an age where the future of music is so uncertain, Africa will be the location where innovation is pioneered simply because we have such a clear canvas to work with.
So perhaps Slikour Onlife offers a little more social media real estate than is necessary to Slikour himself versus other artists. Had it been [insert rapper’s name] Onlife, you’d have seen more of [insert same rapper’s name as before] than other artists. It’s neither a good thing nor a bad thing necessarily. It’s a non-thing that spawned the idea for a really good thing. Said Slikour to TheJuice.co.za: “Since starting Slikour Onlife, I’ve been inundated with talented artists submitting content because they don’t have a place to sell their music…We desperately need more support for these artists and we have to find ways to get the music to the people.”
Well there you have it folks!